They Never Die

15442119_280501495685800_492364730754975173_nMeditate for peace of mind. Meditate for inner calm, strength,and just breathe. We are going to survive this!

I often stay up late at night, going over in my mind my brother’s life. I am always haunted by one thing; how could I have helped  him sooner?

It is my demon, my struggle that I meditate on often. I sit in the silence of 3 am, and I try to listen for an answer. The only answer I hear is from deep within my soul that repeats itself daily, the voice is clear, and in my own voice. It repeats the mantra, help others.

I suppose I’m writing this to reach out to one grieving sibling, one grieving military family, just one person like me who needs the reassurance that they never truly die. We keep them alive, we keep the stories going, we are our brother/sisters keepers.

We honor them by serving others. Just a small random act of kindness is sufficient. I’m not here to preach you must start an organization , rather it’s just in the small everyday kind acts we can honor them. I will look beyond someone’s smile and always search for signs of pain. It is who I am now.

I often drive people crazy checking in on them and asking if they are really ok. When a friend calls drunk at 1 am, I’ll talk or text for hours to make sure they don’t feel alone.

I will always reach out. If I can survive, it keeps him alive.

As unsatisfying as it may seem, it perhaps is the only peace I’ll know of when thinking of my brother. I am filled with words. I hear and think of him as “the elite”, “airborne”, “rangers lead the way”, all these honorable and strong sounding words. But at 3 am they do nothing to dull the heartache of loss.

As strong as he was physically and mentally, something had him feeling less than what he was. He was funny, and a leader, and his smile was infectious.

It’s coming up on the 2 year mark of his death. My sisters and I talk, and grieve, and reminisce, but none of us have any answers. I don’t talk to my other brothers about it. There is too much pain there.

If only we knew his pain, if only we knew he was suffering silently. But in reality there were significant points in his life, that warranted concerns for help.

He was so brave, beyond his service. He was the shinning star in my family. A light so bright, you would never think it would burn out before his time. You couldn’t imagine someone like him dying.

When we were kids, I knew the magic he held. He was able to do anything. He was my idol, my hero, my protector.

Without him in the world, admittedly I’m lost.  I can’t help feeling my beautiful bright star has crashed and burned and turned my world upside down. I always felt safe at the end of the day, knowing my brother and those like him protected us. Perhaps it is why I no longer sleep like I once did.

I like many, often hope I awake from this nightmare. But it’s real, he is not coming back to “save me” from this. I have to save myself from this grief. I have to save just one person from feeling alone and hopeless.

He called me “Moose”, for my strength and bravery when I was just a wee one. He taught me to play hockey, drink beer and crush a beer can, and how to sneak out. He taught me chopsticks on the piano. He taught me to be strong in the face of fear. He taught me to hold my own. He always believed in me, and never said you are just a girl. He believed I could do anything. He never put limits on me. He taught me if I wanted something to go get it. He listened to me, and he always believed me. He could stop me from crying with one of his corny jokes. He could raise me up when I was bullied in school. He taught me courage.

He was wild and free, and I longed to be just like him. He was the life of every party.

Those years before he left for the Army, were the happiest of my childhood. After he entered service after high school, it was never the same again.

The military changed him for sure, in some ways the skills and leadership he learned were far superior to any education you could receive from college. Yet, there is something missing in this military life.

There is something these soldiers miss and it affects them tremendously.

Entering into a life of service is a difficult road for any family. You have pride, but you also live in fear of dreaded news. It’s unexplainable. The pride you feel is never comparable to the fear of loosing them.

I firmly believed he was going to live to be 110, out fishing every evening, and grilling his Fluke each night.

Summers are drenched in sadness now, as it was his leave time, and the few weeks a year we would see him. It was filled with trips to the beach, fishing, campfires, story telling and food.

The military can take you, train you to be the best, but abandon you when the soldier needs it’s help the most.

I watched the decline.  Not fully understanding the damage the institution did to him.

He was a lifer. He gave up his entre life to join the military, and in the end they left him alone, and fighting for his life.

In those last years, my anger sits in those who watched and did nothing.

He should have never died. He should be fishing with his kids and grandkids and telling campfire stories. He should be here now.

I talk and tell this story because it has destroyed lives. My parents will never be the same. Every birthday, anniversary, Veterans Day, is a dark cloud that hangs heavy over us. We are no longer the Driver 6. We are no longer able to close our eyes to the hurt and pain our military endures.

So when life kicks my ass, I take a breath, and I close my eyes and I let go. I meditate for him, for me, and for you. My intention is for peace of mind for you all.

Meditation can bring you closer to your inner peace, a spiritual closeness to the ones we lost. Let it be a path to give you access to see them again and make peace with the thoughts that keep you up at 3 am! It takes practice to be still in a world full of motion.

You will come to find when emotion overwhelms you, meditation will ground you again. You will be able to lift your hurt heart up and help others heal!

In peace ,warmth, love and light,


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