I met him, saw him, loved him when he was only a day old. He grew ahead of his two younger brothers, spunky and so smart. So serious he was, and studious. I watched in ignorant awe as he and his brothers and their many friends mastered the digital intricacies of computer games. In high school he was accepted by the Microsoft Corporation as a master gamer. He sailed through algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus. On our senior class trip to Mexico´s Yucatan Maya ruins he took his calculus homework. He excelled at the University of Washington earning a degree as a civil engineer. He was everything I ever wanted to be. My grandson. We were so proud after he joined the US Army, graduated from OCS as a Second Lieutenant and sweated with him as he finished the elite Army Ranger training. Last Thursday as I finished packing my bags to return to Honduras from Seattle we learned that he had been killed in action in Afghanistan. My daughter ran screaming down to where I was: He’s dead! Travis has been killed! May 23, 2012: a date seared into my brain, into my family´s collective mind. Memorial Day is this weekend. My family has sent our men into WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War. Travis was our first casualty. The pain is overwhelming. My heart is shattered.
I had an appointment with my orthopedist in Seattle a few days ago. He wants me to consider an elbow replacement; my arm is not progressing as well as it should. I told him I had to think about it, that I would be returning to Seattle next January 2013 and would decide by then. That is the last thing in the world I want, another surgery. I will be returning to Honduras on the 23rd of May. I have been busy while here collecting the documents required for my permanent residency Honduran ID card. But I’m ready to go back to my apartment in La Paz. I had it painted the month before I left. It had been painted all pink. Every room pink. Now the living room is a forest green, the two bathrooms pale blue, the kitchen sunny yellow and the two bedrooms dark blue and pale brown. I left two Belgian foreign exchange students teaching my Saturday morning English class to my 5 students at the Hogar San Jose. Europeans are so versatile, they each speak 4 or 5 languages. I haven’t heard from Peace Corps when they will be reopening the office for new volunteers but it won’t do me any good when they do in fact open the mission again. My disabled arm will prevent my reinstatement into the Peace Corps, however Honduras is a nice affordable place in which to retire.