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On May 1st of 2003, just weeks after being deployed to Iraq, Army Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, of Springfield, Missouri was killed when his tank fell into the Euphrates river. He was 34-years-old. Shortly after his death, the following farewell letter was delivered to his bereaved wife, Melissa, and his 6-year-old stepson, Dakota (“Toad”).

Melissa and Jesse’s unborn child, Carson (“Bean”), entered the world on the 29th of May, a few weeks after his father’s death.

Transcript follows.

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Transcript

Melissa,

Please only read if I don’t come home. Please put it away and hopefully you will never have to read it.

—————-

22-April-03

My family:

I never thought I would be writing a letter like this, I really don’t know where to start. I’ve been getting bad feelings though and well if you are reading this….

I am forever in debt to you, Dakota, and the Bean. I searched all my life for a dream and I found it in you. I would like to think that I made a positive difference in your lives. I will never be able to make up for the bad. I am so sorry. The happiest moments in my life all deal with my little family. I will always have with me the small moments we all shared. The moments when you quit taking life so serious and smiled. The sounds of a beautiful boy’s laughter or the simple nudge of a baby unborn. You will never know how complete you have made me. Each one of you. You saved me from loneliness and taught me how to think beyond myself. You taught me how to live and to love. You opened my eyes to a world I never dreamed existed. I am proud of you. Stay on the path you chose. Never lose sight of what is important again, you and our babies.

Dakota, you are more son than I could ever ask for. I can only hope I was half the dad. I used to be your “danny” but no matter what, it makes me proud that you chose me. You taught me how to care until it hurts, you taught me how to smile again. You taught me that life isn’t so serious and sometimes you have to play. You have a big, beautiful heart. Through life you need to keep it open and follow it. Never be afraid to be yourself. I will always be there in our park when you dream so we can still play. I hope someday you will have a son like mine. Make them smile and shine just like you. I love you Toad. I hope someday you will understand why I didn’t come home. Please be proud of me. Please don’t stop loving life. Take in every breath like it’s your first. I love you Toad. I will always be there with you. I’ll be in the sun, shadows, dreams, and joys of your life.

Bean, I never got to see you but I know in my heart you are beautiful. I know you will be strong and big-hearted just like your mom and brother. I will always have with me the feel of the soft nudges on your mom’s belly, and the joy I felt when we found out you were on your way. I dream of you every night, I will always. Don’t ever think that since I wasn’t around that I didn’t love you. You were conceived of love and I came to this terrible place for love. I love you as I do your mom and brother with all my heart and soul. Please understand that I had to be gone so that I could take care of my family. I love you Bean.

I have never been so blessed as the day I met Melissa Dawn Benfield. You are my angel, soulmate, wife, lover, and best friend. I am so sorry. I did not want to have to write this letter. There is so much more I need to say, so much more I need to share. A lifetime’s worth. I married you for a million lifetimes. That’s how long I will be with you. Please keep our babies safe. Please find it in your heart to forgive me for leaving you alone. Take care of yourself, believe in yourself, you are a strong, big hearted woman. Teach our babies to live life to its fullest, tell yourself to do the same. Don’t forget to take Toad to Disney World. I will be there with you. Melissa, I will always want you need you and love you in my heart, mind, and soul. Do me one favor, after you tuck Toad and Bean in, give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside, look at the stars and count them. Don’t forget to smile.

Love Always
Your husband
Jess

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One day in the park
I had quite a surprise.
I met a girl
who had many eyes.

She was really quite pretty
(and also quite shocking!)
and I noticed she had a mouth,
so we ended up talking.

We talked about flowers,
and her poetry classes,
and the problems she’d have
if she ever wore glasses.

It’s great to know a girl
who has so many eyes,
but you really get wet
when she breaks down and cries.

― Tim Burton

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I wanna pick you up, I don’t care what time
I wanna drive real fast to some place in town;
I wanna stress you out;
I wanna make things hard;
I wanna take your hand;
I wanna leave this bar;
I wanna wake you up on a driving train
that led it’s tracks down inside my brain

I wanna hear your band;
I wanna give it advice;
I wanna meet your girlfriend, she sounds nice;
I wanna take you home;
I wanna feel my age;
I wanna freak you out on a different stage;
I wanna show my teeth;
I wanna keep you fed;
I wanna get you drunk and let it go to your head

so I guess this means we can’t be friends

I wanna be unique;
I wanna be your kind;
I wanna make you hate me then change your mind;
I wanna wear a skirt;
I wanna make mistakes;
I wanna kill you first then take your name;
I wanna tear you apart;
I wanna make your bed;
I wanna break your heart;
I wanna break your head

so I guess this means we can’t be friends

Lorene Scafaria

unique

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Don’t hang your head in sorrow
And please don’t cry
I know how you feel inside I’ve
I’VE BEEN THERE BEFORE
Something’s changing inside you
And don’t you know

Don’t you cry tonight
I still love you baby
Don’t you cry tonight
Don’t you cry tonight
There’s a heaven above you baby
And don’t you cry tonight

Give me a whisper
And give me a sigh
Give me a kiss before you tell me goodbye
Don’t you take it so hard now
And please don’t take it so bad
I’ll still be thinking of you
And the times we had…baby

And don’t you cry tonight
Don’t you cry tonight
Don’t you cry tonight
There’s a heaven above you baby
And don’t you cry tonight

And please remember that I never lied
And please remember how I felt inside now honey
You got to make it your own way
But you’ll be alright now sugar
You’ll feel better tomorrow
Come the morning light now baby

And don’t you cry tonight
And don’t you cry tonight
And don’t you cry tonight
There’s a heaven above you baby
And don’t you cry
Don’t you ever cry
Don’t you cry tonight
Baby maybe someday
Don’t you cry
Don’t you ever cry
Don’t you cry
Tonight

—  Guns N’ Roses, Don’t Cry

guns and roses

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vintage

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