I’ll Remember

Hmm, hmm
Say goodbye
Not knowing when
The truth in my whole life began
Say goodbye
Not knowing how to cry
You taught me that

And I’ll remember
The strength that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember
The way that you saved me
I’ll remember

Inside I was a child
That could not mend a broken wing
Outside I looked for a way
To teach my heart to sing

And I’ll remember
The love that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember
The way that you changed me
I’ll remember

I learned
To let go
Of the illusion
That we can possess
I learned to let go
I travel in stillness
And I’ll remember happiness
I’ll remember, hmm

I’ll remember, hmm
And I’ll remember
The love that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember
The way that you changed me
I’ll remember (I’ll rememeber)

Now I’ll never be afraid to cry
Now I finally have a reason why

I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
Now I’ll never be afraid to cry
Now I finally have a reason why

I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
Now I’ll never be afraid to cry
And I finally have a reason why

I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
Now I’ll never be afraid to cry
And I finally have a reason why

I’ll Remember – Madonna

I remember one day when you dropped me at kindergarten so long ago.
I remember going to Red’s Dairy Freeze.
I remember cookouts in Fort Williams.
I remember riding my coaster on a hill in Fort Williams.
I remember riding into Portland in your pickup.
I remember you rushing me to Dr. Russel when I had a reaction to a bee sting.
I remember sitting on a spare tire while you pulled Cheryl and I with your truck on the frozen lake.
I remember going with you to work on Exchange St.
I remember you picking me up many times when I had no ride.
I remember how hard you worked to make sure we were provided for.
I remember you always had Life Savers in your pocket.
I remember how much you loved Ginger your dog.
I remember helping build your house in Poland Maine.
I remember helping you plow and sand the camp road.
I remember camping at Tumbledown.
I remember how you struggled with cancer, and how I should have been there more for you.
I remember getting angry with you because I didn’t understand your behavior.
I remember watching you decline so quickly once the dementia took over.
I remember how helpless I felt.
I remember living with you and mom in Strong, and how much I wanted to help you.
I remember how much we really did love each other, we just couldn’t find the words.
I remember visiting you at Togus when you jumped out of your chair and hugged me.
I remember how much I regret not making a stronger effort before it was too late.

I remember how much I miss you Dad.

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I Won’t Back Down

Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of Hell
But I won’t back down

No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down

(I won’t back)
Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out
(I won’t back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)
Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out
(I won’t back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
(I won’t back down)
And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)
Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out
(I wont back down)
Hey I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)
Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out
(I won’t back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
(I won’t back down)
And I won’t back down
(I won’t back down)
No, I won’t back down
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – I Won’t Back Down

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My father was born on April 28, 1929 and he would have been 88 today. At precisely 12 noon, I buried him. It was a simple ceremony with an honor guard playing taps and the formal flag folding. The young soldiers were very serious and precise, a fine example of the men that represent the best this country has to offer. When the officer presented the flag to me and thanked my father and I for his service on behalf of a grateful nation, I could see true sorrow in his eyes. I will forever be grateful to him and his service in my time of need.

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My father was laid to rest beside many others that paid their dues so we could live a life of freedom and happiness. Safe we are behind the walls of this republic, the foundation set in the founding documents of this country that so many have fought and died for, and many take for granted. Would they feel the same had today been about their father? Would they burn the flag to spite the fallen? I for one believe they have that right BECAUSE of the sacrifice of my father and all the others, and they can choose to exercise that right if they want, but I feel they are misguided.

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My father was never one to follow politics. He had his beliefs and ideals he followed throughout his life, viewpoints about this story or that, but it was always tempered by the feeling that we should all be equal in our treatment of others. Yes he shared opinions of this group or that, sometimes even a little prejudiced in it’s manor, but he was not openly hostile towards others in public as we see on an almost daily basis now from some younger people in this country. These people take protesting too far and approach the border of anarchy. They are not fit to walk the same soil as my father but I would not take away their right to.

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As I walked down this path I felt the crush of sorrow for those who left this world in such a tragic way. Many didn’t even truly understand what they were fighting for, but they did their best for their buddies and us and I will forever be grateful. Freedom is not given, it’s earned. Earned by the sweet of our brows when we work for our pay, when the soil is tilled to grow crops to feed the many, when we help another that can’t help themselves. But the largest payment for our freedom has been paid by the military and the men and women who paid the ultimate price.

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I placed my father in the cold ground today with what was his favorite possession at the end of his life, his Korean War Hat. His mind was so muddled towards the end that a simple hat meant more to him than anything. I protected it for you dad and made sure you got it back. I cant look at that picture without breaking down, without feeling some guilt for not trying harder at the end of his life to have a closer relationship. This was the hardest day of my life and I will spend this evening alone with my dog and reflect on a life now gone and what it meant to me. Goodbye Dad, I’m sorry for everything.

