A recently published letter by American journalist James Foley, who was executed on video, depicts his year and a half in captivity and longing to see his sister get married and grandmother dance again.
Foley was unable to communicate with friends and family while being held captive, so he asked a fellow hostage who was being released to commit a letter to memory, his family stated on Facebook Sunday, along with the letter.
In the letter, Foley recalls “weak and strong days,” and the comfort he found in sharing a cell with 18 other people being held captive.
“We have played games made up of scraps found in our cell. We have found ways to play checkers, chess, and Risk, and have had tournaments of competition, spending some days preparing strategies for the next day’s game or lecture,” Foley stated in the letter.
“The games and teaching each other have helped the time pass. They have been a huge help. We repeat stories and laugh to break the tension,” the letter continued.
Foley was kidnapped by gunmen in northwest Syria on Thanksgiving Day in 2012, according to a Facebook that was originally created to help secure his release.
Islamic State fighters later claimed responsibility for a video capturing Foley’s beheading on Aug. 19, 2014.
In what may be his final letter, Foley thanks family and friends for their prayers, and personally addresses multiple loved ones.
“I remember going to the mall with dad, a very long bike ride with mom. I remember so many great family times that take me away from this prison. Dreams of family and friends take me away and happiness fills my heart,” the letter begins.
“I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful,” he states. “I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray.”
In multiple paragraphs dedicated to his four younger siblings, Foley said he thinks about them often, is grateful for his happy childhood memories and is proud of them.
“You are the strongest and best of us all. I think of you working so hard, helping people as a nurse. I am so glad we texted just before I was captured,” Foley says to Katie, believed to be his sister. “I pray I can come to your wedding.”
He ends the letter with a heartfelt plea to his grandmother to stay healthy, and the hope that they will be reunited.
“Grammy, please take your medicine, take walks and keep dancing. I plan to take you out to Margarita’s when I get home. Stay strong because I am going to need your help to reclaim my life,” he states.
It was unclear when the letter was dictated to Foley’s fellow hostage or when it was communicated to his family.