Shirley Parrello (SP) and Kevin Powell (KP)
SP: Tell me about the day Brian died.
KP: We took fire that day. And, uh, we heard a large explosion, and we could feel it. I see that Brian is laying there with his shirt cut open, his rifle had been blown in half from the IED that he hit. I grabbed his hand. And he looked at me, and he wasn’t yelling and he wasn’t upset. I can still picture him and I picture him all the time. I spend a lot of time laying in bed not being able to go to sleep, just thinking, “What if I had done something differently? What could I have done better?” I still have those thoughts.
SP: I wanted to make sure that none of you guys felt as if we blamed anybody for what happened, and that I know you guys did the best you could. I’m just happy that he was with his other family even though we couldn’t be there with him. He was with people that love him.
KP: I still think about that day every day, but our relationship has most certainly made it easier.
SP: The day that I met your platoon. Do you remember?
KP: I couldn’t wait to meet you and give you a hug and, I remember running through my head what I’d say to you. I walked up to you, I gave you hug, and I didn’t say anything. Because I couldn’t and I’m sorry for that.
SP: You don’t have to apologize because the hug was enough. As a little boy when he would go to bed at night I would tuck him in and give him a kiss and a hug and then I’d walk out of the room and he’d say, ”One more hug mom.” This would go on. I mean it was like 10 times. I’d have to go back and forth. And, at the time you’re think, ”Come on Brian. Please? It’s late.” Now I would give anything to have one more hug.
KP: The day that you lost Brian you gained 20-something other sons, and we’ll always be your sons.
SP: Yes. You were his family so that means you’re my family.
KP: It never ceases to amaze me how strong you are. The things that we talk about, that I can hardly talk about and he was your son. And, I want to tell you that I know you’re hurting, and I’ll always be there for you.
SP: I know.
KP: For as long as I’m alive.