A Glimpse of Hurt

It’s present day 2015 and after a year of living in a fog of confusion. I feel as though I have opened my eyes and the fog isn’t so thick anymore. I have completed a psycho social rehabilitation program at the VA, I have completed an 8 week 16 hour course on parenting, I have attended drug rehab programs even though I am not addicted to drugs. I have been seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist on a regular basis but despite it all I am no closer to getting my kids back to me.
     I have a nice apartment on the nice side of town, I make more than enough money now to give my children everything they need and want. I raised them respectful, to say yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, thank you, and please. They are polite and well mannered and cute. They were happy in our care, they loved our family together watching television on the living room together, going out to eat together, or to the duck pond. We were the family that brought the party with four children in my “fire team”.
       It’s been months since I’ve seen my children for more than an hour. I saw my 5 month old baby yesterday and he doesn’t even recognize me. He looks like me I, bonded with him for the first month before they ripped him from us. I know our kids must be so upset with us. There are so many people that root for us despite what the system feeds them. My kids have known me as a father that hugs them everyday plays with them any chance I get. Icould go on and on about how our family was a loving caring one despite my illness. My wife and I are in an endless daze drifting through the space that fills our long drawn out weeks, months…
     A year now we have been prisoners of our society’s broken system. There is no true freedom. The only abuse my kids suffer now is the trauma of being ripped from there parents, ripped from there new born baby brother.
     I have no criminal history, never been convicted of a crime. I’m just a veteran, a boy who at 17 signed up for the Army to serve and protect my country who went to combat twice for two and a half years across the pond and know had PTSD. Don’t be misunderstood readers. The reason this happened is because my wife called the suicide prevention hotline to get me help and they notified Child Protective Services. The case worker was young, inexperienced, and for no apparent reason took the children from our care a week later after I had admitted myself inpatient and received proper care for an isolated incident.
     I don’t want to draw too many tangents. I needed to vent because I love my kids and I know that after a long hard road that ends in April my family will be reunited. There are many pieces to this unspeakable story I must write so that I can keep my self grounded and realize that my life is my own and these people have tried to break me so hard, and for awhile they had. They had me doubt myself and made me think that because I had PTSD I would never be a good father. PTSD is not easy but it’s not a problem for me to be a loving father especially when I never had one. I love my children and I live for them. I thought I wanted to be a soldier when I grew up and I did it but when I became I father I knew what my purpose in life was. I was to have a family and teach them to love each other and be there for each other always. Something my family never learned my mother and brothers are out for themselves and only talk to me if I have something for them. I want my family back and though they try to break me everyday, I will continue to fight for my beautiful children. All I can do is push through the pain day by day concentrating on the positives knowing this won’t last forever, I’ll have my family./Nothing Follows

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The Never Ending Nightmare…(Part I)

