Yesterday, I wrote a post and in it I stated I felt disdain concerning certain facets of my life. As the fifteenth anniversary of Fallujah looms closer, I find myself sinking lower into self-loathing. Generally, I am easy going.  I suppose my self-loathing is stirred up by memories of Fallujah, or perhaps, it is brought on by retiring too young. Either way, I find myself being disgusted by being here on this planet.

No doubt this emotion will become stronger as the days of infamy draw closer. It is a difficult thing to live with a disability but lack the scars so others can see the disability. My scars are on my brain. Unless you own a portable MRI machine, chances are you won’t see them. As I went through the medical board process, my doctor kindly informed me of my scars.

“Freeman, your entire brain is nothing but scar tissue. You will never be well again. Whereas most epilepsy affects one part of the brain, your entire brain is one big seizure playground. There is nothing we can do but treat it with medication.”

What a great way to start your retirement. It was said with so little emotion, I wondered if my doctor was a zombie. She had the bedside manner of a chainsaw at a castration party. I don’t want to be mean; my doctor took care of me. She always made sure I understood what was happening. The truth is this: I didn’t want to understand what was going on. In the middle of losing everything I had worked my whole life for, it felt like I was blindsided by some unseen opponent intent on my destruction. It still feels that way after eight years. Today marks eight years of divorce, it still pains me after all this time.

Sorry for running down that rabbit trail.

Scars tell a story. For example, on my left hand there is a scar between my index finger and thumb, where I had a #2 wrench driven into the flesh while working construction. On my left index finger there is a scar where I wrecked my truck and a shard of glass sliced the flesh. Each scar has a memory attached. The scars on my brain also tells a story. It tells a story of a young man from Mississippi who believed fervently in the righteousness of the war in the Middle East. “No one should be allowed to use our aircraft as weapons to take American lives.” The story includes being blown up and receiving four Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) in a ten-month period.

There is always more to the story, but the above description will suffice.

We are all told emotional scars will heal with time. After eight years, I must say I disagree with this statement. Pain is a remarkable teacher. The lessons brought on by pain are not easily forgotten. At some point, I think the pain may lessen, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. I don’t know if I will ever fully trust another person with my heart or if I will ever decide trying again is a worthwhile endeavor. I hope I do. It would be a shame to live a long life and have no one to share it with.

We will see what happens.

18 October 2019

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