Read a small sampling of meaningful stories and poems written by outpatient and hospitalized veterans recently published in Veterans’ Voices.
by Dorothy Remo
VA Media Center, San Antonio, TX
Typist: Lee Torres
What is it like to think you might be crazy or acting crazy when nothing is certain? Everything has turned so different. I’m looking at my world from a distant place where I’m not participating, no interacting.
My thoughts have blown up–they are so big and consume all my time. Are there aliens in the corner? I want to ask someone. It looks like there are buy my eyes can’t see clearly. I can’t ask because no one is paying attening to what’s happening, to what I’m seeing and feeling.
Everything that is…. Read more in the Spring 2015 issue of Veterans’ Voices magazine.
By Charles Corley, Jr.
VA Medical Center — Hines, IL
We have come together because there is no easy
way. We are searching step-by-step for a way and a
language: a way to see ourselves clearly and a language
to give and receive the love that is hidden
somewhere in each of us.
There are everywhere, blind streets and dead end
alleys, but together we are building an open road.
Bad choices do not account for failures, but only for
mistakes; and the only mistakes which count permanently
are not so much errors, as our willingness to
be defeated by them. The most pitiful thing is a man
or woman who thinks he or she has nothing more
to learn. For although there is not a man or woman
exempt from guilt or dishonesty, there are some who
love their guilt and dishonesty.
Warriors, this house is only brief shelter along
the way. My brothers and sisters can only extend a
hand and I am only a possibility. For what we are,
we have chosen to be; and because we choose, we
are responsible. So long as we only wait for something
to happen, time will be a thief and hope a crook.
Remember warriors, there is only one kind of magic and that is doing! ■
Writing Aide: Scott Buckley
Typist: Pat Kranzow
By Kay Baluta
VA Medical Center — Wilkes-Barre, PA
I didn’t know he was dying as I held him in my arms.
His eyes were closed and he repeated over and over, “Ma,
what color it is?” Not knowing what he meant I simply
replied, “I don’t know Mike. I don’t know.” He opened his
eyes and they rolled to the back of his head. My son Mike
had died in my arms.
To this day, those mystifying words ring in my ears.
Was the light leading him to heaven or was it God himself
coming to take my boy home?
Mike left this earth after his wife left him for her boss,
a psychiatrist. She was also one of his patients and suffered
from extreme anxiety. Then, Mike overdosed on
the pain medication he was taking for a herniated disc.
He also drank and drank himself to death. He gave up; he
just couldn’t cope. Ironically, his ex-wife died the same
way with a broken heart at the same age Mike was when
he died. Now they are together forever soaring in the
Mike’s death broke my heart and I sigh with every
breath. Although, it won’t be long until I see my precious
son again. At the age of 90, I’m on my way out. I only hope
Mike hears me when I call his name so we can meet, allowing
our souls to float together in the heavenly skies. ■
Typist: Amie Dorney
I’m From Kansas
By Michael L. Daniel
VA Medical Center — Kansas City, MO
I was raised in Leavenworth, Kan., but I was living in Columbus, Ga. One spring, a friend and I went to Ft. Benning in observance of Armed Forces Day. It just happened that I had on a large Stetson. One of the vendors noticed it and yelled “Hey dude! Where you from? Texas?”
“Naw,” I said, “I’m from Kansas.”
Then, the vendor said,” “Oh, I know somebody from Kansas; maybe you might know her. Her name is Dorothy.”
I thought of all the Dorothys’ I knew. “Was it this one or that one?” I asked myself.
“Naw.” The vendor said, “She had a little dog.” So now I thought of all the Dorothys
with dogs, still to no avail. “Her dog’s name was Toto,” added the vendor.
H-m-m-m-m: Dorothy, Toto.
“A-w-w-w-w-h.” I finally got the joke.
By now a crowd had gathered. They all had a good laugh, as did I. The vendor gave me free beer the rest of the day.
Writing Aide/Typist: Karen M. Iverson
Hooray, Veterans’ Voices Magazines
VA Medical Center – Richmond, VA
By Michael Harrod
”Hooray” is the closest spelling I can come to for ”Ooh-rah” in the English dictionary. The term ”Ooh-rah” is not even listed in this dictionary I have on my shelf, so I apologize: I don’t know how to spell the word. Obviously, as I write this article, a Marine is not handy to assist me with my spelling. I know ”Hooray,” an expression of joy, is not what the Marines had in mind when they invented the word ”Ooh-rah,” but it’s close enough to ”affirmative” or ”you got that right” for the purposes of this article.
What I mean to say is: ”good going” Veterans’ Voices magazine. This magazine has been a great help to me personally and to others as well. Writing for the magazine helped me work through my problems. Many a night I have awakened between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. with the problems of my world sitting squarely on my shoulders. I would think of suicide for a few minutes, and then, I would turn to my word processor or my computer and work on a story for Veterans’ Voices. If I wasn’t sure what to write about, I would read from Veterans’ Voices until an idea hit me. If I drew a blank for a story or article idea, I would instead work on ideas for raising money for the magazine. When people talk about writing as a therapeutic outlet for the mind, I think back to those many nights of darkness and despair that I went through. I wonder what would have happened if it weren’t for the magazine and the creative outlet it offered me during the middle of those horrible nights. I think about the guys coming back from war these days and the problems they must have on their minds and in their guts. Why is the suicide rate so high for our returning military these days? Thoughts of suicide or just thinking a suicidal thought is nothing for the living to be ashamed of, and the dead don’t feel guilty. Maybe the solution is to write about those feeling instead of acting on them in a shameful way. After all, one of the purposes of this magazine is to give a veterans a voice, don’t you think?
I wish for a time when Veterans’ Voices will go out to many more veterans to let them know we are thinking of them. If the magazine could afford to publish more magazines, maybe the returning veterans could know that we are interested in their stories. Support Veterans’ Voices magazine by spreading the word and encouraging others to subscribe today, or think of a way to look for new donors that can help support the magazine’s efforts.
These sample prose pages are provided compliments of PromotionsAndPrint.com. We thank all veterans for our freedom. And for personal help, a thanks is sent to vet Paddy Kelliher.