    I don’t know if I mentioned that I am from Texas born and raised and I have loved it here. I must update you on a year of untold stories and heartache before I go any further. Last Christmas Eve, the year of 2012, my children were taken from me by the child protective services of my city. Before any judgments will can be cast  I would like to tell you the truth the way it happened for the first time in over a year…
     The month is December, the month has never been a good month for me. I had become increasingly anxious over the weeks that lead up to the Day. In no way am I excusing my behavior but the foreground in necessary for this story. I cannot remember clearly the small details but it’s Friday morning before Christmas break and my oldest boy is getting ready for school. He is crying, sniffling as he usually does when he gets up and I become inappropriately angry. I admit that I jabbed my son lightly on the back. I jabbed him because he cries every morning that he doesn’t get enough sleep. I jabbed him because he was late. I jabbed him because I didn’t think. I did a horrible thing. It is so shaming to have to admit that but it must be said. I became more angry after my wife tried to calm me down and push her down as I storm out the door for what I believe will be my last time…
           As I walk out the door I feel so ashamed and empty. I was once a warrior and a leader, was a  good person, and now… Now I am a monster to my family. As I walk out the door I am planning my death. I don’t want to live anymore, I don’t ever want to hurt my family or anyone ever again. I walked around my suburban neighborhood and look for some where quiet, alone, and peaceful to take my life. All I had was a Gerber knife and I was thinking of the fastest painless way to kill myself. As I walk around I find a park, a small park that had a lot of small doe wandering around the trails. I found a quiet place in the shade of some trees and I began to cry. I can’t honestly remember the rest of that day except that I came home at night and my 1SGT arrived. I can remember driving in his car to the VA Hospital and being admitted to the inpatient mental ward for the second time in two years. I can remember meeting my new psychiatrist who prescribed me my meds that I have between taking for over a year now. I am doing much better with my PTSD because I am talking to another Doctor who is helping me work through my issues. I have a short stay and I’m ready for the world again.
     The next week is the week of Christmas and I’m home for a few days doing much better before a very young, very inexperienced CPS case worker knocks at our door. I willingly and honestly answer all questions and explain exactly what happened. Pictures were taken of all of my children in there under wear at the case workers request. No bruises were found, the kids were all happy. As a matter of fact when she entered my home my mom, my wife and all our children were on the living room couch by the Christmas tree that cover a barrage of presents. The lights were on, the atmosphere was up and at the end of a three to four hour interrogation in which all the parties involved were happy and calm. The case worker decided to remove the children from my care. I asked, my wife asked to talk to her supervisor and we were denied that right. The police were called and I had no choice but let a stranger younger than me who had no kids of her own to remove my children from their home.
     My whole world broke in that moment. I was with my kids every day and now I have to be supervised when I could see them. I don’t beat my kids,I have never been physical with my children except for that one isolated incident in which I received immediate medical attention. This is just the beginning of the horror I have had to endure over the last year. As you read you may inquire and I will answer relevant questions without specifics and I will ask you to put yourself in my shoes because in this society I don’t see how anyone is safe from the system. I plan to unravel my story day by day in short doses. I know I am a good man and I ask for compassion when reading my blog for this may be your cautionary tale.
     Over a year later and I feel this story must be told. /Nothing Follows

First Kiss, First Love, First War

     It’s March 2004, I am 20 years old for about a month before all the dust settles and I am in my new room for the next year.  You never hear about the long two weeks in limbo you have to spend in Kuwait.  You kind of just wait around all day in a tent soaked in kerosene waiting to die, waiting to live.  I spent most of my time reading the bible that I had never touched before.  I guess it’s funny how certain situations can your change your perspective, change your mind on religion and your beliefs.  That is neither here nor there after we left Kuwait and got to our Forward Operating Base which was named like FOB Thunder or something.  When we got there, the Infantry, The Cavalry, we took over operations called it FOB HeadHunter and ultimately began taking down an army of insurgents on a street I will never forget, Haifa Street.  A lot of men know about Haifa street but I want to share a little bit of my story with you.  You can google Haifa and read about some of the horrible things that have reporters have had a chance to see when on patrol with us.

     It is my first patrol and I realize that I know nothing about the world.  I am in a different country on a street narrower than ours in the United States with houses that don’t look like houses on either side.  I am surrounded by people in their country, I am a foreigner, I am a the one who is out of place. I am a big FUCKIN TARGET just like the rest of my comrades.  I am not scared, not much at least, I am ready for this.  I am walking down the street on a very hot April day sweating with over a hundred pounds of gear not including my weapon.  I am a S.A.W. Gunner so I have over a thousand rounds on me and I don’t mind the ammo. 

