Byron Greff Obituary, Death – Candy Greff was saying farewell to her son Byron Greff at a restaurant in Morinville, Alta., in October 2011. She had no idea that would be her final opportunity to see him alive. Byron, a 28-year-old master corporal with the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was returning to Afghanistan after a brief visit home to witness the birth of his daughter, Brielle. “It was hard to say goodbye to him,” Candy recalls. “But then I said to myself, ‘Goodbye, love you.'” “But then I said to myself, ‘Goodbye, love you.'” “I’ll see you around the holidays.”

Byron and 20 other Canadian soldiers were killed days later when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden SUV into an armored bus transporting troops through Kabul, making him the final of 158 Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Candy was chosen by the Royal Canadian Legion as this year’s Silver Cross Mother, despite her age, and will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial on Remembrance Day on behalf of all women who have lost children in the service of Canada.

Candy remembers Byron as “a little mischievous,” but someone who gave everything he had to everything he did, speaking from her home in Lacombe, Alta., which included hockey and golf with his wife, Lindsay. Byron had no military connections or relatives, so when he informed his parents in Grade 9 that he wanted to join the Red Deer cadets, they were taken aback; three years later, he revealed his desire to join the Canadian Army.

“I’m not sure where he got the idea that this would be a fun thing to do,” Candy explained, “but it scared the hell out of me.” “At the time, we weren’t very linked to anyone in the military, and it was dreadful,” Candy continued. Despite this, Candy and her husband Greg supported their son’s decision. “He was a motivated young man, and this was what he desired,” and he was getting it. ‘We’re proud of you,’ we said. ‘Take a risk!'”

Byron was 17 years old when he left for basic training shortly after graduating from high school, and he was just 18 when terrorists struck the United States on September 11, 2001, sparking a decade-long conflict in Afghanistan. Candy recalls the moment she and her husband realized their son would be joining them when the first Canadian troops arrived in Afghanistan as part of a US-led effort to combat al-Qaida in early 2002. “At the graduation ceremony for Byron Greff, one of the commanding officers approached Greg and me and asked, ‘Are you the parents of a Byron Greff?’ “‘She remembers. “‘Do you understand there’s a chance he’ll have to go to Afghanistan?'”

Byron was finally deployed to Afghanistan twice. The first incident occurred in 2007, when Canadian troops were engaged in combat with Taliban insurgents in Kandahar’s southern sector. Candy recalls feeling apprehensive during those months as news of other Canadian soldiers’ deaths or injuries came in. Byron, on the other hand, returned home to Lindsay and their young boy Kellar. Byron was sent to Afghanistan for his second tour four years later. This time, Canadian forces were not engaged in combat with the Taliban. Byron and his colleagues, on the other hand, were preparing Afghan forces for what was meant to be a pretty safe mission.

Candy claims Byron was the last Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan before Canada’s military deployment concluded in 2014. “Because every single person killed there is just as important as the first, last, or anyone in between,” she explained. “Every conflict in which the Armed Forces have been involved, as well as everyone who has died, is extremely important.” Byron was slain about a decade ago, and the Taliban took over Afghanistan. While Candy expressed sympathy for Afghans seeking independence, she believes her son and his colleagues accomplished some good for the country. “He worked so hard,” she remarked. “I believe he did what he needed to do and made a difference there.” Candy added that by planting a wreath on Remembrance Day, she will remember her son as well as those Canadians who have died in the service of their country. “I need to hold my head up,” she continues, despite the fact that his death has left her heart broken. That is exactly what Byron would want for all of us.”