I knew he wanted to join, but didn't actually think he would go through with the decision. In August of 2011, my brother left home for the Navy. I felt all these emotions, I didn't know how to react. I was happy, proud, sad, worried, but it didn't matter because I had my friends to count on. When he broke the news about enlisting, I was at home hanging out with my family. I think we were watching the Big Bang Theory and my mom said that we need to have a family meeting. So I immediately
thought, "who did it, who is in trouble and it must be that bad because we all have to hear about it." My brothers and I kind of looked at each other with a confused expression on our faces. So my mom broke the silence and said " So Joshua, do you have something to tell your siblings?"
I was so confused. I wasn't expecting him to say yes.
" Yes I do, and After graduation I plan on joining the military." he said.
I was speechless, proud, but also scared.
I spoke up and asked, " What branch do you want to join?"
" The Navy," Josh said.
I thought to myself " I was so close from having someone else in my family join the Military."
After Josh told us, I looked at him differently. Not in a judging way, but as if he was my hero. I can proudly say that I am a sister of a naval corpsman. A few weeks went by and I was given permission to tell my friends about him joining the navy. When I told them they had a dull expression. It was as almost as if they didn't care, but in all honesty, they did care, they were with me through all of it.
The day of his departure was approaching quickly, we only had a month left with him so we made it count. Every year during summer vacation we would go on a family trip to the beach. We would rent a house with a pool because my brothers didn't really like the sand and salt water. I, on the other hand, could stay there for hours and not get tired of it. The house was big enough to fit 12 people. Staying in the house was my mom, stepdad, the 3 boys ( Matt, Nick, and Josh), me, my grandmother, uncle, and aunt, plus their two girls (Ronnie and Francie). We'd stay there for a week and have so many fun things planned. One day we went to see “Lucy the Giant Elephant”. Another day we stayed back at the house and played a whole bunch of games and we even watched a few movies.
Those were some of the bittersweet moments. Sometimes when I really miss josh I will look on facebook and check out all the photos we have together or even just on my phone.
I was sitting on Maggie's bed feeling a little bit down and upset. she noticed and asked me " what's wrong?"
" Just thinking on how it will be different not seeing Josh every day and how much I will miss him."
She said to me " Amanda, you shouldn't have to worry about that, everything will be okay. It's not like he is going to be gone forever he will come back. plus you'll be able to see him when you can."
I knew she was right so I just nodded my head and we continued hanging out. But of course, I couldn't drop it that quickly.
" But he is going to miss my 13th birthday, it's a big deal this year!!"
" You're right it is your 13th birthday but that doesn't mean he won't try to be there. If he can't make it he can't make it. But if he can then awesome!" she told me.
July went by too fast. We now only had 24 days left til Josh left. It was down to making sure he had everything he needed from the right shirts to the right socks. We planned to have a farewell party the day before he left. The last 3 weeks had were spent getting the for the party. We went shopping at least 5 times during those 3 weeks. It was the day before the party that I started to think about what was really happening. I told myself " Don't think too much you have 2 days left with him, push it to the back of my head." I did just that and had fun.
Party time! We spent the whole morning cleaning and decorating the whole house. Even the backyard was set up too. We knew it was going to be a hot day so we had at least 10 tents up to provide shade. During the day we had family over and when it was around 5:30 some friends came over to party. We had a fun time hanging out with everyone. Everyone who was still at my house left around 2:00 am.
Today is the day. The day I say goodbye to my brother for a little while. I didn't want him to leave and I couldn't show that I was upset. It was around 10:00 am when I was woken up to the smell of delicious food that my amazing mother cooked for us. Josh was being picked up by his recruiter at 1:00 pm. That gave us 4 hours to be together. My grandmother, Marie (Josh's Girlfriend) and her parents, my aunt, cousin, my mom, stepdad, matt, nick, and josh were all there. We Spent most of the time trying not to talk about the fact that he was leaving. Time went by fast and before we knew it we were taking photographs at 12:55 pm. My final 5minutes with my brother. I went inside because I had to go use the bathroom, and by the time, we finished taking photos it was 1:00 pm. As I was walking up the path to my house I could see someone standing there.
" Hi, Does Joshua Marshall live here?" The man said.
" Yes, we are in the back yard let me take you back," I answered.
" Hey guys, I think it's time to say goodbye," I told everyone.
Everyone looked at me and slowly got up and we all walked back up to the front yard. My mom started to tear up and I watched as everyone else started to tear up too. I never thought I'd see my brothers start to cry when they hugged Josh goodbye. As I watched him get into the car, I began to cry my eyes out.
Later that day I calmed down a bit and there was a knock on the door. It was Maggie and our friend Michelle, that night I stayed at Maggie's and I told them how I felt about everything. Even to this day, I miss him. Ever since he left he's been to Illinois, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia. I decided to do this memory because this inspiration came from the chapter "Friends" in "The things they carried" by Tim O'Brien. This chapter had me thinking about the time when my brother left and my friends were there to keep me calm.