Photos commemorate Wisconsin family’s visit to soldier-father’s gravesite

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(WQOW/CNN) — At the West family home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the holidays bring a flood of emotions.

In August of 2010, Carolyn learned her husband, Staff Sgt. Matthew West was killed in a roadside bomb with four other soldiers.

“I think it’s his voice, I just miss that,” said Carolyn, “hearing his voice and that knowing no matter what it’s going to be fine.”

Every year since, the family of four has visited his final resting place in the Arlington National Cemetery. “We play games on his grave and we eat lunch with him on his grave and we act like he’s here.”

This year, all of those moments were captured by family friend and photographer Laci Eberle.

The photo shoot was actually a gift Eberle and some other friends presented to West earlier in the year as a way to honor the fifth anniversary of the soldier’s death.

The West family said they make it out to the grave site twice a year — once during the laying of the wreathes as seen in the story and again on Memorial Day.

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