Monday, March 2, 2015

Officer Wounded In Action, Survives

I apologize for my long absence.  As some of you know, I’ve been largely off-line due to the circumstances arising from my abrupt departure from Post, U.S. Embassy Lima, following the dissolution of my 16 year marriage.  It’s been a painful and stressful time, much harder than I imagined, which is saying something as for weeks, from early October through the new year, I felt like a badly wounded animal caught in a leg-trap and slowly bleeding to death.  There were nights, even whole week-ends, where I paced the floor of my Lima apartment, trying to figure out how to make things right, how to fix what was broken, how to put our little family, which I had thought of and still think of as a force for good, as a beacon and a shelter, back together.  And there were other nights where the doctor’s medicine put me to sleep for as much as 18 hours at a stretch.  Whole days blurred together, as I vaguely noticed if it was day or night by the light on my window shades.  

Finally, I was sent  home, which was embarrassing but not uncommon given the circumstances.  “You’re certainly not the first officer this has happened to, not by a long shot, and the most important thing to do now is to take care of your family and to heal, the Department will be fine without you for a little bit,” was what I heard from my superiors and other interested parties.   I went home, healed up and, after hours of discussion with my wife, I realize now, deeply, that she has already taken the mental step away from me and there is no going back.  Our children are handling it reasonably well, though what lurks beneath the surface is sometimes difficult to tell. 

The situation brought to mind a song I hadn’t heard in years:  Billy Bragg’s cover of a Smith’s song called “Jeane”.

Jeane
The low-life has lost its appeal
And I'm tired of walking these streets
To a room with a cupboard bare

Jeane
I'm not sure what happiness means
But I look in your eyes
And I know that it isn't there

We tried, we failed
We tried, and we failed
We tried, and we failed
We tried, and we failed
We tried

It’s a devastating realization as one approaches one’s 50th birthday that the central piece of work of one’s life has failed.  As I discovered when my sister died of cancer, there is an underground community of men who have had this happen to them.   As with those who lost close family members to cancer, it’s a quiet community that largely bears the injury more or less stoically, and while the tales differ in the details, the themes remain the same. 

It’s been a small comfort, but a comfort nonetheless, to be welcomed into this fraternity.  I’ve found that with certain people, including my new boss, I don’t need to explain this or that; they already know it all, and know how things played out and will likely go. 

On reflection, I think that this life outcome is unjust and can only be borne, not corrected.  I now live alone, without the love and laughter of my own children, who I see on week-ends, and I send them a check every two weeks. 

The sun is still shining, and no one has died.  But something good in this world has passed, for reasons I don’t fully understand and never will.  Onward, of necessity.

16 comments:

  1. Well, I'm not in a community of men but I am sorry to hear all you've been going through, Kevin. I wondered what was happening with you. Hang in there, friend, I'm saying a prayer for your peace of mind and serenity.

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    1. Thanks, Florrie, I appreciate it. I could use some peace of mind.

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  2. "I now live alone, without the love and laughter of my own children, who I see on week-ends,"

    The love and laughter of your children will be with you every weekend. Savour and treasure it, they will.

    Time heals, it may seem trite to say that but most of us have suffered greatly and survived.

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    1. Time heals, it may seem trite to say that but most of us have suffered greatly and survived.

      Word.

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    2. Thanks, Fay, and I will. We have plans made already for this week-end and I found a late night email from my oldest telling me how much he misses me and is looking forward to it. It's a nice way to start the day.

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  3. Kevin, I'm so sorry for your loss. Sometimes a death is easier to bear than losing the vision and security of what you assumed your life, and your future, would be. Did that make sense?

    Anyway, don't crawl in a hole my friend. Get out there and be a part of as many communities as you can (including here). Loneliness sucks, and I don't recommend it. Anytime you need a good laugh, we're here. Joyful camaraderie is the best medicine!

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  4. Thanks, Lady Red, and don't worry, I'm not planning on crawling into any holes just yet. Just yesterday on the way home I took the plunge and started a conversation with a pretty woman struggling with a suitcase, and it turns out she works for Interior. We're meeting for coffee tomorrow. I'm down, but not out. Not yet, anyway.

    Funny you should mention the comparison with dealing with death, as I've been doing a lot of that lately. When my sister died, there was no appeal, no way out of dealing with the situation. With this situation, there is another person out there who could end this with a changed mind. I have found that that has had the effect of keeping the matter in crisis mode, "freezing time," so to speak.

    I know I'm not alone. The number of wounded people out there, men and women, is much higher than people think. Nor do I think my situation is anything exceptional or that it entitles me to permanent victim status.

    I'm just sad. As you say, it was something I was counting on, my legacy and my future both. But time does wonders, I agree. It's already working a little of its magic.

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  5. imgw:"http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d170/lewy14/meme/disregard-females-acquire-currency_zpspblxbivy.jpg"

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  6. imgw:"http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d170/lewy14/meme/Disregard_a2148a_1975928_zpsp6bp3ygy.jpg"

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  7. imgw:"http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d170/lewy14/meme/3661872_f520_zpsb4rlxmdq.jpg"

    ReplyDelete
  8. imgw:"http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d170/lewy14/meme/81lsUje_zpsuhfm2d6y.jpg"

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    1. Lewy, LMAO!!! Great job! :)) :)) :))

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  9. Replies
    1. thanks flo, but it's the internet which is too much.

      Too much wisdom!

      I spent some time browsing memes to cheer up Jourdan and found beaucoup good stuff...

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  10. lewy, that is some awesome meme-fu, and deeply appreciated. LOL

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