After two days of smoking HOT sex…real life invades my blog today with Serious Sunday. This day is about focusing on those complex and all too real issues that keep ‘ruining’ all my great sex. Issues like body image, depression, special needs children, being poor or so many more that mark the human condition.
And to kick off this first Serious Sunday, I want to highlight the issue of suicide among our Veterans as September is #SuicidePreventionMonth. Did you know that in the US twenty-two (22) veterans or active duty service members commit suicide every day? That almost 100,000 have killed themselves since 2001…more than the casualty count of both Iraq and Afghanistan?
Of course, the major contributing factor is PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Over 600,000 Veterans are diagnosed with this challenge…and that number is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Many active duty military personnel are afraid to seek help due to concerns about what it might do to their careers. Even Veterans may be reluctant to do so…in some cases it has been used to prevent people from lawfully owning weapons even. Oh, you may think that it is worth it…I mean the disability benefit package, right? Do you have any idea how long that takes? How stressful that process is? And the stigma attached to having a ‘mental health issue.’
My Lit award winning novella series Sergeant Mike’s Miracle Tour explores all these issues…I hope compassionately and offering hope to those facing this issue. Below is an excerpt from Book 1 My Country Tis of Thee. In it our HERO Mike is talking with an older Vietnam era Vet…
Luke’s gaze pinned him, “Your pain rolls off you, son. I feel it. Deep in here.” He patted his gut. “I’m gonna tell you something I ain’t never told another living soul, not even Kim Lee.”
“After Caleb’s mama kicked me out, I was staying in the back of the shop. One night, I got drunker than Cooter Brown, as my daddy used to say. I pulled out my old foot locker with all my stuff from Nam. The uniform. Old Polaroids of Kim Lee and Jade Su,” Mike saw the bottle tremble in his giant hand as he lifted it to his lips and drank again.
“At the bottom of that box, I found my old Colt. There were still bullets it in,” the man paused in silence, as if just speaking about it took him back to that night.
“I hurt so bad. I felt like everything I did was doomed to fail. I had failed Caleb and his mama, just like I had failed Kim Lee and Jade Su. Hell, there was even enough of that damned religion still left in me that I thought I had failed god too.”
He pinned Mike with his stare as he spoke, “I put that gun in my mouth and I pulled that trigger.” A giant laugh that echoed louder than the waves shook the man. “The damned thing jammed. I thought what a fuck up is that. I couldn’t even kill myself. So I drank until I passed out.”
Luke walked from behind the bar and came to stand next to Mike. Wrapping his arm about his shoulder one more time, he said, “Look around, boy. Look at this house. Look at my son and his family. Look at Jade Su, Danny and my grandbabies.”
Mike watched a single tear spill from the corner of the bear’s eye and track down his weathered cheek as his gaze traveled to his wife, once more. “But look hardest at Kim Lee. She’d still be sweating her ass off making barely enough to survive while she sewed designer clothes for rich bitches like my ex-wives.”
“If that gun had not jammed that night, none of this would be.” His eyes bore deep into Mike’s soul. “When that moment comes for you. And I know it will. I can feel that. You remember this moment, and you put that gun away, cause somewhere out there is a good woman like my Kim Lee that needs you to save her from life’s pain just as much as you need her to push those demons aside and save your sorry soul.”
Extending his other hand to grasp Mike’s in friendship, he finished. “Trust me, shared burdens ain’t nearly as heavy as they feel right now. The love you find in the arms of a good woman will save you like not even god can.”
The man turned back to the bar and lifted his bottle, and bringing it to his lips, he drained it before pinning Mike with another of those soul-deep stares. “Don’t you damn well forget that cause I don’t want to be wearing that god-damned uniform to your funeral, Marine.”
Mike stared down at the beer in his trembling hand. The man’s words hit closer to home than he could have imagined. The decision that he had come to yesterday as he walked along the deserted beach, just south of Point Hueneme, echoed through his mind. As he sat there watching the waves crashing on the sand, the rock cliffs rising behind his back, he had set his course.
He would make the trip he had planned. Use the blood money he had saved to ease the pain of as many of his friends as he could. Then when his bank balance was zero he would make one final trip to the place where it all began. That graveyard in Boston where his mother and unborn baby sister rested. He would join them…and hope like hell that his journey had cleared the karmic balance sheets enough to buy him peace.
But how had this man known that?
If that is you, then please reach out. There are people who do understand. People like Luke who have been there…maybe still are. They want to help you. So here are a few resources that I have found…ones I follow personally. And if you know of others…please share those too.
If that isn’t enough…for the very. very brave, there is this video by a Navy widow…a victim, yes there are victims of suicide, the family and friends left behind as well as the one that died.
And don’t worry…tomorrow we are back to frivolity with REAL Man Monday…