De-Definition

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Third in a series on one man's survival from Divorce.

Submitted: January 03, 2016

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Submitted: January 03, 2016

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De-definition

As each day pulls you from your only respite, the world’s brutal reality takes over from your confused dream state. You look over at the clock and it’s still almost an hour before the alarm goes off. No way you’re going back to sleep. You thank the Lord for the five hours you did get.

 

Each day is a gift and not a given right. Remember that. Lisa Frost and 3,000 other Americans learned that lesson on 9/11.

 

You lay there remembering your dreams as that is the drill they give you to control the nightmares. It took a while, but the wizard behind the curtain now seems afraid to unleash the hell on me.  Now, the firing pins work and my weapons kill and my men are alive again. I get to hug my dog and see the moon set in the north.

 

Yea…..I don’t get that one either!

 

The reality is that my immune system is severely compromised because of the extreme stress of the divorce. Because of this, I exercise six days a week as soon as I roll out of bed. I use the wipes at the grocery stores on the cart handles. I wash my hands after walking each dog at the Humane Shelter I volunteer at. I consciously drink three liters of water which is one of my Camel Back “sippy cup for adults” jugs. I make sure my clothes are clean and ironed. Boy, I miss the Army at these times! I never had to think about what to wear! 

 

Try to smile when you are around people. In a weird way it does help. At worst, it fakes out a lot of people. At best, I have found it to be infectious….OMG…people smile BACK! 

 

As I stare at the ceiling each morning I try to think of ANYTHING I can do that is creative. Normally, I try to cook something. These writings are a great help. Work is not that rewarding so I try to ignore work as a venue for creativity. I only try to get through today. I try not to think of any plans farther than a week. Mostly, try to grit your teeth for the memories that will surely come from out of nowhere today.

 

So today won’t be any better than yesterday, if you don’t let it.

 

She’ll never return.

You’ll never be with her again.

All the bad things still happened and there is no way you can change any of that, now.

 

In my VA assessment of PTSD, which was before my divorce, I was put in the room of my (now) counselor.  She asked if I had any issues that were effecting my life. I said, “no”, confident I could divert anything she could throw at me. As a trained undercover agent and interrogator I THOUGHT I was ready for anything. I was wrong….again.

 

She asked me what was “THE” incident that happened in Iraq.

 

Great! She asked me a question I had practiced. I went into the 23 June 2004 ambush when I lost 7 men. I told her what I thought would sound like someone who had it all together. The fact she wasn’t taking notes was a good sign that she believed I had” integrated it” and was fine.

 

She was quiet for a moment, that was lasting way too long.

 

Then she said, “It wasn’t your fault.”

 

In that microsecond I was standing over the bodies of the men scattered in a star formation, that that morning I was laughing with, I could smell the cordite in the still air, feel the intense heat on my helmet…… and I lost it. Big time.

 

Since that day I have been learning how to ACTUALLY learn to live with it. One day at a time.

 

So here I am each morning. Waking up before dawn. I have a choice. It is my choice. It’s the free will that God gave all of us. I can drink, but it will never change anything. I can take sleeping pills but they won’t help me, really. I can feel sorry for myself but in the end that is also counterproductive. I can also admit that it hurts worse than any battle injury and try and go on. Like any injury you need a splint if it’s broken, maybe a cane if a leg is involved. But it’s your heart, and there is no prosthetic.

 

Just as it is totally stupid to think you can throw a football with a broken shoulder, you can’t date with a broken heart. It would be a dishonor to the lady you might be with.

 

You need to wait.

 

Wait until the time is right.

 

When is that time? How will I know?

 

I’m sorry. I don’t know that answer.  I can tell you, I’m not there.

 

I found I am really really good at feeling sorry for myself. But at some point you have to get up from bed and just exist in a direction, for now. Up, down, left or right. Pick a direction. If you somehow were blessed, you have friends calling and checking on you. But the BFFL with me has been Jesus.  He was never some fictional character that you just talked about at Christmas. He was always in my ear when things got really bad as a small child. Whenever the actions of my Dad didn’t make sense to a six year old kid, He would let me know it was OK. 

 

Suddenly, your life evolves and before you know it you are a Military Intelligence (MI) Lieutenant in places you never thought you would see. In time, you become defined by that life which is alien to most. As an officer in the Intelligence field you can never really be part of the rest of your fellow officers because of what you know, or should know. Your job is to see, what no one else can see, or your unit dies. Expect the ambush. Ferret out the spy. Fend off the counter-move.

 

The joke in MI school was that your training is taking effect if on a flight the Captain comes on the PA and says, “If everyone will look out the left window you will see…..” and you are looking out the right.

 

You get married. You and your wife are one. “To have and to hold…” When you are back from deployment or at a party in the FBI, you are a couple. You see yourself as two not one. Years of fun and adventures bond you to your spouse. She/he defines your being. Then as suddenly as a car wreck, you blink and it’s over. 