    As we get deeper into our patrol, a patrol basically to familiarize our sector and recon the area I begin to relax.  This is when the War first started so a lot was still unknown at the time so I was oddly enough excited.  This IS what I had signed up for after all UNTIL… POP POP POP, I hear my first POP shots which would soon become known as bullets shot near us to keep us on our toes to see our defenses.  They cut that shit out fast once they realized we were an Infantry unit and found we were catching the bastards who did it.  So I have no idea whats going on I am just a Private waiting for orders.  Well I just know that the guy in front of me says “let’s go, keep your distance” and I start running.  Nothing spectacular, nothing too amazing but it was a very interesting first patrol.  It only lasted a couple of hours but the work it takes to observe and take in everything in your sight, analyze it as threat or not can be so exhausting not to mention you have an entourage of children yelling “mister, mister, chocolata” in there Arabic accent.  There are so many plains and fields of fire, avenues of approach, alleys, corners, rooftops, windows, doors, and people. 

     For most people walking down the street is as normal as walking down the street, but for an Infantryman it can be hell trying to filter things out of your mind that don’t make sense.  I wish it was like a switch but it’s not.  We are trained to survive, we are drilled and brainwashed to survive at all costs and die if we must.  How can you turn that learning off when your trained to do it all the time for months at a time.

     The first time I fired my weapon in a real world environment I thought I was going to die.  Haifa street is a long street but there is a section that has four lanes similar to a highway in the States but it just a regular street and on both sides there are towering apartments at least six stories high each and run the length of at least a couple of football fields.   I hope I have given you an idea of the setting.  My Squad, KAOS, and I along with Rage Squad are one side of the four lane street and it’s about midnight and no one is on the streets.  We are all getting ready to bound across the street two at a time 5 meters apart hauling ass to establish a foothold on the other side.  Well I am the second guy to run across with my team leader and half way across the street I hear the 240Bravo go off which is a loud effin weapon and I see tracers start hitting the ground around me and pieces of the street breaking so I raised my SAW and shot into the second story windows where the bullets were originating from.  I sprayed and prayed trying to get the enemies heads down because there was still guys following behind me.  As soon as I reached the other side I hugged a pillar that was on the breeze way on the bottom floor of the apartments.  I have to reload so I yell “AMMO!” the other SAW picks up the slack while I take 15 seconds to put in another nut sack, I really hate writing that but thats what they were called a 200 round drum and a 100 round nut sack, what can I say?  I digress, I reload and start firing again waiting for the rest of my squad to get across.  Thank God we have all made it across and just then two grenades go off seconds apart from each other and close to where I am.  I wait for orders, they say the Bradleys are coming and for us to hold position. I look to my left where one of my friends is and I see a grenade bounce roll towards him bounce off his leg and over him and never explode. At that moment the world had stopped and I thought it was all over but the grenade never goes off.  We both would have ate it but it never goes off.

      I am very happy that so many of you have taken a liking to my blog and now I want to try to start from the beginning because we can’t have a future if we don’t understand our past and where we come from.  In my next blog which I have no idea when I will write because quite honestly I am falling more and more into insanity I want to talk about who we really are and how I can give my two cents to the world before I go, or this part of me.  This is my voice and I thank you all for listening./Nothing Follows/

The Good, The Bad… The UnKnowN

You can’t expect everything to be perfect.  The cold hard truth for some us it seems.  I don’t know if I would say that makes me a perfectionist or not, I do want things to be perfect but I don’t push it on anyone.  The point I am trying to get at is that I know that I may have some of these major problems, but I can still say that there is a lot that is going right with my life.  I don’t want to explain in detail what I do have more than I have a place of my own now and my family is taken care of.  As for me, today was actually a pretty good day and these are the days I want to write on.  It can rain all the time and today it isn’t raining.

Despite the fact that I passed out on the couch this morning and missed school, I actually had a really good deep sleep, a lot of scary but adventurous dreams.  I was across the pond again as usual or maybe not but the same situations and this time I was actually enjoying myself.  I guess that was the precursor to my day because I woke up and could think of only one persons voice. I was thinking of my new guidance counselor when I first met her, she said “I know whats important”.  She is a very nice woman, blonde and loud just like my Fiancee who got along really well.  She is also a Christian and said that she had felt like she was put in our path for a reason(My Fiancee and I).

