22 Veterans

For the past few months, I have ramped up my Pacific Crest Trail training by participating in some online virtual runs. The latest virtual run involved four 50k’s put on by Trail Racing Over Texas. I even decided that I would carry 25 pounds in my hiking pack for my last two. I completed my last one Memorial Day Weekend.

The night before the start of my last 50k was rough. I found out a fellow NCO my husband and I had deployed with committed suicide. So I laid in bed tossing and turning, both sad and angered. I woke up the next day, determined to make the most of it and not take life for granted. I spent the next 8 hours hiking with that NCO in mind recalling some of the memories I had of him.

I remember the first day I met Sergeant First Class E. I got to my unit, 21 years old, fresh out of training. We had to go work in a warehouse with medical supplies that morning. As we are all standing outside awaiting instruction, SFC E. makes a loud whistling sound, followed by an explosion. We all look at each other thinking, who is this guy and what is he doing? He then starts yelling and cursing. Why didn’t you guys get the fuck down! He’s angered at our confusion then tells us all to drop. From that point on he has us in the front leaning rest doing push-ups while lecturing us on the importance of being aware of our surroundings and getting down if we hear incoming rounds. At the time, I didn’t think it was funny or much less a valuable lesson and yet it is a memory that has stuck to me like glue. Because you don’t know what life has in store. You don’t know what’s around every corner. Be aware of where you are but don’t live in fear. SFC E. was always rough around the edges and taught you how to have thick skin.

So as I lay there in bed, with a heavy heart, I’m saddened that someone we knew felt that this was the only way out. Maybe he was too afraid to get help and maybe he tried. I am saddened at the fact that everyday 22 soldiers commit suicide. If you know a veteran or active duty soldier, please check up on them. If you need help please get help! I’m here if you need to talk, cry, laugh, or whatever. If you are not comfortable talking with me, you can always call the Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 or Text: 838255.

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