Togus VA Hospital Augusta Maine… 150 Years And Counting

A HISTORY OF TOGUS 1866-PRESENT (From VA Website, History of Togus)

In 1865 near end of the Civil War, President Lincoln signed an act creating the National Asylum (later changed to Home) for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The Eastern Branch at Togus, Maine was the first of the new homes to open in November 1866. The name “Togus” comes from the Native American name Worromongtogus, which means “mineral water”.

The Togus property was originally a summer resort known as Togus Springs. It was owned and operated by Horace Beals, a wealthy granite merchant from Rockland, Maine who hoped to establish a second “Saratoga Springs” type resort. He spent more than $250,000 on a hotel, stables, bowling alley, farmhouse, bathing house, race track and driveways. The resort opened in 1859 but failed during the Civil War and closed in 1863. Beals died shortly after this business failure and the government bought the land and buildings for $50,000.

The first veteran was admitted to Togus on November 10, 1866. The veteran population of the home remained under 400 until a building program began in 1868 which provided housing 3,000 veterans. The home was organized much like a military camp with the men living in barracks and wearing modified Army uniforms. Although a 100 bed hospital was completed in 1870, medical care at the home was limited, even by the standards of the day.

In 1890, a narrow gauge railroad from the Kennebec River in Randolph and an electric trolley line from Augusta were completed and Togus became a popular excursion spot for Sunday picnics. There were frequent band concerts, a zoo, a hotel and a theater which brought shows directly from Broadway.

Togus became a Veterans Administration facility following the Consolidation Act of July 1930 which joined all agencies providing benefits to veterans and their dependents. Most buildings which make up our present facility were constructed in the following decade. Togus’ role gradually changed from a domiciliary or home to a full-service medical center with the greatest change occurring after World War II due to the large number of returning veterans requiring medical care.

In 1989, VA was designated a cabinet-level agency and became the Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, onboard Togus VA campus is a Medical Center, a Regional Office and a National Cemetery. The Medical Center, has a staff of over 1,050 personnel representing various disciplines.  It has 67 in-patient beds and 100 beds in the Nursing Home Care Units which provide for long-term care as well as Alzheimer’s/ dementia. Currently there are six community based outpatient clinics (CBOC) located throughout Maine and provide local services to veterans. These CBOCs include Bangor, Calais, Caribou, Lincoln, Rumford and Saco and there are also VA Mental Health Clinics in Bangor and Portland. Togus VA Medical Center’s current structure shows the VA’s focus on increased outpatient health care while also raising overall quality indicators.

Togus VA staff have a strong commitment to provide the highest quality care in the most economical manner possible. To do this, they have a quality assurance program where managers are responsible for reviewing the quality of care provided, potential risks and cost effectiveness. The purpose of this review is to identify opportunities for continued improvement. The medical center is fully accredited by the Joint Commission.

The Regional Office, serving the entire state of Maine, is located on the Togus VA campus and provides services for veterans and their families in compensation and pension and other non-medical benefits.

The National Cemetery, the only national cemetery in Maine, is now inactive but well-kept and is the final resting place for 5,373 veterans from the War of 1812 through the Korean War. It was first opened in 1867 and was closed to new burials in 1961. Togus National Cemetery

In 2000, the Beals House opened to provide temporary no-cost accommodations for families of in-patient Togus veterans. A former on-campus home for senior VA staff, it was donated to the non-profit agency which now operates it. It has served more than 1,800 families since it was renovated for family members and placed in operation.

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This is the building where my father will most likely spend the remainder of his life.  I went to visit him today on the 150th Anniversary of the founding of this hospital.  It was a beautiful day to be in Maine, 72 degrees, sunny with a slight breeze, and I brought him outside for the festivities.  There was a parade, a BBQ and hundreds of veterans, their family’s and staff.  I think he really enjoyed the parade, and he saluted every veteran that went by.

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There were antique cars and trucks, restored Army Jeeps and even solderers on horseback.

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I think his favorite parts were the Harley’s and the service dogs.

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After the parade we went to have lunch.  No problem with his appetite!  1/4 of a chicken, baked potato and 2 hot dogs!  Even I couldn’t eat that much and I outweigh him by 100 lbs!

