Lieutenant Christopher Mosko, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3, Special Operations, Navy
That is just part of who my son was. He was also a brother, a husband, a friend, a team mate, a leader and a follower. He was a better “learner” than me and hence was a much better teacher.
Chris may have commissioned into the Navy in 2007 but he mentally joined the Navy at the age of 6 when he saw the Midshipmen at the Army Navy game. He said he wanted to be one of them. Then, every step he took somehow led to April 26, 2012 Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. That is when an IED took Chris along with Brandon Eggleston, Dick Lee, and Fibi, the bomb dog. Chris was there to render the IED’s harmless – harmless to the men, women and children who lived and traveled around those eastern Afghani villages.
The awful grief experiences since then are imprinted forever in my memory. How do you forget your wife calling you and telling you “Chris is dead!”? Could you forget the military officers that you do not even know walking up to your door? How do you shake the memory of the repatriation at Dover when they carry those flag draped caskets off the big transport? The list goes on and on for that first year.
The most bittersweet of that first year was Meredith’s wedding. The knowledge of the empty seat he would have filled haunted what was a wonderful, blessed, near perfect day. My faith tells me he was with us – watching and guiding – unseen and unheard but felt by many of us.
But what happens in year 2? The grief is still there. We drive by Dover AFB on a regular basis for time with our friends at the beach. Invariably, there is silence in the car and sometimes the tears come. I am not sure that things have gotten easier as much as we have integrated the grief with good memories. He is an important part of who we are and he left us so many great memories. The pain I still feel is the memories I had hoped to have that will never happen.
One thing I have realized for a long time is that Chris connected to people in ways that made him a natural friend, leader, and confidante. I have reached out to collect the stories that were the fiber in the fabric of Chris’ life. I want to learn and capture who the complete person Chris was. Due to working for his uncle Mike, Chris really had not lived at “home” since he was about 18.
Our journey will continue. Chris would not want us to just move on. He would want us to challenge ourselves. He would want us to move forward toward a goal. He would want us to be better tomorrow than we are today. And he would goad us and push us with his smile and his laugh. When we achieved that goal, he would say “well, what is next?”
Getting together and having a toast to remember and honor him is OK. But it is not sufficient. We need to challenge ourselves. We need to do random acts of kindness. We need to go out of our way to help others. We need to make others smile.
That is what Chris would have wanted.