I like to think of my dad, smiling proudly while he took his five minute break from working in the lasgun manufacturing factory to see me off. I think of him raising me up in his arms that day the Imperial Fists passed through so I could see them. I think of him how he might be now, far away slaving away to make the weapons we use to fight the infernal enemies of the God-Emperor. He was a good man, who took the family together to pray in the cathedral twice a week even though it ate into the time he got to sleep. He only raised his voice at us when he needed to, and his hand was always even amongst his children when we misbehaved.
I think of my father’s gentle face creased by the lines of age and worn by the back-breaking labor he did day in and day out. His warm eyes peering out from a face covered in soot. I think of him whenever the battle is quiet and it feels like the next hour will be my last.
I think of my father a lot. My brothers and sisters too, but mostly my father.
The strength I need to thrive, survive and drag my tired body out of the trenches day in and day out comes not from the bellowing of our Commissar but the quiet words he said to me as we stood beneath the Emperor’s statue back home.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad, I can never give you the gift you truly want, because I’m never coming home from this one.