America’s Daughters and Sons

by Anthony Ramirez

Poem


Keep a Grip

by James Janssen

Prose


You Were Our “Doc”

by Michael Kuklenski

Poem


Dark Horse

by William Snead

Poem


Let Life In

by kim gwinner

Poem


Passage of Solitude

by James Camera

Array


Coping With the Pain

By James Janssen, Navy

Writing Type: Prose


By James Janssen

 

Ever find yourself boxed into a corner knowing the usual coping skills are not working, finding it necessary to call the veterans suicide hotline?


Trauma, depression and other issues of life affect us in various ways. We use and sometimes exhaust our known personal coping skills and action plans to weather these storms, and in most all cases they work effectively.


But what about the hopefully rare instances when triggers grab us by the ying-yang, and without warning we find ourselves in trouble? It's like a strong wind that comes along and pushes us around. Utilizing all of our strength, we struggle to regain our balance. Worse yet, it can be like an unexpected tornado touching down with little time to escape. The options at this point become very limited. Perhaps we grab a metal flagpole nearby and desperately hang on. On such occasions the trauma can be quite serious, and a body is left wondering what if anything could possibly intervene to help relieve the severity of the situation.


As we are all aware, suicidal thoughts are one thing, but a plan of action to take our life is far more serious. We fight to stay short of nearing that line by any means possible.


My sweetheart and I had a serious falling out. She then took off and had been gone for two weeks. Her son and I became concerned for her safety since she had made noises of suicide ideation before leaving. My coping skills were wearing thin, and I couldn't sleep. I began calling the veterans suicide forum for support. Called the local sheriff. My desperation had escalated to stating that if anything did happen to her I would be gone.


I was searching Facebook, attempting to find any clues leading to where she might be. Not finding anything obvious, I just happened to notice her own friend listing. It only had two friends and she was one of them. The other was a blank picture with a man's name under it that I did not recognize. Her son told me she had known this guy for some time. I looked him up and found a history of him preferring married women for his relationships. Then I discovered they were in the same vicinity, although I had no exact address.


I immediately went into an uncontrollable rage, grabbed my gun and headed out to kill this man. I found out the town they were in, but that was all. While driving around, I kept thinking about what I was doing and began weighing the consequences of causing harm. I thought about my dad, who fought in World War II, and my service in Vietnam. We fought for freedom and the right to choose good and bad, right and wrong. I kept asking myself if crossing the line of my own beliefs would dishonor both my dad and myself along with ending my life.


I asked myself, "What are you doing?” It was in that instant I decided to return home, call the hotline and then call the sheriff to turn myself in. The sheriff said I had not broken any laws and told me to just stay home while seeking support.


What is my point here? What new coping skill am I referring to?  I had superimposed my desperate situation onto my principles and values as a human being, a man and a veteran. Those values of honor, duty and dedication MUST remain intact, not for the sake of myself but for the sake of honor and respect in my continued relationships with other people that I fought for and the great veterans that put their lives on the line.


So, I write this in the sincere hope that if life dumps a tornado on you, you have that flagpole to hang onto. We must go on no matter the cost. It is our duty and responsibility to set an example for others. True, I am suffering a big loss, but the scales are being tipped by the unsavory actions on her part.


Today I raise my head up high and march on to fight the next fight that life will send my way, but it will be with honor and dignity to uphold the true reasons we do what we do and will continue to do.

 

Cross on Calvary

by Lawrence Rahn

Painting


Board Games

by Penny Deere

Prose


America’s Daughters and Sons

by Anthony Ramirez

Poem


Broken Life, the Restoration

by Scott Sjostrand

Prose


Death's Door Knocking

by Lawrence Rahn

Poem


Dark Horse

by William Snead

Poem