Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A funeral and the human condition, some thoughts and PTSD.

Can't sleep, earlier today or now what was yesterday I went to a funeral. I say funeral because memorial felt a little like a lie, and I am doing my damnedest to be a person of penetrating honesty. 

The things that stick out the most were this... 10seconds into the bagpipe introduction I was sobbing. There was worship, oh how my soul misses that connection with God, inside me I was running to the alter of God which felt more like a fountain and I gulped up the cool water after being thirsty for months, even what seems like years. I saw people that have inspired me over the years to be this amazing person that a majority of people in my life (family included) have given up on. Likewise I saw people that wanted to see me fail and as a teenager made my life a constant battle for truth. I felt deep personal love from people I never see or talk to, I was propositioned to go out for drinks by 3 separate individuals, and to perhaps "meet up with" 6 other separate individuals to smoke pot and "catch up" (2 of them I could see but the other 4 a complete shock! Why does everyone still assume I am this giant Pot Head?! Lol seriously people one rumor when I was 14 and it's like the go to. I am not!). I heard the word "grace" used where it should have been "mercy", I was asked advice from 4 different individuals. I was asked my opinion on something by one person and when I gave it they said "that is what everyone says but I'm waiting on God to give me my answer" I asked if the answer they were hoping for would come in the form of God literally dropping through their ceiling or maybe an animal talking in plain English? I felt the "what the fuck do you know" lunging from their eyes.  Pastors from 4 different churches and 2 denominations ask me how I'm doing, hinting toward my "walk" and I thought "it's been better" but I said "life is good, I am surviving and learning how to flourish, I am happy" they say "good, it is great to see you, I think of you often, we miss you, I'm praying for you" or some variation of BS filler, this is what makes us feel better, everyone knows Mandi Martin they don't always talk to her or asker how or who she is but still everyone seems to know. I was quickly relating to the man laying in the casket. I saw a widow, no doubt hurting more than anyone could ever grasp yet more composed than individuals that haven't seen this man in years, people who hadn't called him to say "hello" or "I love you" since highschool, weeping like they ranked in his everyday humdrum and he in theirs. Maybe it was guilt, why do we do this? Props by the way, to his wife who sat there graciously while a random crazy person told her with a huge smile "you know I understand what you are going through, I mean when I read the news paper I was just so shocked" I felt like slapping that female on the behalf of every widow robbed of a moment to grieve by someone else speculating comparison, or using the death of said husband for attention. 

What sticks out the most, even more than his little girls reading the letter to their Dad that will haunt them beyond the days they have their own children (oh Jesus cover those little girls) was his uncle. In the moment I was in utter disbelief at the raw emotion and gut wrenching truth he threw in everyone's face and he let his loving anger fly the man was self restrained even then, yet at one point I looked away from him to cry "damn" under my breath. My long time friend next to me taking a gasp under hers. I understood this mans feelings he was emotionally fist shaking I honestly can't paint a picture of his dispaire. He said "I'm so sorry you let the pain in your life outlive your heart, I'm so sorry we couldn't love you enough to save you" and then later a photo tribute where I watched through photos the light go out in the eyes of a little boy, a teenager, a man who I once knew as a light. 

I sat there through a 2 and a half almost 3 hour service and I swear I was in an "emotional growth 101" crash course. "I'll take "life lessons" for 800 Mr.Trabeck!"

So I've had a bunch of emotions; anger, sympathy, guilt, confusion, "that selfish...." Has rolled through a few times. My faith with what suicide means or doesn't mean, mental illness is.... PTSD is... What is the definition of "choice"? Who are we really to those around us? I fell asleep this evening around 1am and began dreaming and I woke up with the song "Dust to Dust" by THE CIVIL WARS on loop in my head at 3:30. I am beginning to understand now outside my own scope of selfish (we all have one).

Have you ever had to kill a child for your own protection and the protection of whoever was standing closest to you and in the name of liberty for a country full of ungrateful assholes. Then try to justify "that 6 year old had a gun" "this is my job" ?

Have you ever watched innocent white flag waving individuals die with tears in their eyes and pleading on their lips, you unable to get there that moment sooner?

Have you watched women and children and people who remind you of those closest to you martyred for a cause you don't believe?

Have you ever tried to sleep with random yet constant banging, popping, screaming all around you? 

Have you had to watch your closest people to family die, again fighting for freedom that barely exists?

Have you ever been away from home for more than a month? Try months, years?

Have you wondered where God is?

Have you longed for the words and thoughts of loved ones and never got it?

Have you ever questioned who you are and every thing you know up to "this point"?

If any of these you may relate to, you may understand Jeremiah Horton or any other soldier on a very slight percentage. Only these men do this over and over and over for months and years on end and they get home to everyone that loves the man they were, but they don't understand the man they are. These men love people because of who they were but can't really get to know who they are because now they don't know how to relate or help those that love them relate. They are in pain, broken, and literally alone, with nothing left to give. Hundreds of people support them but no one is allowed inside. They are walking ghosts. Too much of anything can jumble things up forever. Nothing numbs the pain, no one understands, and If God is given the chance the sting can be dulled and even then...

Someone told me they think it was an accident... Are you telling me that a man who can clean his piece with his eyes closed misgauged a weapon that he knows almost better than himself? I don't think so. Many people talked about this moment Jeremiah had at a men's retreat where he had some realizations and was touched by God, a calm. I think it was what he was looking for to move forward in his healing process. When my best friend had cancer, and my grandmother congestive heart failure I learned how to Pray for "Gods will" healing doesn't always come in the form of a long abundant life on earth and it isn't for me to wish possible suffering on those I love because I want them close to me. This man had hundreds of people love him at one point or another in his life and he was still so alone that he reached for God in the most desperate form, and even in his death no one gets it, we are all confused and selfish.  

PTSD like other mental illnesses effects the Brain to the point of there being an actual structure change. I think of dementia and Alheimerz, autism, schizophrenia even, all have structural cues that things aren't right in the brain and it is visible, especially in brain scan comparisons. All of these illnesses bring about extreme anxiety and depression, hormones and chemicals flood the system and literally throw every thought and feeling off, likewise all of these illnesses are managed organically speaking with repetition, reminders, needing someone who is trusted to literally get to them and retrieve them day after day, moment after moment. I think that is interesting. And they get to a point where with out retrieval from their thoughts, without being able to find themselves they don't even remember at what point they became lost. 

Grown boys don't come to their mommies and daddies to find them. They don't come to those they want to protect to save them, and they certainly don't come to strangers or individuals they haven't seen in a decade. We need to start understanding that we won't understand, we need to be lovingly open and persistent, the bible says to set an example in love.  And repetition positively influenced can save lives and have a lasting effect in the future. Negative, traumatic repetition got them here... Take them back. If for every negative thought one needs 20 positive thoughts to reach a balence we all have our work cut out for us.

I realize this is super long but I had to share. Please if you know someone who has been in a situation you yourself can't imagine, assume the loving role and retrieve them. Parents, wives, BFFs of soldiers go get your grown child every day you have with them and retrieve them, resonate in them, speak LIFE into them. And everyone else, we have Vietnam vets who had a hard time integrating home, and they had hands on, dinner at the dinner table love... On this lack of communication on a verbal, physical level these days it's no wonder there is a physical atrophy to the brain in PTSD patients. And they come home after surviving with their own bare hands, to no healing stimuli just a world full of technology, opinions, and misconceptions. People start touching and talking please, it can also be a prophylactic.  Unity saves lives.


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