He won’t be home for Christmas

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

There is no Christmas tree in the Rose Hill home of Lisa and William Holmes.

There are no presents; there is nothing that would indicate this is a home ready for the season.

There’s no reason since their youngest son, 19-year-old Cody, a Marine lance corporal, was recently deployed to Afghanistan.

“(Monday) about 1:30 in the morning, I got to talk to him for the very first time since he left,” Linda Holmes said. “He’s out in the middle of nowhere — it sounded like he said Nawa. They have one satellite phone they have to share. He was on and off in about five minutes.

“It was the best five minutes in a long time,” she said.

This will be the family’s first Christmas ever without their son, despite his trip to basic training in North Carolina and various bouts of training.

And one can tell it’s hard on Holmes.

“Cody has always said he was going to be a soldier,” she said. “You know how kids are. I thought it was one of those things and he’d change his mind, but not Cody. In the 10th grade (at Straughn), he said, “Mom, I’m going to leave when I graduate. You need to prepare yourself. I am going to be a Marine.’”

Holmes said she could handle the Marine part, but she had a hard time coming to grips with his assignment in the Marine Corps.

“He’s an infantryman, the point man for his group, which means he’s out ahead looking for explosives,” she said. “The explosive part, that’s what I have a problem with. It’s a very dangerous job. I’m proud of him but worried at the same time.

“Cody has always been the adventurous type,” she said. “I knew he wasn’t going to stay around. He told me.”

Holmes said during her recent conversation with her son he explained that Afghanistan was “different” and that he was doing OK.

“He said he’d mailed a letter and that he hadn’t gotten my package,” she said. “Maybe he’ll get it in time for Christmas.”

Holmes said Cody’s military stint is his first experience of being away from home. He’s dealt fine with it; she and her husband, on the other hand, have had some issues.

“It’s hard for me to talk about it without losing it,” she said. “It makes me so sad on one side and so proud on the other. I told him before we hung up (Monday) that I loved him and I was thinking about him everyday. He’s real confident in what he does. He was excited about going. He said he was ready to put his training to work.

“I wish he could be home, but I know he’s doing something he believes wholehearted in and I wouldn’t want to take that away from him,” she said.

Holmes said her son is expected home sometime around June 2010, before returning to his Hawaii duty station.