Give your kid an extra hug today.

I had another post set to put up today but walking in this morning a single image, viewed through the foggy plastic of a Toronto Star newspaper box made me stop and reconsider a whole lot.

The photo isn’t new, in fact it was taken this past February. At the time it was a happy photo, full of joy and as a dad I can only imagine what Matthew Dawe, the soldier in the photo, was feeling at that time. I’m lucky enough to come home to those moments each and every day.

The headline “Capt. Dawe’s sad fate” accompanied the photo.

Matthew Dawe was due to return home from Afghanistan at the end of this month. No doubt he was already counting the days to when he’d get to relive a moment like this once again. Instead his life was cut short, along with 5 of his fellow soldiers, when an IED exploded beneath their armored personnel carrier. You can read the article here.

What tears me up in this case is his son. He’s old enough to understand who daddy is, and probably knew he was coming home soon – he wouldn’t be counting the days but kids just know. I can’t imagine how his mother will get through telling him that daddy isn’t going home, and most hauntingly, I don’t know how she’ll ever answer “why?”.

I don’t want to get into a debate of whether we should be there or not – I just hope that someone along the way can one day explain to this kid why his dad was there and why the world is a better place because of his contribution. These guys don’t get to pick the missions and I respect their dedication and commitment to serve our country.

So, when you get home tonight give your kid (or someone you love) an extra hug for those little guys who dads won’t be coming home. There’s at least one kid tonight who needs a little extra love form the world today.

Edit: In further reading I came across another article that mentioned Master Cpl. Colin Bason, who was also killed. He deployed when his daughter was just four days old. From the articles both sound like great men who would have made great fathers.