Losing a Friend

I’ve been holding vigil for a friend who just passed.

He was sick for a long time and frankly, to see him released from the bondage of illness lightens my heart.

Andrew was a Vietnam Veteran who loved his country almost as much as Kate, his wife of many years, and their two sons, Max and Jesse.

In 1861, Sullivan Ballou, a Union Officer in the American Civil War, wrote a letter to his wife that seems apt to print, from soldier to soldier.

Ken Burns poignantly ended his first installment of his Civil War film so powerfully with it, as music mewled tenderly.

July 14, 1861
Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah: The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more …

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt …

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me…If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness …

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again …

Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the First Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861.

Godspeed Andy…for we shall meet again,   Unknown.jpeg



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in Culture, Faith, Family, grace, History, humanity, inspiration, Love, war, words, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Losing a Friend

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    Peace to you for your loss. May his memory bring you smiles and comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    Losing a good person whom you’re lucky enough to call a friend is so sad. Sullivan’s letter brought tears, so poignant. Thank you for sharing it in its entirety.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ruthsoaper says:

    A beautiful and touching tribute to your friend. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful eulogy. Please accept my condolences 😔


  5. Sorryless says:

    This is a wonderful tribute to a friend, SB.

    Condolences and peace to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dale says:

    This was such a beautiful share – did they know how to write back then, or what? It is a perfect tribute to your dearly departed friend.

    I offer you my condolences and am thankful that his suffering is over.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. A beautiful tribute to your friend Andy, Susannah. I hope the time comes soon when the good memories outshine your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a master post, Susannah. I was reading it on my phone and didn’t see the angel until the end. That’s when my tears came. I’m so sorry you’ve lost Andy. Those lost-friend holes make a heart look like Swiss cheese, but I think our hearts and spirits grow around the holes, making them huge.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. what a beautiful tribute. Hope you are well. Cathi

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Vasca says:

    Oh Susannah, the love of my life died 15 October. He went peacefully in his sleep…such a blessing since he had suffered a great deal. Michael was a giant of a man, a heroic soldier who loved his country and served wonderfully. He was a passionate husband and father…adored by all who knew him. Such a gentle person who will be so very missed. He was an outstanding writer of letters. Each time we were separated, which was often due to military life, they were so lovely…those letters. Now? I write him every few days; I plan to pass those letters to our four sons and their families when I die. You couldn’t have written this at a better time for me. Sullivan’s letter was beautiful and appreciated. Thank you for this post; I am sorry you lost such a fine friend. He must have been a great friend and soldier…Michael was also a fine soldier for 32 years!


    • I’m very sorry about Michael. I know he was unwell for quite a while. How lucky he was to have had you and his children there. Yes, I’d imagine Sullivan Ballou’s letter hit quite a chord.

      Again, I’m sorry for your loss.


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