Tonight’s Thoughts

I am in pain. My mind aches most days. My bones follow suit. I no longer use the elixir of alcohol to push away that pain. Instead, I am left to confront it all. A daunting and overwhelming task at times. Over the past several months, most of what I have written has been lighter. Filled with a buoyance of hope. And that remains true, I am hopeful. I see glimmers of light now whereas before there was none. But there remains a deep, sullen molasses of sadness and dark that crawls through my veins. Like a shadow, it is always there.

As a boy, the world looked different to me because I was burdened to see it through the eyes of an absent innocence. As a soldier, I learned first hand what it was like to hold caskets embraced by the mournful flag of our nation. As a man, I experienced love then loss at the hands of the unfaithful. Through the gape of being a paramedic, street corners and apartment complexes became the illustrations of my stories. The world looked different. It still does…

I won’t lie to you, some days it seems easier to crawl back through the opening of a nefarious bottle and simply bask within the amber hue of its intoxication and the fallacy of warmth. My mind holds so many stories of loss and pain, both personal and witnessed, that it sometimes feels as though that is the very bedrock that shaped our planet. Everything else is just icing—sweet, but artificial.

Today was therapy day and I hated it. This renewed reluctance towards introspective and outward colloquy is born from the fact that I am now having to face the traumas within head on. They have lived within me for a long time. And yes, there may have been moments where I have confronted them, but never has it been with a mindful direction and purpose. In the past, my confrontation with the darkness was war—a reckless frontal assault towards an enemy that holds the high-ground. My armaments? Fermented grain mash, barley, corn and rye—whiskey.

If I was drunk or my mind hazy and without clarity, the ghosts couldn’t harm me. Or, so I thought. The nightmares were still there. Though, not nearly as bad as they are now. The other night, I saw the boy swinging by his neck at the end of my bed. Without haste and guided by an instinctual need to rectify his suspended state, I lunged forward only to fall from my bed, landing to the floor with a hefty obfuscation and embarrassment. Last night, I dreamt of the Pumpkin man. A man I once responded to on the side of a blackened highway beneath the canopy of night. A man whose head had been caved in by the weight of his own vehicle. He was drunk and had been driving. He slid from the road and rolled into his grave. I don’t often dream of the Pumpkin man. I am not sure why my mind so perniciously gifted me that memory. Upon waking, the first few minutes of wakefulness were spent trying to remember where I was—home.

I confess this to you now: I am exhausted. The upper lids of my eyes feel as though they are made of led. The lower lids, magnets. Fear of what lurks behind closed eyes is the only thing that keeps these two apart.

Today I told Doc that I need a vacation. She concurred. Thing is, there is no geographical location serene enough nor peaceful enough to help me escape my own mind. This evening when I lay down to fall asleep, I heard the rattle of Boomer. I felt the cold steel of his casket atop of my left shoulder. I woke in a panic swiping at myself, trying to rid my weary shoulder of such a burden. I was too late—thirteen-years too late… Cpl. Andrew James Eykelenboom “Boomer” Killed on Mission, Afghanistan. August/11/2006.

I am tired and I am lonely. Tonight, I miss my fallen brothers. The month after next is when Starker was killed. Each time I have tried to re-enter sleep, I allow for my lids to glissade overtop of my peering eyes and I am horrifyingly confronted by the sight of my brother, Starker, lain within a casket—a casket I did not wish to see. Once again, I am awake and I am in pain. My mind aches…

I apologize for this post being less than joyful and jubilant. But I cannot apologize for how I feel. Sometimes it’s just okay to not be okay—and right now, I am not okay…

I will be, I am sure. Feelings always pass. Sometimes they are just a little potent when trundling through a sober mind is all. I feel bad that I couldn’t save the boy. I feel terrible for thinking that Colin died in my place overseas. I resent myself for hating the sight of little kids now. I detest how every time I see a boy or girl of approximate age to that of three-months, I see a dead infant and not the child in front of me. PTSD is like living in two realities. A duplicitous state of mind.

It just donned on me—I have never before revealed the reason for my hatred of children, nor justified my vehement refusal to hold them, until now… I hate kids because they remind me of the dead ones. What a world to live in—one where you hate babies… what a mind to have… (I should probably skip that last part on my dating profile, huh?)

I spoke to my friend recently, a fellow medic—the medic I did those calls with—the dead kids. Maybe this is the reason they have been on my mind more as of late? I dunno…

I started this post by confessing that I was in pain, and now you know why. Well, some of the reasons why. The rest I shall keep to myself for the time being.

Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s hope that the warmth of the sun can ease the aching joints of my soul.

Be well and be safe, everyone. Brighter days…

 

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