Son of deceased Army staff sergeant hugs his gravestone in touching photo
When young brothers Mason and Mylan Brazel visited their father’s grave to see his headstone for the very first time at Arlington National Cemetery in November, they curled up to take a nap with him.
“We brought a blanket. Mylan said he felt like he could feel his daddy, and he wanted to take a nap with him,” the boys’ mom, Kait Brazel of Colorado Springs, told ABC News.
The mother says her boys, ages 8 and 5, have not cried once since the passing of their father. She says they view the passing different than most.
“I tell them, ‘We are here as tools for God. God knew that Daddy was a really strong person, and there were some people God couldn’t reach unless he used Daddy as a tool,’” Brazel, 29, explained. “That’s how we went with it and how we justified it. That’s what we believe.”
After a grim diagnosis on Feb. 10, her husband, Staff Sgt. Alfred Brazel, died on July 31 from stage IV rectal cancer, which had metastasized to the liver. He was only 37 years old.
“Fred’s mission in life was to reach people and bring them to God and just smile,” said Brazel. “There was nothing he didn’t fulfill in life because he lived his life to the fullest every single day. He fulfilled everything he needed to here on this earth. We’re just really proud of him in how he fought.”
As the boys visited their daddy’s new gravestone, they were excited to share their recent accomplishments with him just as they would if he were still alive.
Brazel said she cried the entire 24-hour drive to Arlington in anticipation of seeing her husband’s gravestone because until that moment, “It felt like he could still come home.”
“As a military family, we’ve spent so much time apart that a part of me felt like he would still come home from this deployment,” she told ABC News. “But I felt better leaving because now we know what to expect. I have spoken to a bunch of other Gold Star families and they say these visits don’t get easier, but they’ll be different each time.”
As Brazel and her two boys were leaving from their visit to get back into their truck, her youngest, Mylan, stopped in his tracks to surprise her with one last kind and powerful gesture.
“He said, ‘Wait, I have to go back and give Daddy a hug,’” she said.
And that’s just what he did, wrapping his arms around his father’s newly placed gravestone.
“I’m positive that they’re going to remember him forever,” said a proud Brazel.