 

But there are an infinite number of variables that constitute a marriage, or a battle, so in reality, knowing what the enemy/fate will do is a crap shoot. A calculated guess. Orson Scott Card said, “Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong.” You learned that lesson hard in a divorce, didn’t you?

 

It is so clear how it happened NOW! You failed to recognize the Chancellorsville flanking movement.

 

…and the whisper says: “It wasn’t your fault.”

 

…Your mind answers: “Yea….I’m positive it was my fault.”

 

The divorce rate of returning war veterans is as high as our suicide rate, the highest in the United States.

 

When I left for Iraq I knew that my life was in real danger and I gladly took the risk. But I never knew, nor was told, that those combat tours would probably cost me my marriage. 

 

“I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded(husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

 

The Quakers have a neat twist on it as, “Friends, I take my friend [name] to be my spouse, promising, through divine assistance, to be unto him/her a loving and faithful spouse, so long as we both on earth shall live.”

 

No money or health issues, just the one phrase that says it all: loving and faithful spouse.

 

If you listen to the pop world, they even add, “Maintain my lifestyle.” The Quakers vow has been the same since before we were a country in 1754 yet the Kardashians need to add that garbage.

 

Money, infidelity, abuse, addiction….we all knew they were the most common cause but you didn’t go into marriage with your hand on the exit door. You believed it would be forever. You two would be the 50% that made it. It didn’t last.

 

The fastest growing statistic, besides our national debt, is the rate of Mid-life divorce. It is now the highest in the United States of America and England. In more than two thirds of the divorces it is the wife who wants the divorce and 25% of the men never see it coming.

 

Yep! This highly trained spy never saw it coming.

 

In hindsight, it was a perfect storm. Returning from three combat tours; lost all my savings to what turned out to be an Australian con man; lost the house; menopause, moving to a small place not so nice. The fact the Australian had managed, and continues, to con much smarter and more successful people did nothing to erase the mistake. 

 

Now that marriage is over, you are now “you minus one”.

 

Who is that? Who am I NOW?

 

Now is the time to DE-define who you are. In most cases it has been a very long time since you were a single entity. I use the term “single” not in the marital status but a singularity.

 

It is a hard question to answer. Your life together was great because you knew she/he would have your back. Now, you have to cover 360 degrees of threat. So what is left when “us” goes back to “me”?

 

Start over? No need. You already have the skills to survive. The difference is that you no longer have training wheels in case you fall/fail/fired/hired/bonus/vacation. There were things you did that you loved doing for her that you will never do again. She hated the cold and I loved it. She never complained about it but I always made sure to have a nice blanket in the car for her legs. I just won’t do that again, right?  

 

There will be people out there that will relish in your pain. They are a malignancy to civilization, the Germans coined the term that psychology uses, schadenfreude. Please classify these people as non-humans and ignore them. Don’t worry, Karma will get them in the end. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch.

 

You probably have friends that are negative. I’ve been able to keep them out of my life, but then, I have a VERY small number of friends. But keep these people not at ‘arm’s length’ but Pacific Ocean length.

 

Speaking of oceans….It may sound cruel, but at this time in your de-definition you need to keep the weak “clingers” at bay also. Look. Think of yourself clinging to a small piece of wreckage in a sea of turmoil. This would not be the time to take on a 300-pound anvil when you are barely above water. Just say, “I’m sorry. No”.

-------------------------------------------------

OK. News Flash. I got hit on the back of the head with a 10 ton wrecking ball, known as “Christmas” to the rest of the world.

 

When you find that one love who connects you to the world like no other, you become someone different, someone better, someone very confident, someone who feels they can accomplish anything, someone not effected by PTSD. But when that love is taken from you, what do you become then?

 

Therapist would call this a “setback”. I call it a Mike Tyson hit to the side of the head.

 

It was the longest three days of my life. Christmas was Friday. No calls. Saturday. No calls. Sunday an ice storm came in and I put on my “Ice Soldier” SF issue gear and went out in it.

 

OK, not ALL my issue gear, the snow shoes would have been overkill. The two Ice Axes on wrist straps MAY have brought some unwanted attention. Suffice to say I had enough on.

 

It really felt good to feel the ice stinging my face and the cold trying to get through my boots. My face was beet red from the 30 MPH wind gusts out of the North, but I could finally feel something other than sorrow.

 

But Monday, I woke up from the alarm and said, out loud, “I am going to be awesome today. I am going to be creative today.” Did my nine exercises. Ate something. Left without checking the weather and found I had a foot of ice on my car.

 

A “slight” exaggeration, but it took a while to scrape it all off.

 

Ice all the way to work. Full Disclosure: I was in a similar situation that resulted in my SUV rolling some 6 times. So I get pretty tense on icy roads, OK?

 

I got to the shop and my outstanding fellow mad-scientist was there waiting.

 

We were awesome! We did many creative things. Probably get a Patent for one of them.

 

You CAN do Hope.

 

You MUST do hope.

 

It hurts like HELL and isn’t going to be healed or solved quickly.

 

Choose life.


© Copyright 2017 David Kutchinski. All rights reserved.

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