Today’s post comes straight from Sam’s heart. Last night while we were going through our nightly routine, Sam was sitting at the computer. I had no idea what he was doing until he said, “I’ll help with the kids in a minute, I am writing a blog post for you.”
Okay, I thought, and went about with the nightly routine.
After saying good night and tucking in the kids, Sam said, “the laptop is ready, but I know you, and I know you will probably cry.”
I think he also said something about his spell check.
Here’s a post that yes, made me cry, but is so meaningful. Sometimes I learn about Sam’s time deployed through these very posts. Sometimes we chat about it, and sometimes, I know I may struggle to know or learn through nightmares or sleepless nights.
Read the post below, from Sam, For Those Who Have Been to War…
I write this in hopes that I will be able to help someone through my own thoughts and stories.
Almost every night while on deployment in Iraq (2x) and Afghanistan I would look up in the night sky and find the peace that I would need to survive another day in hell. Either on a base or out in the middle knowwhere during mission I would find my peace. Knowing that when I looked up and saw the most beautiful sky, I was grounded, my thoughts were clear and for that very brief moment I was in a solitude of peace and tranquility. I was vulnerable to the very best and everything made sense in that moment. What nobody knows is I still do this. Almost every single night, before going to bed, I let the dogs out for their last potty of the night and I look up in the night sky and find that solace that I once gained while fighting to come home with my brothers in arms. I find putting myself in this vunerable state at least once a night allows me to put things into perspective al be it for that very small amout of time.
So, why is this something to talk about? I struggle every day with the wounds of war. There are quite a list of things. Lost battle buddies, struggles with what we saw and what we did. Moral injury and so much more. I often find in talking with Veterans that being vulnerable is what stops us from progressing on our problems. Now, this is not just a military thing. People that struggle go through this very same thing. Excuse after excuse that we tell ourselves why we cannot do what we need to do to get better. Embarrassment, anxious, fear of being looked down on, the list goes on. The famous saying that “We who have seen war, will never stop seeing it. In the silence of the night, we will always hear the screams.” This may be true but let me add to it. We may see war and continue to experience war from everyday triggers but that does not mean we cannot find a better way to cope with it.
I say this needing to smack myself for saying it and not always following it. Pain will decrease when you learn to cope with the battle. My wife is a godsend for me. Although she may not know it or accept it, she saved my life. I was at a point in my life where life didn’t make sense, I could find “me.” I looked to my Savior, who I had tried not to talk to, and I felt that I shamed him, but he sent me the answer I needed. Cat was the friend, the ear, the rock I needed to move forward and get back to this life. She showed unconditional love and a passion for listening, learning and supporting. These were things I never had before. At that time, I thought I could not reach out to my family because I did not want to put them through the pain I was going through.
I learned to be vulnerable to love and support. I learned that being vulnerable was the only way my life was going to change and it did for the better. I learned to accept, to cope, to love again. Life became easier to deal with when she came into it. I understand this may not be the case for everyone. Sometimes this struggle comes in a battle that must be won on your own. Know this, and I know it has been said a thousand times by everybody. There is always someone there to listen and bare the battle that you carry with you. Sometimes it is the least possible place you would think to find it. I found mine in a Student Veterans Center while I was working one day.
This is my case I am trying to make. Wounds of war or wounds of pain , or from the past, or whatever may be troubling you, are NEVER easy to cope with or work on. You are your own worst critic and only you stands in your own way. No war was ever won by one but by the many. In my third and final tour, we were on a mission one night that left my gun truck sitting on top of an IED.
We were dismounted and vulnerable at best. Without hesitation (once we realized what was beneath us) I ordered my guys to immediately mount back up and get the hell out of there. I stayed in order to make sure my guys were safe. I knew this was my last moment, I knew I did my job. As my gun truck was pulling away I was able to jump back in, never knowing when that bomb would go off. As you can imagine a lot flashes through your head in those few seconds. I found my peace in what I thought was my last moments on this earth. Why do I share this all with you? Don’t stand on a bomb to finally find your peace. Be the incredible version of you that you are. We all hold strengths, we all have that one “thing” that is ours. Be great, be amazing, be you. Because wether you know it or not, this Earth needs you.
I realize now that there was a young lady that needed me just as bad as I needed her. Today, we are such a great team. I wouldn’t give up those hellish nights and experiences for anything, knowing that one day, my rock and best friend would find me, hold me up and give something I never knew I could have…..love!!!
A dream come true is hope fulfilled.