Dear Doc/Dear Winston, 02.24.13

Dear Doc,

This pain that is inside of me will not go away.

I am so fucking tired. Some days I wish I would have just died alongside my brothers. I feel like they went the best way possible, killing the fucking assholes who caused this devil inside me.

It’s like a fire raging in my chest, and nobody can hear or see it. I ponder on the day I can walk into Hell and make those bastards’ lives even more miserable.

How do I continue to get up and live another day? Nothing makes sense anymore. The only thing I know has been taken from me, and now I’m left with scars and a constant state of paranoia and anger. I lay in my bed watching my trigger finger twitch, thinking of a way to make my heart pound like it used to.

I fear no evil. Death would be doing me a favor. HA!

And people . . . they are dust . . . people? Walking around with their faces stuck in computers and cell phones, playing their video games, talking about how they wanted to go to war, but couldn’t. Fucking pussies, if you ask me.

And people wonder why I stuck a needle in my arm and watched as the liquid went in and the pain . . . well, it just went away. The devil was at bay, and my mind at peace. WTF.

God sure has a plan for me . . . if You’re listening, come down and end this fucking pain.

Vibration from the 50 cal rattling through my arms. DIE, Mother fuckers, DIE! The smile of pure hatred pouring from my face. That’s living for those of you who know what I’m talking about.

Nothing ELSE matters?



Dear Winston,

The power of punctuation.

It’s the question mark at the end, you.

We have no clue, do we, Winston, we civilians? It’s not only our computers, our cell phones, our video games that consume us, blind us. Our arguments, justifications, outrages: they do as well. We have so much to say about the War: “Support Our Troops!” “War Is Not the Answer!” “Thank You for Your Service!” We know why we should have gone to War. We know why we never should have gone to War.

We all want it to be so simple. “The Devil is on the outside: see what happens if we don’t go to War!” “The Devil ends up on the inside: see what happens if we go to War!”

You, your brothers and sisters: you are the ones who have had to face both Devils, one there, one here, both unrelenting, both demanding that you face a Reality right now—right NOW!—that the rest of us took a pass on, still take a pass on, whether with shame or with pride.

Dust. Yes, we all are, Winston: the brothers whom you lost; those who tried to kill you, who did kill them; the boy with the rotting leg; the father who risked a soldier’s ire to save his son; the soldier who writes late at night, hoping against hope that a doctor will not turn away from his rotting soul; the doctor who tries to reassure him, even as he has to cause that soldier some pain, that the rotten parts can indeed be debrided, that the living parts underneath can still become enlivened and enlivening once again.

Nothing ELSE matters? Question mark?

Thank you, Winston, that you are allowing me to find your answer to that question with you.


6 responses

  1. Sorry. One more thing. What do you make of the raw, cursing descriptions vets use in the flashbacks? I have heard people react that it is just an act, not believable. Curious your take. I, for one, believe.

    • Interesting. I, for one, have never had any doubts whatsoever. In the midst of combat, it is precisely the raw emotions that speak. Usually they don’t talk pretty (at least as far as I know). I’m with you: I too am a believer.

  2. Tracking. What I am getting at is the trip to that place is very real and understandable for the vet, but confusing for a family member (especially a young boy) who is in the here and now – they cannot relate to that place. Disbelief and discredit arevthe easiest ways. The cursing and rage match the place but not the present. One of the real-life WWII characters I am writing about in my book survived Peleliu … In the early ’60s he would wake up his boy in the middle of the night to take him out on patrols. When I bounce the story off people who know nothing of PTSD, they tend to think it is fiction.

  3. forgive the interruption… Doc, I really liked this one. It touched on much. There is some truth to the notion of been there- done that- get that. I also get Mike’s words. People see the symptoms of PTSD and they don’t get it. People are misdiagnosed, over-drugged, and reabused by a medical system that is just learning how to identify and treat PTSD. Oh, and heaven forbid that your experience is not combat, or partially combat, because no one in hell is going to believe you have PTSD, after all, it’smuch easier to diagnose something else and it’s much easier to medicate rather than deal with reality. Sorry, I just realized I’m ranting… one of those days. I’ll put my soapbox back on the shelf…

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