PTSD, Living, What is important

Live a Lot Differently

I wrote this article over a year ago and shared it with a few people then. It was at the end of 2016 which was a dark year for me fraught with horrible detours and paralyzing emotional pain.

At the time, I had already lost my Dad to cancer, divorced, retired from law enforcement, and attempted to start new at life and reinvent myself.

And…nothing I set out to do worked out in my time frame.

Yet, I am grateful for where I am at in life now and for all the ugly detours I encountered because through it all I learned much about myself; who I am and who I’m not, and the things that matter most in life.

What matters most in life can become lost in the haze of work, bills, schedules, gossip, drama, meetings, and crappy people taking advantage of you or those trying to keep you corralled through fear and guilt.

Rarely do we come up for air, take a breath, and look around at the landscape of our lives to take honest inventory until our mortality knocks.

So, here is a post I want to share and I pray it touches you as it did me when I wrote it…


Bill Watterson, I hope you don’t mind me using your comic to make a point. It just fits. Fits the dimensions for the cover photo. Fits with what has kept me up all night.

It’s 2 am right now. Arrrgh. I can’t sleep.

Hard to train a night owl to be an early bird. I’m trying to change…a lot of things. I hope you’re more successful at change than I am. I fall short of my goals sometimes. It can be frustrating.

I’m house sitting for my friends right now. Beautiful house. Laying in bed, I can gaze out at the stars and wonder. Probably too much wondering that leads to too much wandering through the space between my ears.

My mind thinks of random things like this comic. Then, it thinks of some other things…

***

I was a cop for a long time. Two different departments, same human nature. I worked a lot of night shifts.

One night, my partner and I got a frantic 9-1-1 call. Two roommates arguing, in the middle of the night…of course, it’s in the middle of the night.

Well, one decided he had enough of the arguing, pulled out a large handgun, shoved it into his roommate’s head and said, “I’m going blow your fucking head off!”

Terrorized roommate managed to escape with his head intact.

Now standing on the street in the snow and ice, cold as whatever; he stood in his shorts and waited. He was standing there when we arrived.

My partner was speaking to him on the roadway. I had my rifle out, loaded, and pointed at the house. I’d been through the drill a hundred times before: we will either go in to confront this dude, or he’ll come out to us.

He decided to come out…

Mad, cursing, and waving his hands, he began to stomp right toward us. I shouted for him to stop. Then I saw his left hand.

The red and blue lights from our vehicles danced off of everything. Red and blue sparkles on the trees, the house, the snow, his face…and, his left hand, which held a large, black object.

I screamed, “Drop it, or I’ll shoot!”

He cursed some more as he flung his arms around. He kept walking, now toward me.

You know what’s scary? The power. Society handed me the power to take this man’s life if need be.

I’m a trained professional, honestly, my rifle didn’t waver once. Steady as a rock, I took another deep breath, this was it. One more step and I’m gonna drop this guy.

One more desperate plea. I shouted, but it came out more like a growl. I used a lot of adult language with the added measure of what I was about to do to him without a bump in my pulse. Yes, I was that dead inside.

Amazing…he stopped. He finally dropped…his very large, black cell phone from his left hand.

That man and I would see each other occasionally after that encounter. He never addressed me by my name. He called me sergeant Godzilla. I’m a little guy; probably because I growled at him.

He thanked me several times for not shooting him that night. I am thankful I didn’t either.

Funny, in a mixed-up sort of way, I had the power to take, and give life at that moment.

***

I sit here at 3 am now, watching the waning moon rise over the mountains. Reminds me of another call at the beginning of my career…

A small boy, who hung himself, a suicide. I have no idea what was going on in a ten-year-old’s mind that would cause him to wrap a belt around his neck from his bunk bed. It still baffles me.

I did CPR on that little boy for thirty-two minutes. When you’re a sheriff’s deputy in a rural area, an ambulance can seem to take forever. Your backup can take forever.

For twenty minutes, the mother jumped up and down, beating my back with her fists and screaming, “You’re not doing enough to save my baby!” until my partner arrived on scene and wrapped her up in a bear hug.

I don’t blame her.

I was sore for a few days after that. To this day I still can’t eat certain foods because of that call, heck I didn’t eat much for a week afterward.

Some say I have PTSD, who knows, maybe. I don’t know for sure.

I remember a paramedic pulling me off the boy. I didn’t want him to die. I thought I could save him. I couldn’t.

***

I’ve seen some die…who should have lived. I’ve seen some live…who should have died.

I truly pray you never have to see or experience anything like that…ever!

I wonder, watching the stars tonight, that if we pondered how short of a time we have here if we would live differently.

I know we have bills to pay, food to buy, and all of that. But what is important to you?

Does work come before someone we love? What are our priorities? When is the last time we’ve considered such a question?

We, you, me, and those we love; are all here for a very short time. We just don’t know when that last breath will come. So till then, till that time, please do me a favor?

Call the one you love and tell them you love them. Carve out some time, out of your day, your evening, your life, and give it to the ones you love.

Hug your One and look them in the eyes and tell them, “I love you.”

Kiss them. Make passionate love to them.

If you find yourself alone. Hug yourself, tell yourself you’re worth it. Tell yourself, “I love you.” And someday very soon, you’ll find someone to love…who will honor you, and adore you.

I believe this.

It’s time for bed now. I’m gonna give myself a hug. Tell myself, “I love you.”

And gaze out at the stars and pray that none of us miss another opportunity to love.


Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Posted by Christian Martin Jr.