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Master Corporal Charles Matiru cleans his rifle.

Master Corporal Charles Matiru cleans his rifle.

Photo courtesy Corporal Robin Mugridge

The Unremembered

Master Corporal Matiru deployed four times to Afghanistan, with the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and then with Joint Task Force X. He wrote Dark Shadow during his third tour. MCpl. Matiru took his life on Jan. 15, 2013.

Once again I see my shadow
He does not leave my side
Clinging to me at every turn
As before his taunts are unrelenting

Mother prays he lets me be
My return will ease her worry
I keep my shadow at bay
Writing home that all is well

I am longing for high noon
My shadow will be no more
I have a job to do
The ominous shadow must be ignored

I venture into the city's heart
My protection, cunning camouflage and gun
My shadow creeps an inch closer
He anticipates his chance to strike

Mission complete: time for some reflection
Reliving those moments of extreme tension
The young man on the motorbike
A suicide bomber, shadow's willing conduit

He missed his chance this time
Yet he remains by my side
Not willing to give me up easily
Knowing more missions are to follow

Why am I here I ponder
Dancing with my shadow once again
I realize I have no fear
I am numb to his derision

The sun is shifting way above
High noon is approaching with haste
I see my shadow slowly shrinking
Home is beckoning my destiny awaits

Not every man evades his shadow
This theatre filled with such violence
Today another of ours has fallen
Man's hatred toward man so senseless

Charles Wahome Matiru, Afghanistan, June 8, 2009

This article is part of The Unremembered, a Globe and Mail investigation into soldiers and veterans who died by suicide after deployment during the Afghanistan mission.

If you would like your relative included in the commemoration project of Afghanistan war veterans lost to suicide, please e-mail

More from The Unremembered project