Patrick Widdess

Son,

Do not remember me too well or your mother’s tender smile. Do not imagine our sunlit kitchen as your pile into the mess tent, or the lounge with its armchairs that embrace you and don’t let go, as you shiver in the trenches. We’ll keep a seat warm for you and your bed made. We will walk Toby every day. Do not let the memory of his pouting face and loyal affection distract you in your duty.

You are a soldier now. It seems so recently you were playing in the yard, throwing balls and rolling hoops down the street. Try not to miss the Sunday afternoons of football in the park but keep that energy, alertness and lust for victory.

Do not let these memories burden you but do not forget a single one. Keep them close to your heart beneath the scarf your mother knitted. Let them reclothe you when your muddy uniform has been hung up after a job well done. You are a soldier now but you’ll always be our son.