Link to the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwoXmXA8BvY
Link to the lyrics: http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/mcgraw-tim/if-youre-reading-this-22314.html
This song by Tim McGraw is a tribute to the families of fallen soldiers. It is essentially a soldier’s letter home to his family. The letter was written before the soldier left home, to be mailed or opened only in the event that the young man would not return.
The lyrics tells a story of the reality that everyday soldiers die on the battlefield while fighting for our rights and they leave behind many loved ones. The letter first addresses his mother; he is telling her goodbye and not to worry because he is in a better place now. When our men and women are called off to war we say goodbye, never knowing if it will be our last encounter with them. The soldier wishes he could hug his mother one more time, the same way many of us wish we could see those we have lost one more time. We wish we would have said or done something different but at that point it’s too late to change the situation.
The young widow, and their unborn child, are also addressed in the letter. He says he will miss her birth, but he will also miss the rest of her life. He won’t get to see her take her first steps, begin school or get married. His daughter will never know who her father was either, all she will have are the stories told to her by her mother. Children are left without one or both parents on a regular basis because of the tragedy of war. Single parents are left to face the loss of their spouse as well as the hardships of single parenthood. Like many other soldiers, he tells his wife that it is ok to move on. He is assuring that she can and will find love again, however for many widows finding love again never becomes a reality. When the soldier doesn’t return he/she takes their spouse’s heart with them. The devastation and heartache of loosing a spouse is something they never fully recover from and they don’t open themselves up to love again.
These goodbye letters are never something families look forward to but in away they can provide closure. They are getting the opportunity to hear from their loved one one more time. Although they weren’t able to say goodbye, the soldier did. It’s a way for them to know their soldier loved them, that they fought hard and are in a better place now.