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It’s Too Late For Prevention But I Don’t Think It’s Too Late For The Cure

Posted Jun 16 2008 7:04pm

Why must you always be around?

Why can’t you just leave it be?

It’s done nothing so far but destroy my life

You cause as much sorrow dead

As you did when you were alive”

SINEAD O’CONNORYou Cause As Much Sorrow

I worked the graveyard shift Saturday night. As I’ve mentioned before, I work with mostly men. A few of them are veterans, and hearing them tell their stories, if they even can, and seeing the consequences they are dealing with now as a result of seeing more violence in a few years than anyone should ever have to face in a lifetime is heartbreaking. One man told me not to come up behind him; he can’t handle it. I’ve tried to walk heavily when I am entering an area he’s working in. He told me of working as a medic in the combat zones and trying to come to terms with losing 80% of his men. He told me of shooting them with morphine when they were hit and holding their hands as they died because, as he put it, “no one should have to die alone out there.” I asked him if he was treating a fellow soldier with a fatal wound and that man asked if he was dying if he told them the truth, or no. He said he always told them they were going to make it, no matter what.

Another veteran soldier tells no stories, ever. He shakes his head “No” and walks away slowly. I wonder how they feel about the people who drive around with yellow ribbon stickers making statements “I Support Our Troops”. I know that they received training that they could parlay into other jobs but they hide on night shifts and don’t use their GI Bill for college, not yet anyway.

A couple of them have erupted at work, showing anger and frustration by throwing things, swearing, yelling. Me being me, with my own issues; I get scared when this happens. Saturday night when one man blew up I moved away quickly and tried to work in a far away area. There’s a new woman on the maintenance crew; she was on her first night. I was trying to breathe through a panic attack and fighting the urge to run out the door when she came up to me and asked, “What man did that to you in your life, made you afraid like that when someone yells?”I was a bit taken aback. We’d only been introduced once and her name had slipped out of my head as soon as I heard it.

“Your Daddy?” she pushed, and I just nodded, not wanting her to think I am in an abusive relationship now. She nodded back and smiled. “It’s gonna be O.K.”, she said as she walked away.

Later on we were all sitting outside on the patio chilling out and relaxing at the end of our shift. I decided to tell my coworker that it had scared me when he blew up like that. He looked surprised and then sad. “I’m sorry! Sometimes I just need to let off a little steam and then I am fine.” I nodded, but I felt better having said my truth.

The conversation switched to Father’s Day and everyone reminded everyone else, “Call your Dad and tell him I love you and thank you!” I remained silent. The woman whose name escapes me said, “My father is deceased, thank you very much.” She glanced over at me and asked, “You too?” I nodded in the affirmative and she asked me how old I was when it happened.

“Twelve”, I answered, “I usually call my Mom and wish her a Happy Father’s Day but she’s out of town this year.”

“Me too! I call my Momma on Father’s Day too!” and then she rose and sat right down beside me, pulling out her cell phone. She texted her Mom so I could see, “Happy Father’s Day, Momma. I love you.” and the reply came quickly. “Thank you baby. I love you too. Signed Daddy Momma”

As she picked up her belongings and prepared to leave she told me, “Every bit of fathering I needed I got from my Daddy Momma, even before he died when I was 17.”

I know what she means and even though my Mom is in Australia right now and I have no way of calling her because she’s traveling about the country I sent her an email when I got home from work on the off chance she might stop into an internet café or something. It took me a few years, but I’ve finally been able to convince my Mom that she can check her email from anywhere in the world. She thought that it lived inside of her computer only.

***

Thank you all for your wonderful dessert ideas and opinions. I printed everything out and I look forward to getting back into the kitchen to try out some new recipes. I get bored making the same old things every night so hopefully getting to play around with the dessert specials will help. The comments that even took the time to say sweet things about me and my writing were a pleasant surprise. Maybe I should ask you all for advice more often. Do you think that now that I have hit the ripe age of 35 I should cut my hair above my shoulders? What about the color? Continue to get it highlighted at a salon even though I can only afford to do it once a year and I always have roots, or go back to doing it at home the way I did when I was in my teens and twenties?

***

One last thing, before I go. For those of you who have been following my stories, ChefHisName called and offered me a job. I actually considered it for a second because it would be a Mon.-Fri. day shift, but it’s several dollars less an hour and the benefits aren’t as good. Plus, and this really sealed the deal, the job was as a breakfast cook and the thought of cooking eggs for 200+ people every morning is more than I can stomach. It was nice to learn that he wasn’t just feeding me a line of bullshit when he said he’d keep me in mind for another position.

 

 

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