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Military Biography: April
Military Biography: April
If I could pick a color to describe the beginning of April 2009, it would be blue. Not the baby blue, or even blue-green hues but more of a black and blue. Never in my life had I lost a loved one that was close to me. Granted my great grandparents died when I was a wee lad but I wasn’t as close to them. I still miss them but a grandmother is a more profound loss.
The world moves on though and to me it seemed like the Claritin™ commercials where people are walking around in a haze. That’s how I felt. Anyway, I had to put on my Sergeant face during work, but after work I would escape into my room to be consoled in my solace. I would pass the time on the internet but would then shut it off five minutes later. I guess I was searching for comfort from an e-mail, one from my wife or anybody, but I never got one. So then I would read a book, or listen to music, or watch a movie I’d seen a hundred times. Several mornings I would wake up with a damp pillow.
My wife and I would talk once per week, and one day I made a mistake. It was still early in the month, when we had a huge fight. It was the fight to end all fights I think. We stopped talking and decided to call it quits. Again I fell into a pit of despair and self loathing and my friends—real friends that were also co-workers, counseled me to “Chin up. Everything will be ok again.” I didn’t believe a word they said.
I couldn’t let what was happening in my personal life effect my professional life though, so I wore my mask of outward calm while inside a tempest was brewing. I could feel my control slipping. I’m the kind of guy that deals with emotion in terms of anger and every now and again the demon within would gain control and say some mean and hurtful things to my Soldiers. Everyone knew I was in constant turmoil emotionally but they were afraid to say anything to me. Until one day my boss came up to me and said, “We need to talk.”
Into his office we went. This was a preconceived plan, the evidence was unmistakable. One chair faced two and in one chair sat the shop foreman who was holding a pad of paper and a pen. My boss took the other chair and instructed me to sit in the remaining chair. I did as instructed and so began the counseling session.
“We’ve noticed some changes in you lately. Your performance hasn’t slipped at all but the manner in which you’ve been speaking to people is far from normal. It seems like the death of your grandmother has hit you pretty hard and you’re having a hard time dealing with it. Is this a fact?” My boss asked.
“Yes, partially.” I said
“Can you explain that for me?” he asked.
“It’s not just my grandma’s passing, but my wife and I are having a really rough time and may not make it. I sit alone in my room at night and think of all the things I could have done differently to prevent this but come up with nothing. I get up to come out here and have to pretend like nothing is wrong just so my Soldiers won’t see me as weak.”
“Sgt Cox…the Soldiers know that you are having a hard time emotionally. They all love you and are concerned about you, as are we.”
*I feel the lump forming in my throat now. It’s large and hard to swallow. I fight not to show my pain. My eyes are hot and I feel the heat throughout my body. It starts in my head and shoots down like being washed with fire.*
“Look, I understand how hard loss is Sergeant” my shop foreman adds “I’ve lost a grandparent recently too. When I did it took me some time to get over the mourning.”
*The lump still inhabits my throat and soon I feel what I was trying to hold run a track down my face. It traced a tickling line to my chin. Now the embarrassment became real.*
They sat there uncomfortable while I let out some of my sorrow and patiently waited while I regained control of myself.
Once I was again under control of myself my boss asked, “Do you have any hobbies or extra curricula’s you like to do?”
“Yeah, I read and I like to write. I also used to go to the gym and work-out.”
“Oh yeah, like ‘Bobocop’?”
That elicited a laugh out of me. I had started to write a story about a soldier who was wounded in Iraq, experimented on with telekinetic drugs, and given cybernetic limbs like Star Wars limbs. I effectively lost the whole story I had written when my computer crashed early on in the deployment. When I told my boss about the story and a summary, he laughed and said it sounded like “Robocop”, and told me I should name it “Bobocop” though just to be sure.
“Yeah like Bobocop. I lost that story though. Maybe I’ll write a new one and call it Bar Wars or something. It’ll be about an intergalactic bar fight with cool space ships and warriors with special abilities.”
Well that got both of my bosses laughing and by the end of our counseling session I felt better. Sometimes it’s important to discover, when you’re having a hard time that people care about you.
The rest of that shift went pretty well and when I closed up shop I went into my room and fired up the old Microsoft Office ® program. I started a novel that was very interesting to me and the words flew, soon the story started to unfold itself. I didn’t get to work on it every night but I did for the remaining two weeks of April. I wrote in it probably every other night.
In the third week of April I received a package from my wife. In this package I got my birthday card, a card from my daughters, some treats, the pens I asked for two months ago and my reboot disk for the computer. I already purchased a new installation disk for Vista® so those disks were a little too late to do me any good. I also went on Amazon.com and purchased two books, and I purchased a printer for my job.
In the last week of April we had a section barbeque. What started out to be a small gathering ended up being the whole platoon, plus some of the members of other platoons, and companies. We had more than enough food to go around. We tossed the football, and played my favorite sport—baseball.
This month started out to be the worst month ever. It ended on a higher note than it started but I wasn’t out of the woods yet. I mourned my grandmother’s passing but still had no closure. My marriage ending is what was killing me. I was on a rollercoaster ride that I couldn’t get off. They say that April showers bring May flowers, hopefully that is true. Find out in the next installment of the Military Biography.
If you've missed the previous installments of The Military Biographies read here.
© 2010 by Wesley Cox. All rights reserved. Copying without permission is illegal and will be prosecuted.