Hi, my fraternal brothers.
My brother, Mark.
Back in August '10, this old boy was sitting on the patio on a hot Texas morning. I was working in the heat & stopped for a drink & a bit of rest in the shade. I was having flashbacks while I was working but tried to ignore it.
I'm sitting in a rocker on the patio, all of a sudden I felt very tired, could hardly keep my eyes open, my breathing was shallow & my heart seemed like it was hardly beating.
A voice came into my mind, telling me Pete, we're too old (71), we're too tired, we're hurting real bad, and it's too tough for us to handle. It's taking too much of our physical & mental health. Pull the plug Pete, end our pain & shame forever. Then I came back into the real world, what in the hell is going on with me? Never in my life had I ever had those kinds of feelings. It seemed like a fleeting thought, not lasting more that perhaps a minute or two.I tried to ground myself. I tried to concentrate on my upcoming WoR at Alta a month away.
Exactly 2 weeks to the day, I was driving to the post office when those voices came back to my conscious mind. But this time they were not fleeting thoughts,I could not shake them, my heart started to beat like a drum, I was shaking,those memories were flooding my mind, I started tearing up, I was headed for an mental breakdown, I pulled over into a rest area in town as I was too far gone mentally to safely drive any further. Those voices we're not going to just fade away. Fortunately I have OnStar in my pickup, through all those other voices came another drowning out the others, it was my inner child, young Pete, telling me to make the most important telephone call in your life. I could hardly move, let alone see the button for the OnStar connection. I had in my pickup the VA hot line mental clinic telephone number. I asked the operator to please connect me as I'm in deep trouble, she did & a calming voice started talking to me, slowly getting me calmed down & grounded. She asked me if I am capable of driving, I told her not at that moment, well do you think that you would be able to drive a bit later after you have calmed down? I think so. Well OK, Pete get here as fast as you can, safely. Check into the mental health clinic & a doctor will be waiting for you. I checked both of us in. Both of us?? Yes sir as my inner child told me to come here, the big guy was thinking of harming himself, ending our pain, because he was too old, it hurt too much. I've (young Pete) has survived for these past 69 1/2 years alone, in the depths of hell. And after just one year in consciously trying to work through all of this in therapy, HE, THOUGHT IT WAS TOO TOUGH, He was thinking of ending it all.
The little guy during our lock up came back to me, telling me in no uncertain terms that he is ashamed of the big guy.
Hey, I got us to 69 1/2 years, thought it was time that you would like to know about me, and why we have lived our life the way that we have. Big Pete, my 69 1/2 years to your one, too tough, big guy? I'm ashamed of you, come on old man, we have some living to do.
Yes, Mark, you've been down this road also, i'm sure. Our up's and downs.Our deep pain, guilt & shame. Our triumphs & failures. Our emotional & mental swings. Doubting if we will ever reach that ever elusive goal of becoming that SURVIVOR.
When I got my inner child back in '08 at that WoR in Georgia.
I held on to him for dear life, I hugged & kissed him, told him that he was always a good boy. I told him that I will never let you go. Then I made a solemn vow to him..and I repeat it almost in every post that I make here & in PM's.
"I will take that lost boys hand, and I will lead him from the depths of darkness, into the sunshine, forever into eternity." As HE is ME.
Has that vow been easy to keep? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Like you, my brother Mark, we second guess & doubt ourselfs quite often. That goal line keeps moving. We want to give up. But, that little boy is depending on us, there are times when I think that he should lead as I make some pretty emotional & mental mistakes in dealing with this.
Once again, young Pete extends to his young brother Mark, his compassion, understanding, hope & love, in staying the course.
Once again, big Pete, extends to his hurting brother, Mark, his compassion, understanding, hope & love and the courage to stay the course.
We can do no less for that young boy within us as HE is US.
Heal well, my brothers, heal well.
Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.