Acceptance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

In Vietnam grief was brief. I learned this through my visits with the troops in the field. . . . Friendships were genuine, but not deep. Close friendships were not recommended. Sometimes there just wasn’t time to really get to know someone. It was a different world altogether. Men coming and going, rotating like a merry-go-round. Some got on while others got off, and the war just kept going around. Never stopping. Always moving.

ACCEPTANCE

By Al Garcia

In Vietnam, like in any way, grief was brief.I learned this through my visits with the troops in the field. 

Friendships were genuine, but not deep.  Close friendships were not recommended.  Sometimes there just wasn’t time to really get to know someone.  It was a different world altogether.  Men coming and going, rotating like a merry-go-round.  Some got on while others got off, and the war just kept going around.  Never stopping.  Always moving. 

Grief had no time to sink in.  A brief salute.  A few words.  A moment alone.  And then back to the normalcy of killing and maiming and grieving for someone else tomorrow.  It was unending.  Something you didn’t want to get used to, but simply a way of life – or rather death. 

I learned that it was a confusing time for soldiers in the field.  There was never an “acceptance” of death, just a realization of what had occurred.  A realization that people die in war.  And the realization that it wasn’t you that had been killed.  There was a harshness to it all.A dull state of sadness that sometimes lingered just a bit too long.  And then, sadder still, came the momentary relief that you had made it through another day – a day closer to going home alive.  Grief and guilt always came together. 

Soldiers are not immune from tears and fear.  And they flowed and there was fear all the time, even more when someone you knew was no longer there with you. 

At home you are comforted by loved ones, and are given time to properly grieve and cry and work your way at your own pace through the stages of grief.  Denial.  Anger.  Bargaining.  Depression.  Acceptance.  In war there are no stages of grief.  It is only the reality and the permanency of death that assaults your mind and your heart like an explosion within you, something the military never taught you how to handle or deal with.  It was never in the training.  We were never taught how to die, or how to cry.

Even soldiers cry and hurt inside.  The difference is that they must wait to grieve and wait to feel the anger and the depression until after they get off the merry-go-round.  And then, the stages of grief can begin.  But for soldiers, the last stage, acceptance, never comes. 


Submitted: May 31, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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