I lay on the cold ground withering away. Slowly I am dying, slowly but assuredly. I feel my heart beating fast, but it is starting to fade, trying to keep up with the blood pouring from the bullet wound in my thigh. Looking down I see that my fatigues have been stained red. Then I reach down and from my pocket I withdraw a precious leather rectangle. I open it and see my life in it. A couple of dollar bills, a credit card, and photographs of my friends and family.
My heart aches as I gingerly remove one of the pictures from its cradle and into my palm. A tear dribbles down my cheek. The picture that I am holding is of my three year old daughter, the daughter that will grow up without a Daddy. Then I find another picture of my lifelong friend, who is also my wife. She was the one who I could share a laugh with on a dreary day, and also the one who is to be left behind, forced into becoming a widow and a single mother. I now have both pictures in my hand, staining them with my lifeblood. By now my heart has become fairly weak and my vision has become poor.
One last picture. It is of my own mother, the one that will outlive her son. I wonder now what will become of the stories that surround my death. Will I be a hero that stayed behind to save his friends, or will I be the man that abandoned his family in their time of need? What will they feel when they find out? My mother? My friends? My family? Where will these stories be made? Who will they come from? Will my close-ones defend me?
For now, the only thing that I know is that I can do nothing to change or prevent these things from happening, I can only die and let them happen. This stings my heart, but I must be let to rest in peace, or who knows how long it will be ‘till I can. Slowly my breathing shrivels to almost nothing, and my heart slows down to only a couple beats. It is now that I must release what is my life into the world, and it is for the many who still live, that it will be decided what that life is.