As human beings we all make mistakes. I've seen so many suffer at the hands of what they believe are their own mistakes, but what if the things that have happened to each of us, mistakes or not, are all part of what helps us to tap into who we are? What if these things are steering a boat that we don't realize we are on? What if we find out we are the captain of the ship and can call the shots on how the mission moves forward?
I've sat with troops who have admitted the worst of themselves. Women and men who blame themselves for the horrors of the world or worse, blaming themselves for not being able to stop those who are creating the horrors of the world............and somehow feel they've contributed to it because of that. These are deeply held wounds that they do not let go of easily, if at all. Some have even felt they deserved the pain they are living with.
PTSD is not moral injury, but it can include it. Remember that PTSD is characterized by the re-experiencing phenomenon. Is it possible to suffer from moral injury and not have PTSD? I suppose that is a question for the troops and the medical profession, I don't know the answer to that, but it is worth pondering.
But what I do know is that I've also spent some time with troops with terminal illnesses. I've had some down-to-Earth real life conversations about their concern for the world, their passion for the mission, and their desire to not leave us in vain, but in the hope that their contribution to the world mattered, even just a little bit to the betterment of society and to the helping of even a small population of people...........maybe even one person.....for some one child.
Let's keep these troops and all of our Fallen in mind this Memorial Day. We honor them best, not by continuing our suffering, but by making their sacrifice something that matters. They wouldn't want us to give up the mission to serve, protect, and most importantly to heal and support each other. They gave their lives for us and I venture to think they wouldn't have had it any other way. Thank you to each of them for their bravery and with their families we mourn, but together we will heal, and do our best to keep others from becoming our Fallen too soon.
Our troops coming home are stepping up not only to conquer the stigma of the wounds they carry, but to also honor those that have been lost. They are making changes in how they face the war at home and they are succeeding. I see it in the many veterans who are taking part in organizations where they are banding together to say PTSD and wounds don't win. We vowed not to live in fear in a nation that is free and that means not living in the fear that lurks within ourselves too. Honor each other. Support each other. Salute your Fallen brothers and sisters and vow not to let the fear of what you've been through take over. One step at a time we will pull back the layers of this veil and realize that the human condition exists within all of us...........there is no more "crazy" for being a living, feeling, being. You are the captain of this ship and with that, you get to steer the course of your life. Don't fear the rough waters, you've navigated much worse. You've got this.