So I woke up around 1100 and I thought about that, I wasn’t so stressed about the details.  I stood back and realized that it’s not perfect and that’s okay.  I started cleaning my apartment, deep cleaning it and then I worked out for a couple of hours which leads me to here where I just had to let you know.  I feel alone and maybe because of what I have gone through it may always feel that way, but once again that’s okay.  I hate to be a hypocrite and accept these things that I never wanted to accept but if I learned one thing as an Infantryman it’s how to walk away from a fight.  It’s not about being a bad ass or coward, it’s about collateral damage.  No one thinks about all the things you stand to lose.  I don’t want to hurt my family because I want to win my own personal War in my mind.

I will learn to adapt, I will learn to overcome because that’s what I was trained to do and that’s what I strive to do.  This life of ours is not over, not by a long shot and I can’t, we can’t keep looking over our shoulder because we’ll miss what’s right in front of us.  I write these blogs after much deliberation in my everchanging mind about the title of what I want to write about.  In other words, I forget really fast what I want to convey so I actually try to summarize my whole thought in the title.  So I mentioned the good.

The Bad is I still feel alone.

And the UnKnoWn…

Well I don’t know whats next, I can’t foresee how long I can hold this bright outlook on life.  I really would like to be happy.  I don’t want to talk about the unknown because well I don’t want to lose this feeling. God forbid I am Bi-Polar, in that case it would just give me a chance to write two blogs instead of one. Twice the me at half the price. Right… So yeah, I’ll take the good with the bad.  March is over and I feel like everything will be okay, even if just for a moment, I’ll take it. THANK YOU GOD! I may not understand everything that happens or why it happens but for this I am grateful./Nothing Follows/

I don’t feel good…

I don’t know who I am anymore. A couple of weeks ago as you know I had nothing, I was living at my moms house asking for pamper money.  Now, all that has changed.  I am in a new apartment better than any apartment I have ever been in even when I was in the Army.  I have a new Tahoe that is mine, no payments.  I have everything I need and want for my family.  The bad news is I am still miserable.

     I am in no better shape than I was before, in fact I feel like I am worse off because frankly it is March.  My birthday was this month, I turned 29 and I officially proposed to girlfriend of 4 years with a beautiful diamond ring.  I used my birthday wish to ask her.  Other than that March is never kind.  That’s the really unfair thing about PTSD if I may act like a teenage girl for a second. It doesn’t care about what’s going on in your life, it hits you when it wants.  I have learned it is a physical thing, PTSD is not even a disorder, it is a physical condition based on all the classes I have taken through the VA Hospital.  I have learned that through word of mouth and I have learned that personally.  I physically get sick more often now, it is an uncontrollable feeling of pain.  I was in class today and I was so anxious I almost through up.  I am tired.  I first got my apartment a few weeks ago and everytime I took a hot shower I thanked God.  I thanked God for the things people take for granted everyday like a hot shower or your own personal space, a closet, a kitchen.  But people don’t care.  Things haven’t changed, I still don’t feel good. 

     I don’t want to struggle everyday.  I have my family, I can’t be doing this anymore. I am physically becoming more and more crippled and it’s scaring me.  I raced home at about 85 to 90 mph today trying to get home because I thought I was going to have a panic attack on the road.  I am not ready to do this.  I am not ready to communicate with face to face people.  I am not a shy person but for some reason when I was at school all the people there were frightening.  What is wrong with me?  Why am I so fucked up? 

     March is a bad month, did I mention that?  We lost 8 of our brothers this month all almost in one sitting.  One secondary explosion.  Good Men.  This is pointless but who else am I going to tell.  I can’t tell my family, I don’t want them to know, or worry.  Whats the point of anything? I shouldn’t talk like this. I digress, the only thing that I can salvage out of this whole thing is that I won’t quit.  I can’t quit but I won’t.  Everything gets vivid in March, one day I hope to write about what happened over there and the sexy parts of War but right now the only parts that stand out are the really sad ones.  The only thing I can figure is that I held my tears back then I have held them for the years after since 2007 but lately it’s been getting harder and harder to forget.  I feel bad for wanting to forget but I want to move on.  I, I, I, I am such a selfish bastard./Nothing Follows/

What is an Infantryman?

