Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's Still Raining

There comes a point when you stop trying to recover and you learn to manage. I've come to understand and accept that some things, no matter how much I internalize, no matter how much I ruminate, some things will never be the same; and I will never be able to make them as they once were. The irony is that amidst all the confusion, muddled somewhere in my never-ending questions and attempts to recover, I've seen glimpses of truth. And the truth that I've seen is this...what we know as our "lives", what we know as "family", these can all change with the next breath of air that enters our bodies. You've undoubtedly heard this before, you've may have even said it before. But let me tell you something, until you've looked inside of yourself and greeted this day as your last because you were certain it would be; until you've said goodbye to your family in your mind because your mind is the only way you can communicate with them, and until you've done this more times than you can remember, you truly don't understand the frailty of a life.

The double tragedy in all of this for me, is that not only have I been forced to swallow this bitter pill of death, I have emerged alive and now see those around me whose lives have yet to teach them this lesson. They do not fully understand that death is a breath away. Sure, they've said it and heard it hundreds of times....but they have never LIVED it. And unfortunately until they do, death will be foreign to them. It will always be something that happens to others. To them, there will always be a tomorrow because they have never been forced to live with a yesterday. And while there is a beauty and innocence to never having been forced to live with a yesterday, there is also a hindrance to it. The problem with never having to live with a yesterday, is that you've never learned the lessons that yesterday has to offer. You never truly understand how to appreciate today. For you see, there is no greater teacher about today, than yesterday. There is no greater teacher about life, than death. And for me, death has taught me that I will always say I'm sorry to a face before I am forced to say it to a tombstone. Death has taught me that while life's concerns and issues seem insurmountable at times, I still have my life; I still have the life of my family and this truth is what really matters.

It's still is indeed and the thunder continues to roll in my mind. But amidst the thunder and the rain, I find solace in the knowledge that whatever storm I find myself in, at least I have been given a today. I have a here and now. And it is in this here and now that I will thank God for just that. Thank You for another chance to tell my wife how much she means to me. Thank you for another kiss from my daughters. Thank you for the opportunity to be able to say I'm sorry for a wrong that I've committed or accept an apology for one committed against me. Because who knows, I may never have the opportunity to accept another I'm sorry and the next one I say may very well be to a tombstone.


Anonymous said...

You are an exceptional human being. Semper Fi.

Barb said...

In fact, there are many facets of our lives are treated by some as 'things that happen to someone else'. In fact, I get closer some days than others to understanding the saying "For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know.". But I accept that what it says is that I'll never feel it until I have to face death.
But it is sweet for those of us who worry about our friends and loved ones to know that you emerged on the other side of this hard lesson. We're glad you are still here, even if we can't really understand.

Anonymous said...

Your stories brought me so much comfort when my son was in Ramadi at the same time you were; I wish I could bring you peace now. I learned the lessons of yesterday and tomorrow when my parents died before I was an adult, and I understand your frustration when people just don't get it. Such a waste of time and life. Sleep well, America's Son.