It was around 7:30, the sky dark but not black, the air crisp but not cold. I parked my 1996 Buick Regal, which Adam had driven before he left, but gave to me while he was in Iraq. When I saw my uncle and his family from Pickerington through the living room window, I paused. Why would they be here? Then my mom opened the door and walked toward me, her facial expression a mix of agony and attempted composure.

“Our worst fears have come true,” she said as I walked up the driveway.

I knew what she meant.

I had to ask, though, just to hear the words. To let them hit home.

“Adam?” I said. “He’s dead?”