What makes an Infantryman….
“Infantrymen come in all shapes, shades, weights, sizes, states of sobriety, misery, and confusion. They are sly as a fox, have the nerve of a dope addict, the sincerity of a politician, and the subtly of Mt. Saint Helen. They are extremely irresistible, totally irrational and completely indestructible.

An Infantryman is a Soldier all his life even if only for a few years of that life. He is a magical creature. You can kick him out of your house but not out of your heart. You can take him off your mailing list but not off your mind. Soldiers are found everywhere… in love…in battle… in lust… in trouble…in debt…in bars and … behind them. No one can write so seldom and yet think so much of you. No one else can get so much enjoyment out of a letter or clean clothes or a six pack. An infantryman is a genius with a deck of cards. A millionaire without a cent and brave without a grain of sense.

HE IS THE PROTECTOR OF AMERICA! When he wants something, it’s usually 30 days leave, music that hurts the ears, a five dollar bill…or a woman he can count on. Girls love them, mothers tolerate them, fathers brag about them, the government pays them, the police watch out for them and somehow they all work together. You can beat their bodies, but not their minds. You can tame their hearts, but not their souls. He likes girls, chow, females,dip, women,alcohol, ladies, did I say alcohol?, and the opposite sex.
Infantrymen dislike small checks, working weekends, answering letters, waking up, maintaining a uniform, and the day before payday.
You may as well give in. An Infantryman is your long distance lover… they are your steely-eyed, warm-smiling, blank-minded, hyper-active, over-reacting, curious, passionate, talented, spontaneous, physically fit, good for nothing bundle of worry….. And he will always be there for you, regardless of how long its been since you’ve last talked.” – Unknown

With a Weak Whisper I Will Wilt Away…

Things are getting better y’all, or are they?  What is it that we need to make us happy?  I have had a couple of weeks let me tell you, seriously let me tell you.  First off I want to say that I know if I will be keeping this blog anymore,  while it has been helping me I feel like it may be a ruse.  I have been through a lot for someone of 28.  Of course my trials and tribulations started when I served my country and some of you have had this problem your whole life.  The truth is no matter who I was or who I want to be, I will always just be ME… Things are constantly changing everyday, you think you have a plan.  You think that plan will go accordingly, but we all usually forget the Life factor.  Life happens and our plans are turned upside down and we are forced to change.  I feel like I have been cheated because I found that it doesn’t matter what plan I have or where I want go, this is real life and it controls us.  We can’t choose the parents we are born to, we can’t change the boss we get at work or even the people we work with.  They all just come into our life and change everything we thought we knew about what we were doing.  We can’t change stupid things like a freak accident closing my bank account out.  I know things don’t always go right but right now I swear my name should be Murphey.  What ever could have gone wrong did go wrong.

Things are getting better though, I swear.  But where does that leave me?  I am going to start college in a month to get my business degree.  I have been working out and I am in the best shape I have been in since I left the Army.  I am going to plan on opening my own business.  But I don’t know why I am still sad.  I got a fresh haircut yesterday before I went to the college to apply and it’s a small world.  The woman who cut my hair was in the Army too, she was at the same duty station I was in the same time I was.  We even went to Iraq at the same time.  The only difference is that since she was a woman, she was in a tiny bit safer place than me and didn’t see combat.  But she saw things, she was going through the same thing I was going through.  I just met this woman yesterday and we were talking like we were old friends.  It’s good to know that you’re not crazy, it’s good to know that I wasn’t the only one. But it was different this time, her story was all too familiar about a soldier who lost there life in an unfortunate way.  Heroes to us!  She confessed to me that she feels like crying all the time and I nodded.  I explained that I felt the same way.

