They thought of her as a silly old woman and probably someone who didn’t really need help. She noticed them passing glances between themselves and rolling their eyes at her.
She was desperate, but they kept treating the situation like a joke. That was when one of the officers noticed something that made him ask about her son. The name she said sent shivers down their spines and turned their faces pale with fear.
She Was Alone
Samantha Morrison was alone for some time. Many years had passed, and she had not received any visits. There were times when she considered finally moving out, but the thought of the exhausting process kept putting her off.
She had no help. She had been left alone, and this was the chief reason why she never wanted to keep staying in that home. It was a lonely existence and filled her with sadness sometimes.
Samantha’s life changed when she became a widow almost ten years prior. When her beloved husband left this world, it was a devastating blow to her.
It was hard enough dealing with the loss of her husband. However, when her son Charlie disappeared from her life too, this was all she could bear.
It was a double blow that threw her into depression. She spent most of her life feeling empty and deeply saddened by her loneliness. No one understood how she felt, so she never bothered trying to explain it.
She knew she needed to get away from the family home. Every part of it, every brick, every stick of furniture, and every room was filled with memories of the life she once had. A life with her husband and son. That wasn’t all.
Not long ago, a new person had moved into the neighborhood, not far from Samantha’s house. She wasn’t troubled at first but soon, things changed.
It began with wild and raucous parties. The noise was nauseating to an old woman who just wanted peace and quiet. The road and sidewalks often ended up littered with cigarette butts and beer bottles by the end. She hoped it would all ease up soon. She was wrong.
The parties only became worse and more frequent. They reached a point where Samantha wasn’t even able to sleep the entire night. These restless nights began placing a huge strain on her.
Finally, it all became too much when some of these parties continued into the next day. She paid her neighbors a visit and hoped it would make a difference. Things just got worse.
Speaking To The Neighbors
She was a little nervous as she approached the door. She hoped they would be understanding and the situation wouldn’t escalate unnecessarily. She knocked and waited for a response.
A girl opened, and she was clearly suffering from the effects of the party the night before. She spoke rudely and asked what she wanted in an irritable tone.
Samantha spoke as calmly and as politely as she could. She told them that she didn’t mind them having parties but requested that they keep it down a little and refrain from messing the streets with their bottles and trash.
The girl responded impetuously. She was clearly young and immature as she spoke about it being “her house”. Samantha was angry now and unsure of what to do next.
Making The Call
As a last resort, she threatened to call the police. The young girl was unfazed and told her to do it. She seemed very spoiled and seemed to believe that she was beyond reproach.
Samantha walked away frustrated. She didn’t want to, but she felt backed into a corner. She made the call and reported the situation to the police. Officers were dispatched, but Samantha had no idea that her problems were only just starting.
To their credit, the officers came right away. When the neighbor saw them arrive, she crudely turned down the music. Samantha expected the officers to go next door, but they knocked on her door instead.
She thought maybe they just wanted some information from her. The officer made it clear that he was there for another reason, and it wasn’t to help her.
Samantha’s neighbor was the daughter of someone important: some big shot in the city’s government; specifically, someone with close ties to the mayor. This, in a way, made her untouchable.
The officers didn’t have any intentions of getting into trouble messing with the daughter of one of the most powerful men in the city. But that wasn’t all. They also tried to persuade Samantha not to ever bring them that issue again.
They Tried To Intimidate Her
So they decided to play along with the neighbor and pretend there wasn’t an issue. “Madam, you complained about one of your neighbors playing their music too loud. We can’t hear anything. I feel like you’re making stuff up.”
“I’m gonna have to ask you not to bother us again with this nonsense, or we’ll have to file a report against you for slander,” the officer said with a sly grin as the elderly woman listened, speechless. She felt tears of impotence coming to her eyes. How could this be happening? But suddenly, one of the officers noticed something.
Hanging on Samantha’s living room wall was a photograph of her son Charlie, wearing his uniform from the Marines. The picture was taken just a few months before he passed away in service while he was stationed in Iraq.
One of the officers saw it, and he instantly turned pale. “Excuse me, Madam. Is that your son? Was he named Charlie Morrison?” Samantha confirmed that he was. Right then, the officer broke down crying.
The Truth Comes Out
As it turned out, that officer had also served in Iraq and had met Samantha’s son during one mission. As a matter of fact, he had saved his life on one occasion. He never heard from him again after that incident, but he could never forget it.
To that day, he was still tormented by the fact that he never had the chance to pay Charlie back for what he had done for him. Thinking that he had been this close to mistreating his mother just to protect the image of some politician’s daughter, he felt sick to his stomach.
They Made A Mistake
So officer Frank Faleski explained everything to Samantha, from his story with Charlie to the reason why they were initially reluctant to intervene against the rude neighbor.
But now, there was no doubt that honoring the marine who had saved his life back in the day was way more important than the reputation of some politician’s daughter. He assured her that they would file a report against the girl, even if that meant putting their jobs on the line.
