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Intermediate. Years 7/8/9

This Is To My Father

By Kayleigh Moullin, year 9, Les Beaucamps School

I'm writing this today as I don’t know how else to get this out of my system. My dad was shot dead. And it seems that part of me died as he did. Like a shot to my own heart. A while ago now it was. It always seemed too raw before. But I’m ready now. Without him I wasn't sure how I was going to cope. My mum went mad. My little sister was too young to be aware. I had to be the strong one, but inside I was crumbling.

I was fourteen at the time. Your typical know it all. When my dad told me he was going to war I was partly scared. Never let it show, mind you. Never was the weak type, me. The other part was happy. I’d be the cool one whose dad signed up first. Little did I know how wrong that thought would be.

My dad was one of the first to sign up. The soldiers came to personally tell families about the deaths. We never thought it’d be us.

The morning was same as always. Spirits were high. Until the officer came to tell us. Dead on half past two it was. I remember because it was odd to have someone knock on the door at this time, the last time I remember how happiness felt. With every little detail the soldier said, the lower my stomach sank. The sickness was overwhelming and my body was shaking uncontrollably. I tried not to blink, knowing only too well that a tear would escape my eye and find its way down my cheek and if I started to cry I might never stop. I felt physically sick. I wanted to scream, shout until my lungs gave in. Shout until it brought him back. But no, it didn’t. All I could do was utter the word
“How?”
“Maybe I should just speak with your mother alone”
This was just as hard hitting as the first line. And I knew my mother wasn’t strong enough to cope with this information by herself.
“Please,” I muttered, unable to make any eye contact with the man, “we need to know.”
“He was in the trenches,” the soldier started.
A single tear started to make its way down my smooth cheek, nothing compared to the river I was hiding behind my eyes. I could feel my heartbeat growing stronger. My palms becoming clammy. My collar felt tight and I thought I was going to vomit. As he was explaining, things just felt more real. He was really gone.
“Your father, he was a valued member of the army,” the soldier started up again.
“Stop!” I shouted unable to stop myself. “Stop! I can’t hear this anymore. I can’t take this in”
The soldier agreed to write a letter telling us all we needed to know. He is uncomfortable with his task and seemed relieved to leave our house. With a final glance at my mother who was sat slouched over in her seat sobbing uncontrollably, he left. And I sat down on the sofa, stifling my heartache for mum's sake, and in this moment I could quite literally feel my heart break. My only consolation is that my father died for something and his sacrifice will not be in vain. This is after all, the war to end all wars.

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