Life. So precious and fragile, yet it’s something we take for granted everyday.  Out of all the known universe we have yet to find any other life forms at all.  To me that is so amazing, the miracle that entails.  You must concede that we are all Miracles. Out of all the planets, out of all the solar systems it was us, just us who are alive now.  A tiny fraction of a whole that has life.  BUT NOWHERE ELSE! Life is a miracle that currently only last between 1 and 100 or so.  So many beautiful things in this world that we take for granted like the green grass or blue sky.  There isn’t much green in Iraq and the sky is a smokey grey.  So I have decided that it is time for another change as I am EVERCHANGING. I want to help people, I want to go into business and help people live life. Not a life coach or anything weird like that, a simple family business to bring back the American Dream.  We all need a change.  My Squad Leader once told me “Dave, if you want to bitch about something, you can either stick around long enough to change it or get out.”  Well this isn’t the Army but I want to change it.  I didn’t start this blog to bitch. I want to change the world one free thinker at a time. I want everyone to see the world through the eyes of a soldier.  Being a Soldier is about service and sacrifice!  To love something so much you would give your life to it!  To me that is special, I live with the pain and depression of knowing that life isn’t what it seemed and those brothers that I lost would have not wanted to die for this.

I miss you all so much. I will never forget you.  March. Fuckin March, the month of my birthday and the month that we lost 7, FUCKIN SEVEN in one sitting… Seven with families, seven that were my friends, seven that didn’t need to die.  My world is getting better, my life is falling into place.  But in March I remember the families that aren’t going to have their dad this year for Fathers Day.  Why?  I weep endlessly for their children.  My squad leader was one of the best friends of the ones we lost.  He knew their kids well, he cried at the funeral service we had in Iraq.  One of the strongest leaders and men I know, my hero who taught me everything was crying.  We all have one special battle buddy.  Our best friend that is like our own brother… SSG Prater was his best friend and he broke on the podium.  The kids were young then, as old as my kids are now, around 3 and 4… If I lost my kids… I don’t feel like being inspiring today. Just remember next time you want to cry or bitch, there are a lot of good men who gave their lives, who will never see there family again.  AND their families will never see them again either.  Orphans of War… Damn You America, take it for granted. I know you will BUT mark my words one day there might not be a military anymore who wants to WILLINGLY fight your selfish freedom. /Nothing Follows/

“…Some People Pray, I Turn Up The Radio” – A girl

I know I post a lot of music videos but I think that music can help you in a lot of ways if you listen to the right songs.  I am gonna post a couple of videos and maybe some of you can relate or maybe not, maybe you’ll just like them.  I don’t know I haven’t felt like writing because I have a lot of mixed emotions about a lot of things and you know what I always say…”Everywhere you go… There you are.”  The thing that I have been talking about that will change my life just got one step closer. (Pending Decision Approval).

I have become better because of this blog.  The truth is I was going to get rid of the whole blog for reasons I won’t discuss.  When it came down to it and I had to think about it, I couldn’t.  Everyone who has our problems should know you are probably saving someones life right now.  Before I was writing on here I was in a room depressed all day every day.  I was miserable and I was writing, BUT I was writing to myself.  I was writing my deep dark personal thoughts to myself and it was scary.  I write on here because I am no one special, I wish I could be a hero, or someone famous but I am not.  I wish people would care about what I have done for this country.  I went to the VA and asked for help but they failed.

I was so lost for so long falling faster into the void that I was creating for myself.  Then I wrote on here, I through a piece of me that was so small and insignificant out into a world with much bigger problems to save what I had left of myself.  What I got was something that I had never expected.  Some of you cared, some of you liked the dark parts of my life because you were going through them too. I was no longer alone writing those crazy dark thoughts on paper, just me and my mind going insane.  Thank you, I am sure you can understand.  Who doesn’t want someone to care about them.    Who doesn’t want to feel special, we are human beings, we need it… I promise you I will be a better writer in the future, I will be more inspiring, just as much as y’all have to me. So here’s that other saying I have “If you have nothing to say, say nothing AND listen!”