Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good God!

The details remain unknown. He came back from Iraq with two sets of dog tags that were from young Iraqi men. He told a few people close to him they were innocent Iraqis he was ordered to shoot. Why or who ordered him to shoot them, we don't know. He said he kept the dog tags to honor the men. What we know is that he was haunted by these young Iraqi men upon returning home in 2004.

At first, he seemed normal although a little distant. Then he began drinking and a series of events led his parents to seek help from the VA. He was committed for a short while be released without being diagnosed with PTSD with the determination he was not a threat to others or himself. He slowly went downhill despite the love and support of his family. There was a car accident and more cases of drinking. His family hid away his knives and other items that they were afraid he would harm himself with. He spoke with his father one night about all that was troubling him.
Well, Monday night, when I got home, Jeffrey was in a total rage. He was pacing through the house. He was angry at the war, angry at everything. And I was trying to get him to calm down. And then he started talking of suicide. And he felt abandoned. He didn't know where to go.

At that point, I called the Vet Center, and I told them what was going on. And the Vet Center was tremendous. They spoke to me, got me to calm down, because we were all distraught by this time. And then they spoke to Jeff. And substantially Jeff was very calm after the phone call. They advised me to call the police, if necessary.

And what happened was that Jeff and I then started talking while I was doing some work. And then what happened with Jeff was -- it was about 11:30 at night, and everything was very -- I was exhausted, Jeff was exhausted, but he kept talking, and then finally he asked me if he would be able to sit in my lap. And so, forty-five minutes we rocked in silence. And the therapist told us after Jeff died that that was no doubt his last place of refuge, his last safe harbor that he felt that he could go to.

The next morning -- I stayed up ’til about 2:00 or 3:00 until Jeff went to bed, and he was calm. And then I got up, went to work. And then, of course, it was at 6:45 Tuesday evening that I came home.

Jeff is another casualty of war that won't be counted amongst the statistics. I don't want to make a political point about how we should get out of Iraq. I was out on the street protesting about our going there in the first place. I am sick of our support for war in general. This is how the father found his son - Jeff.
I was talking on the cell phone to Joyce, and I said, “Jeff, no doubt, is lying in front of the TV.” And so I told her I would call her back. So I went into the house, and I couldn't find Jeff. I went to his bedroom, and the one thing I noted was that his dog tags were laying on his bed. I then went out to the porch, to the deck. He wasn't there.

And so, then I went through the addition, and I saw the cellar door open. I could see a light on, and I caught some pictures that were laying on the floor, and in the center was his platoon picture. And I could see other pictures. So I went downstairs. My focus was on the pictures, because I couldn't understand why they were there. When I went up to the pictures, the platoon picture had blood on it. The picture of each of his sisters were on each side of the platoon picture, and then there was pictures of the family in a half-circle.

Then I saw Jeff, and Jeff was, I thought, standing at first, until I saw the hose double-looped around his neck. I went running over there, and I pushed Jeff up with my knees. And that was the last time he ever sat in my lap. I took the hose from around his neck, and I laid him down onto the floor, trying to make him comfortable. And at that point, I tried to rub his chest, because I thought I felt some warmth there. Otherwise he was very cold. So then I went upstairs and called the police.
We have to do more than end this war. We need to renounce war altogether. War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again.