Trying To Stop Him
Samantha poured coffee for the officers and explained that she had been strongly against Charlie becoming a Marine, but he had enlisted against her wishes.
“I cried for three days trying to convince him not to join. But I lost that fight,” she told them tearfully. All the feelings she’d been bottling up for years came out as she continued to tell them his story.
Everything To Live For
Charlie and his mother had always been close. In fact, they had never spent weeks apart until he joined the Marines. He had graduated high school in 2011 and was based in the Hawaii Marine Corps.
The last time Samantha had spoken to her son on the phone, he had sounded upbeat – perhaps because he had almost completed his tour, or because he had a fiancee waiting for him back home.
About To Start A Family
Charlie was set to head to Japan in a month, return to Hawaii, and then come home for a few weeks. He was ecstatic.
Samantha had helped Jaime, his fiancee, organize the wedding, choose her dress, and get the rings. She couldn’t wait to have her son home again. Everything was ready for his return. But it wasn’t to be.
Living His Dream
“His dream was to be a Marine, and there was nothing I could do about that. I’m proud of him, that he died doing what he loved – protecting his country,” Samantha said.
The tragedy struck in 2013 while Charlie had been stationed in Iraq. Just a year after losing her husband, Samantha received more terrible news.
Samantha had barely been able to cope after her husband died. She felt like a zombie just going through the motions of her life.
Her mother had even come to stay with her to help her get back on her feet. One night, after falling asleep in front of the TV, her mother shook her awake, tears streaming down her face.
Samantha’s mom had seen a news report about a terrible accident in Bagdad. Although not all of the Marines had been identified yet, a sickening feeling hit the pit of Samantha’s stomach.
Her gut feeling her mother’s intuition – she just knew. Charlie had only been 20 years old – he’d barely even begun to live his life.
In the gut-wrenching hours that followed, Samantha and her mom sat in front of the news waiting for the names to roll up on the screen.
The helicopter that had been carrying the servicemen had crashed outside Baghdad during a severe sandstorm. There were six Marines aboard, and the report said none had survived the crash.
How To Go On?
Samantha felt numb when there was a knock on the door. She knew someone was there to deliver the devastating news about her son.
“For five years, I was a basket case,” Samantha said. “I didn’t know how to go on without my son.” All she had left of him were his personal effects, until they had been taken away from her too.
Charlie’s personal effects arrived at Samantha’s home in a box. With his uniform, there was a Purple Heart medal, a memorial flag, a memoria rifle, a Marine Corps Medal, and his ribbons.
Samantha displayed Charlie’s medals on her mantlepiece proudly, even though just looking at them sent her spiraling into tears. Now, they were gone.
A few months before, on the night before Christmas, someone had broken into Samantha’s home and stolen Charlie’s medals.
They had probably wanted to find gifts under her Christmas tree, but Samantha didn’t see the point in celebrating Christmas now that she had no loved ones to spend it with. When she saw they, along with a few pieces of jewelry, were gone, she was devastated.
Another Reason To Leave
“That’s another reason why I want to move out of this house,” Samantha explained to the officers with tears in her eyes.
“I reported the theft to the police, but they didn’t seem too interested in pursuing the case,” she said with a sigh. The one officer couldn’t contain his anger. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“You don’t know what sentimental value there is to jewelry, but when you see medals, you know, medals came with a price,” Officer Faleski said angrily.
“It’s just unconscionable for someone to do that.” Now that he knew what Samantha had been dealing with – the loss of her husband, her son, and the theft of what she had left of him, he knew what he had to do to make it right.
A Debt To Pay
Officer Frank Faleski was determined to help Samantha recover her hero son’s medals. After learning that it was her son who had saved him in Iraq, he knew he had an enormous debt to pay.
He remembered that night all those years ago like it was yesterday. He’d enlisted in the Marines after he completed high school, just like Charlie.
In the first year of his deployment in Iraq, officer Faleski had suffered from two concussions, lost two friends, and watched his marriage fall apart.
He had married his highschool sweetheart before leaving, but she’d left him for another man. His mental health spiraled. He was tired of this life. He wrote letters to his family about his decision so they could understand why the only solution was to end it all. That’s when Charlie had stepped in.
One night, officer Faleski decided it was time. He went up to the fourth level bathroom in the barracks and climbed up the air duct. His plan was to jump from that height.
Charlie had heard the commotion outside and quickly assessed the situation. He immediately noticed that the air duct was slick with rain. He had to act fast.
Saving His Life
Charlie sprinted up the four flights of stairs and kicked the locked bathroom door in. With two other Marines holding him by the legs, he dangled himself upside down out the window and talked officer Faleski down.
Charlie was awarded the Marine Corps medal for demonstrating “poise and resolve” as he kept officer Faleski calm and communicated with the rescue team below. His quick thinking provided time for the fire department to raise their bucket and recover the officer Faleski. If it hadn’t been for Charlie, he wouldn’t be here.