On the way home from his parents, a buddy on Facebook posted a quote from Bryan. It read, “ditch, ditch, DITCH!- Bryan Gansner” This young man was driving the Humvee the night Bryan got blown up. I asked Bryan if he remembered the quote. He didn’t so I asked his soldier what happened. He replied, “We were pulling an all-night OP before a morning raid on a village and we were driving along a canal. I was heading straight for square dip on the right side. He saw it and started saying ditch, ditch, DITCH! I was like what is going on right before I hit it and broke the rim. First time I changed a Humvee tire in body armor. It makes me laugh every time I think about it.” I asked Bryan if he remembered and he said, “It sounds vaguely familiar but no, I don’t remember.” We decided not to tell his friend that he didn’t remember as to not hurt his feelings.
I milled over these missing memories for several weeks. I have so many memories from when I was a child, rich with details and he remembers nothing. I wanted to ask if he remembered our wedding. It was a double-edged sword. If he says no, I will be heartbroken. If he says yes, I will be relieved but would want to know exactly what he remembered. Finally, I got up the gumption to ask him. I said “Do you remember anything about our wedding?” His response was, “Yes, I remember two things.” That sinking feeling started to tug at my heartstrings. I said, “Ok, what do you remember?” He said, “I remember you walking down the beach and you looked beautiful and I remember these people kept walking by us while we were trying to get married and it pissed me off.” I responded, “I am glad that you remember what I looked like but honey we did get married on a public beach in Kauai, Hawaii, so they had the right to walk by.” Now that I look back I see some re-integration troubles after his first tour to Iraq.
(This is where Bryan was sitting in the up-armored Humvee. His seat is soaked with blood and the floor was ripped open by the IED.)