Remembering My Friend

I met with a new doctor and a new counselor the other day. It’s literally the 18th & 19th time in the last decade that I’ve had to sit across from a stranger who knew nothing about me but my name and the rank I held in the Army and had to retell the events of the last decade that led me to their offices. And the same questions were asked. “Why are you here? What made you seek help?” And the answer remains the same. “More often than not I wake up wishing that I hadn’t.” Because 10 years ago today, my friend and my solder, SPC Charles Bush woke up for the last time. He woke up motivated and ready to lead the way. And then on a mission, doing more than his duty, he was killed in action in Balad, Iraq. We were a week away from Christmas. We were two weeks away from redeploying home. He didn’t have to go on that mission. But he did. And an Improvised Explosive Device took his life and injured several others. And I live with that everyday of my life, and everyday he is in my thoughts and my actions. I don’t know if that’s what moves to do what I do with the GIs of Comedy or if it’s what keeps me from moving forward, but he is always in my heart and in my mind.
[divider] I told my my new counselor that today was the 10 year anniversary of when we lost him and then he told me something that should have been discouraging but was oddly reassuring. He said, “I counsel soldiers that jumped into Normandy and took Omaha Beach. And they still have anniversaries that they remember, nearly 70 years later. I’m not going to tell you that I’m going to fix you or that there are medications that will help you. But I will tell you that you’re not alone.” And that was more reassuring than most of what anyone has ever said to me.
[divider] I usually spend this day with Chuck at his grave. Every year for the last 10 years. It was my promise to him. It was how I continued to honor him. But this year I won’t be there. I’m not forgetting him, I’m just going to try to move forward with him in my heart and move into the new year with his memory to drive me. And I’m going to let his legacy of duty lead the way.

[divider] Continue to Rest In Peace, my friend. You are missed. Airborne. All The Way.