In Afghan war’s twilight, two farewells in Mass. US role ebbs, but pain for families will not recede ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page John Tlumacki/Globe staff For two families in Massachusetts, the war in Afghanistan has cost them their loved ones. Vasselian family photo Erin Vasselian said she knew there was a possibility that her high school sweetheart, Sergeant Daniel Vasselian, could be killed in action, "but I never, ever thought it would happen to him." John Tlumacki/Globe staff When the three-deployment veteran was sent to Afghanistan in September, "he felt different about this [one]. He mentioned it to all of us," Erin said. John Tlumacki/Globe staff A sniper's bullet on Dec. 23 made the 27-year-old Abington woman a widow. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff Less than two weeks earlier, Rolando and Lisa Rodriguez's 19-year-old son Lance Corporal Matthew Rodriguez had been killed when the armored vehicle he was driving struck a roadside bomb. Rodriguez Family When Matthew (left) boarded a plane to begin his service, his father offered three pieces of advice: "Take care of your buddies, do your job well, and don't be a hero." John Tlumacki/Globe staff Erin Vasselian cradled her husband's Purple Heart. Vasselian family The two families choose to look past the irony that these Marines died at a time when US forces have moved from combat operations to an advise-and-assist mission. Pictured: Daniel Vasselian David L. Ryan/Globe Staff "I wish we hadn't still been there, but we were and we are," Lisa Rodriguez said. Pictured: Matthew's belongings in the family's Fairhaven home.