This I believe:
War creates many casualties. We see and hear about the most public and the most current. I am living with a more private condition that initiated 35 years ago and is just emerging now. As troops return home from the variety of war fields, I believe that as a population we will see and hear about the private casualties on an accelerated level. My husband is a Viet Nam combat vet. At 18 he went into the jungle, trekked through unbelievable conditions, lived through unmentionable horrors and at 19 returned to a well heeled, bucolic environment: Santa Barbara CA. Motivated, he completed college, married and had 2 children and worked successfully in a fortune 500 company for over 20 years.
About 2 years ago, 30 years into our marriage, I was living with a different person. Ironically, this character came with a vengeance on New Year’s eve, a time known for beginnings. Pandora’s box opened.
I believe people are good; my soldier doesn’t
I believe that socializing is fun, my soldier doesn’t
I believe common courtesy should be used in all instances, my soldier doesn’t
I believe that a walk in the forest for no particular reason is wonderful, my soldier doesn’t
I believe sharing a happy event with friends is a celebration, my soldier doesn’t
I believe sleeping peacefully is restorative, my soldier cannot
The change is private, it is isolating and it is tragic. It is not my soldier’s choice, it seems his destiny.
This I believe: we will need to care for our war veterans. We will need to insulate society from their depravity. We need to love and surround them with options to bitterness, anger and fright.
This I believe: my soldier did his duty, now I must do mine. So will many in the aftermath of war.
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