"I'm sorry I must leave, but I must do what is asked of me by my God, my Country, and my Corps.. and so, the war blog begins, again." ~B

14 December 2013

Who do you tell

First time writing since my injury.  It's like riding a bike, right?...~wendy

Ten years on this journey.

But who to share it with?  Who can know?

Not the feel good, funny, homecoming, brotherhood side.

The dark. The ugly side.

Ten years of war and it is easy to pick out the soldiers. The warriors.  But there are others equally scarred by its destruction. They are in the background. Families.  Friends. Lovers. The volunteers. Those nameless people doing all they can to help contain, in some small way, all that destruction. But that means letting the destruction in to your own soul as well.

Who tells our stories?

Who knows what we have seen?

What we have heard?

What we have felt.

The things we do not talk about.

You cannot share them at the time.  

We must-- "Keep all communications positive.  To do otherwise is to put your soldier at risk.  Do not be a distraction.  It can get him killed. Listen. Do not judge. Remember your smiles!" 

"Send a themed care package once a month. Make it fun."

"My Hero. Thank You for what you are doing. We support what you are doing.Thank you for your service. You are a Hero." 

What happens when the words have lost their meaning?  When you can no longer ignore the messy darkness shoved behind the boxes and no longer stand the platitudes you are supposed to spout? 

When you can no longer ignore the things that are real.

The killing.  The dying.  The wretched wounded.  The souls torn open.  The shattered minds.

The unrelenting never-ending fucking wastefulness of it all.

Who do you tell?

Very few people want to see the darkness.  It doesn't fit well into their world views.  It is messy.  It isn't nice to look at.  It might make them hurt too.  It is too hard. Some may ask, but then they get that stunned shell shocked look on their faces, so unprepared for the truth.

Ten years is a long time and it all has to go somewhere.  Buried deep. Maybe too deep.  But also right there, just under the surface, if you care to know where to look.

It is all there in the silence.  Bursting out of the footlockers in the garage where I try to leave it.

If you do it right, it is more than you ever expected to see.  More than you were ever prepared for.  More than you know what to do with yourself.  But no one wants to hear about that part.
Don't let things get too heavy.  Lighten it up.
Smiling soldiers with puppies are good for slideshows. No one wants to see the screaming, bleeding ones at your presentation.

Remember, Baking cookies is easier to deal with than the sobs of grown boys.
Do you hear it? 
(The weeping. He killed a man today. His first. I can hear it, ragged breath coming through the ripped open pieces of his soul. The broken pieces spilling out over the phone line to cover me. I hold them in my hands but I do not know how to put him back together.) (The sobbing. Helo crash. A spinning rotor blade will cut right through human flesh.  It doesn't care if that piece of flesh happens to be the face of his best friend.) (The crying. I love you. Jess is dead.)

Squirt guns and school supplies make better stories than talking the rifle out of a man's hands. (Pleading. Praying. ohgodohgod Swearing. putitthefuckdown. Begging. please.please.please.please.don'tdothistome.please.)
(Two days spent waiting for word. Success or failure? Can I live with failure?)

The flags.  The funerals. Their mothers. 
(I sit sometimes, at your grave, W.  I try to tell you these things. But I can't. I'm always empty. Like this place seems empty. I stare blankly at the granite.)

Broken bodies trying to put broken minds back together.

Even when they make it home it isn't always better.  Too many still fight the war. BD. CJ. Too many lose. The number keep rising.  Justin. Mac. It hurts. Oh God. It fucking hurts.

No one tell you that you when you start this that you will get broken too. You will make promises you can't keep. There are things you cannot unhear or unfeel. The Loss. The waiting and the helpless watching.  No ones says you will also touch the black and it will gut you too.

When we started none of us expected to still be doing this 10 year later.  But it didn't end. 

All of these things...who do you tell? 

And how do you walk away?

I made him a promise. Without this I don't know how to keep it.

Perhaps, it is time, though.

All that is left is the doing.
“The war was a long way away. Maybe there wasn't any war. There was no war here. Then I realized it was over for me. But I did not have the feeling that it was really over. I had the feeling of a boy who thinks of what is happening at a certain hour at the schoolhouse from which he has played truant.” 
― Ernest HemingwayA Farewell to Arms