by Trista Miller
We arrived, casualties came. We were prepared to treat the “injury” but unable to touch the “wounds”. We knew how to treat the Soldier who lost a limb but next to him, fully conscious, was you…covered in proof of the gravity of the attack; and I can’t help you. We scramble to locate water to wash away the reminder, the remainder of your friend. You want out of your own skin, your own thoughts and I have no drug, no tourniquet to cut off the flood of memories from washing back in. You are the unanticipated casualty that we are not prepared for; our preparation has prepared us to avoid this kind of pain, this kind of awareness of deep, inner, helplessness. You cry out, a cry that lives in all of us but remains suppressed by our own walls, but here you are-raw, hurting, angry, exhausted and your walls are down- blown down on impact. You are vulnerable, showing your injured spirit that is searching for comfort, connection, empathy from another, another spirit willing to be vulnerable, willing to climb over their wall to meet you, to bring the kind of healing you need. You are surrounded by injured spirits whose walls are still too tall to climb, still high and functioning. Instead we offer sedatives and MEDEVACs. Finish your healing elsewhere. Our walls are too high and we need them to function, in fact, we just pick up pieces of your crumbled wall to add to our height.
Trista Miller served in the Army as a Medical Service Officer from 2003-2012. Assigned to 26th Bridge Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, she deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III and IV. She is married and working at the Stetson University College of Law. Her writing can be viewed at her blog: http://thelowerstory.wordpress.com/.