Right before he left for Iraq, Dana Canedy gave First Sergeant Charles King a journal that consumed the remainder of his life, a life, and life lessons, that she writes about in her book a "Journal for Jordan."
Following a resupply mission to exhausted troops who had been in action for an extended picture of time, he was killed by an improvised explosive device.
He had sent the journal home just days before, believing that he had said all he had to say. And Canedy, driven to do something with her grief, and wanting her child to know everything that there was to know about his father, began to write.
With total transparency as a goal, she saw it as "our last project together".
Reconstructing the last day of his life was an excruciating experience.
Reading from his letters, she recounts how he wrote home about losing the first soldier, a young man, and how the platoon had remembered him later on the night he died.
On another occassion Sgt. King wrote about how he had scolded his soldiers for not attending a memorial for another soilder, saying that staying away for any reason was selfish. Sgt. King wrote about the
Power of prayer
How to choose a wife, "all the big questions." During the writing of the book, Ms. Canedy interviewed soldiers who reported seeing a light under the door to a room in which Sgt. King would write.
He wrote further
To respect woman, to value differences, to be reserved and to repay loud people with quite resolve. Pausing for emphasis she adds, "Imagine of all the young men who never hear these words from their father."
"I fell in love with him all over again."
As for her, she said she learned to lean on her faith, to lean into her grief on days when it all seems too much and to seek help when necessary. And this: "There is nothing that will put a smile on your face more than a letting a child help you."
Get "out of your head" and do something for somebody else, she said. Be sure to laugh.
In the follow up Q&A she described her views on the future of journalism and newspapers, how she purposely kept her thoughts of the Iraq war out of the book - "I am only an expert on one man" - and how the life would bring a young immature woman occupied with her own career - her words - to this person and place.