The world is hugged by faithful arms of volunteers -Terri Guillemets
With walls and ceilings and floors and plaster, dripping and collapsing, and giant equipment dragged into my home to suck out the water, it had done me in. It was time to face a different kind of reality, a reality that could suck the life out of you if you let it.
He laid on his side and never stopped petting Kelsie on the top of her head, under her chin and on her shoulders. The diversion and conversation seemed to help him, but his time with Kelsie provided a definite morale booster. We visited about his dogs he had had in his past and what they had meant to him....the love they shared....and the tremendous bond they had had together. One of those bonds where nothing else is needed or important. Each reading the others thoughts and feelings, the dog he had 'once upon a time' had almost come back to life in the moments spent with him in his room. As we left, he had a smile on his face and a most gracious thank you for us taking our time to spend with him.
A male nurse was in the room with him, as we quietly knocked and asked if it was a good time to enter. As Kelsie and I walked into the room, we saw a young man beaming from ear to ear. Lying on top of the sheets, it was all too clear that he had lost both legs and an arm. He kept smiling and using his one remaining limb, pulled himself into a seated position in the center of his bed. I pulled a chair close to the bed, covered the seat with Kelsie's red, white and blue flannel blanket and gave her the 'up' command. She got into the chair and B. was able to reach her with his one arm, while balancing on his trunk.
B. told us that he hated having someone look at him and tell him they were sorry this had happened to him. He spoke of telling his friends and family what had happened to him at the time of the blast and the look in their faces told him everything he needed to know and everything they did not need to know. Sympathy, pity, and that 'deer in the headlights' kind of look was not wanted or necessary or remotely helpful. He said, "A simple thank you would be sufficient. And that really isn't needed. I would do it all again, if I had to. It was my job." Right then and there I realized what all our heroes fight for...what it means to them...and what, and how, it should translate down to us, but rarely does.
Later that afternoon I read a posting on TADSAW's facebook page reaffirming exactly what I had heard from B.
"What non service members need to understand is that we as service members are willing to protect your family as we protect our own. It is not something that we want credit or commendations for, as much as acknowledgement that we did our job, and now we may need a little help. Pity is the most useless of emotions ~ inside we are who we are regardless of how war has left our outside appearance, or our ability to deal with certain situations. At our core we would still fight for what we believe...please give us something to believe in."
Please give us something to believe in. Please give us something to believe in. The words still reverberate in my head to this day and I doubt will ever escape my thoughts. Please give us something to believe in.
You hear over and over again that this is our purpose...helping others. But how many of us actually do it? How many of us ever stop thinking of ourselves and our own issues and broken water heaters long enough to even care about anyone else? How many of us love people we have never met? How many of us, despite others trying to demolish the good we do, continue forward helping others...for the right reasons. Not to just to get your name posted on the 'I did something great for someone else list."
The nurse came in and B. indicated he was having a 'little pain' and needed his medicine. We packed up our bag and I kissed him on the cheek and said 'thank you'. He said that before we left he had to show us something. He struggled to turn himself toward his bedside table to reach his telephone. He, with great pride, shared a video of himself, doing one armed push ups. To his knowledge, he was the only triple amputee that had ever done this.
There is my Saturday! Please next time you see a wounded warrior, simply say thank you. It will mean everything to them. And smile and treat them like a friend. For who could ever have a better friend?