Crissa: In Her Final Moments

English: An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter lands a...

By Delbert H. Rhodes

 

The battle has ended for her; a woman of forty years, Crissa Johennsen has had a good life. Since childhood, she loves family friends and country. Born to a military family this lady learned early the importance of respect responsibility and dedication. Crissa’s dad, a Bird Colonel, stands tall in the shadows of right and wrong; always ready to answer the call; and to go wherever needed. The Colonel’s men respect and love him, and follow him into hell and back without second thinking the venture. All her life, Crissa has held a great pride for her dad, and her loving mother.

Crissa’s mom teaches English Literature in high school. Mrs. Branson’s students love her and thrill about the books they read and the engaging daily discussions. High School is where Crissa and Jack (Johennsen) met. They dated throughout their college years and married soon after graduation. Both individuals felt the call and quickly joined the military. Naturally, Crissa’s dad feels pride for his daughter.

Home for the Johennsens is California’s lovely west coast, and financially; Jack and Crissa are comfortable, though a military lifestyle offers little in terms of luxury. The Johennsen family supports various charities and volunteers at local shelters, whenever time permits. Crissa and Jack are like-minded and nothing is more important to them than helping family and people and country.

In the Johennsen household: the discussion about children occurs often; each individual is eager to begin a family, but now is not the time. Crissa hopes that a girl would be first to arrive, but no matter, as long as the child is healthy, and happy. Doubtless, the lady jokes, our child would be quite beautiful…especially if she looks like me (ha ha).

Today, and on a hillside far from home, Crissa is dying; while attacking an enemy unit, Crissa sustained serious damage to her chest wall and underlying tissues and organs. The medic did all he could to help her; but little more could be done, other soldiers needed aid.

Trying to think clearly, Crissa understands the costs of war; the Morphine the medic gave her helps, but the pain would soon return.

A medevac chopper is slow on arrival; precious moments pass as Crissa waits to be air lifted out of the strike zone. Time is critical and she is unable to hold on. Lying in the dirt Crissa thinks of the wonderful years she has shared with her husband. She focuses on the many sweet moments; Jack and she has laughed, played, and cried. The irreplaceable timeless moments when staring into each other’s eyes, the sweethearts became lost in the purity of love. Crissa loves her husband more than life; and misses him; she needs him-now.

Realizing that she probably would never see Jack again, Crissa reaches into her breast pocket for a pen and writing pad. (Crissa cries for her husband, she sorrows for the children they would never bring into the world.)

Crissa grows weaker, nevertheless, this woman mobilizes a love greater than the horrors of her circumstances; depending on her training and an impenetrable will, Crissa writes a note. The task is monumental: Crissa suffers with breathing, and soon develops problems with vision, the feeling in her hands is numbing, stabilizing the note pad and writing is extremely difficult.

Making matters worse, the injured woman is losing too much blood. Still, and though death waits, the brave lady holds on.  Crissa is determined to complete the note, her final moments with her beloved Jack. Lifeless, Crissa’s hand slides down the page.

One hour later the medevac crew arrives. While assessing the injured, a crewman notices a piece of paper lying next to Crissa’s body. Respectfully: Crissa’s corpse is placed on the chopper; the crewman takes a moment to read the note: To my husband and great love, Lt. Jack Johennsen, Company Headquarters.

News of Crissa’s death quickly arrives at headquarters (the crewman delivers her note to the Lt.). The words on the page are familiar, they are a quote that Jack often said to Crissa, and actually, the quote is “Allure,” a poem that Jack had written for her.

With tearing eyes, sadly Jack reads the note: “In the shadows of the waiting horizon, a cooling sun silhouettes the sky; and in the moonlight brightly reflecting are puffy whites tip toeing by; vigilant monoliths are the mountains, embracing a valley of rivers and green; and the winds artfully whooshing, are the brush painting a scene. My swelling heart feverishly throbs, the view before me I fondly adore; and beside me the woman I love; and her touch the sweetest allure.” -I love you Jack…

The loss of his sweet and loving wife is more than the brave Lt. can stand. With tears bathing his face, and then clutching the blood stained paper to his chest, the veteran commander collapses to his knees.

Copyright © 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes

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