We lost one of our own to himself. I didn’t know him, but that didn’t matter. I still felt the loss. Many of us have. But the odd thing, everyone deals with it in their own way. Some don’t talk about it, others say it’s tragic, some make jokes, and others just ponder why. Given the pain and suffering we go through every day, I don’t believe anyone thinks he was weak.
The circumstances surrounding it are well known. Tragic as they are, it’s hard for everyone to stop with what they are doing. The days are so long and difficult here, everyone fights their own personal struggle and to hear something like this, you feel badly, but you have to keep working to keep yourself strong. We check each other. Ask about home, wives, girlfriends, families. We go out together after our long weeks in the field and laugh about the misery we were in, knowing it will only intensify as the weeks go on. We lie in the cold at night and shiver together. It’s only training, so everyone knows that it will eventually end. And it makes it easier, but it’s not in that same respect. The laws of relativity apply. And it’s why I feel we lost one. The moment of pure pain was greater then the long term happiness.
With everything I have been taught and experienced, it was disheartening to hear the news because I knew the sad truth: It’s an up-hill battle. The mental anguish and physical stress take their toll on everyone. We all struggle in our own right, and we all are so tough. We hide the bitter pain. We may open up about the stress, but not one of us wants to appear weak. And when that happens, all is lost in the mind of the fallen.
I sit here now, having been on both sides of the fence, staring into the eyes of those around me, knowing the sad truth: we are all such pure warriors, we will fight to the bitter end and that surrender is not a word in our vocabulary – but the act that was done is surrender.
It makes me sad to know that this has happened. I know there was nothing I could have done, but seeing the reality of it, I know I must start watching those around me just a little bit closer.
One day, that surrender may come to one I know.