Cody Goes to College  

Posted by Brock Booher

It isn’t everyday you send a son away to college, especially to a far-away place like Hawaii, but then again Cody wasn’t born on just any day.

Sometime around 2:00 am two days before Cody was born, a young gate guard from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, pulled out his sidearm and shot himself in the head while on duty. At the time we were living in a two-bedroom apartment in Wichita Falls, and I was assigned to the Services Squadron while I waited for a cockpit to open up for me (post Gulf War drawdown). One of my many duties at the time was Mortuary Officer. My phone rang around 3:00 am.

With the death of the young airman, my life went into overdrive. If you think the military controls your life while your alive, you should see how much they control things when someone dies. Long detailed checklists are initiated by several agencies when someone dies on duty, especially if it is a suicide.

When the body had been properly prepared for burial, I had to go through a checklist with the mortician and the funeral home. It was sad to see a life with so much promise terminated early by its own hand. It is even more tragic when you learn that he took his life over a couple hundred dollars in bad checks. It amazed me that someone valued their own life so little, or saw no way out of such a shallow hole, but then again we humans can be quite frail at times, even after exhibiting great strength and tenacity in other situations. I completed the obligatory checklists and went home troubled.

That night around 3:00 am, I made a call of my own. My wife Britt had gone into labor, and I called a family to help watch our oldest son Rian while we headed for the hospital at Sheppard Air Force Base. After several hours of difficult labor, Cody was born. Within twenty-four hours I had been a witness to both death and birth. I had seen the hope and promise of tomorrow snuffed out prematurely, and I had seen new life come charging forth in its mortal glory, all in the same day.

Now Cody is grown. He is a mature man ready to cross the threshold and venture into the world full of that same hope and promise. I don’t know what his future holds, but I hope he never stops believing in himself. I hope he will always value his life. I pray he will never find himself despairing in some shallow hole he might have dug for himself, wondering if he can go on. May he never forget that life, with all its happy moments and tragedies, is meant to be lived.

It isn’t an ordinary day when you send a son to college, but then again Cody isn’t an ordinary son. God speed, and as they say in Hawaii – Aloha nui loa, a hui hou kakou.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 10, 2010 at Friday, September 10, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Cody has a great man for a Dad!

September 10, 2010 at 9:45 PM

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