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I think he had a good time, but he’s fading fast.  The drugs he needs to stay calm due to his dementia and PTSD have a sad effect.  His mental acuity and concentration are very low and he gets distracted very easy.  He may not remember much a few hours later, but I got to spend some time with him and at least for a little while, he was smiling.  I’m sorry this happened to you Dad, but I’m trying my best to make your last time on this earth as comfortable as possible.  I hope you know we all love you.

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I Hear You Ziggy! Been There, Done That

Happy and I’m smiling,
Walking miles to drink your water.
You know I’d love to love you,
And above you there’s no other.

We’ll go walking out
While others shout of war’s disaster.

Oh, we won’t give in,
Let’s go living in the past.

Once I used to join in,
Every boy and girl was my friend.
Now there’s revolution, but they don’t know
What they’re fighting.

Let us close out eyes,
Outside their lives go on much faster.

Oh, we won’t give in,
We’ll keep living in the past.

Living In The Past – Jethro Tull

Life can be full of regrets.  Many time I have fallen into the pit of despair living in the past, the whole “hindsight is 20/20 thing.  Great idea for a song, poor idea for life.  You have to let go what’s done in one way, but remember the lesson from it.  If you repeat the same mistake you are either insane or blind, maybe both!

This post is in response to a post from “Ziggy Speaks“, a new blogger I follow.  I think she found me due to our love of dogs, and she writes from her dogs point of view quite often.  We seem to have much in common as far as past life experiences, and I can relate to what she is feeling.

What I have to say to her is, remember the past as life lessons, not regrets.  Remember you are who you are due to them.   Focus on what you can do now with the lessons learned.  You can’t make up for everything so do the best you can to not repeat the mistakes and live your life to it’s fullest.  Never give up on your dream!

Oh, when you come to Maine, here’s some of what I will show you!  Every photo was taken by me over the past few years.  Some pics are not so great but they represent well.

Something Means Nothing Here After All

We steal to lose every color
From the sky
Then crawl as a child
While the shadows burn our eyes

We know there’s no longer shine
On this burned out rainbow

Lately it seems we’ve been chasing
What times resolved
Maybe something means nothing here
After all

Whispers are now screams
This conclusion never ends
My pride with your kiss
Even angels can’t defend

We know we’re running head on
Into our confusion

Still we hide safe behind these crumbled walls
Cause we know there’s nothing here after all

After All – Collective Soul

I think this is perhaps my very favorite song.  I never grow tired of hearing it and it gives me the same thoughts and feelings every time.  Like many other people, it’s the story of my life.  It’s like looking through a window into everything I have ever felt, wondered, sensed or dreamed.  Every hope, prayer, wish or path that has been crushed by reality, laid bare over the coarse of time.  It’s me accepting my fate, understanding my place in this world.

I’m never going to be rich, never going to be famous, I’m never going to travel the world and visit all the places I dreamed about.  I’m never going to have a dad, at least not like I needed growing up.  I’ll never be able to make up for the mistakes of my past, resolve differences with people I have wronged, say I’m sorry to those I have hurt.  Never be able to change what has happened.

This may sound like someone feeling sorry for themselves, crying out for some kind of redemption or forgiveness, but you’d be wrong.  This is me taking a deep breath, and diving head first into the rest of my life.  I can’t change the past, but I can change the future.  I can no longer live with the burden of my misgivings and past sins.  I have to let them go.

Even in the last few days I have tried to come up with ways to redeem myself, plans to help others before myself.  I realize I am of no use to anyone until I forgive myself.  I can’t hope to give to others what I don’t have for myself, and that’s love.  I must follow my simple plan, continue to find out who I am.  Follow my new found passions, photography and writing, and see where they go.  I have a feeling that when I get to my sailboat, both are going to blossom.  (Thanks Osyth for your encouragement!)

I found a sailboat today that would be perfect for my plans.  I have no money to purchase it right now, but I will.  Right now I am paying, literally, for my past lifestyle.  Here’s the short story.  I have never hidden my past drug use from anyone.  I regret it, but it’s part of who I am.  I hid my pain behind a crumbling wall, trying to find solace instead of facing my fears head on.  I was young and naive.  It also led to my taking very poor care of myself.

I now live with alot of pain from injuries and abuse of my body.  I had many dental issues over the years resulting in some tooth loss.  This came to a head last year when I had 22 teeth pulled in 1 hour.  That was a difficult day in more ways then one.  Last week I had 4 more pulled and had a partial made for the bottom and a new plate for the top.  This week has been very bad with intense pain and sores that come with new dental work.  For that mistake in my life, I am paying my dues.

It’s easy to feel bad for yourself when all you have is pain and sorrow, but it wont last.  The pain will ebb, the sorrow will subside, and then your left with the remainder of your time on earth.  What you strive for is who you are, what you achieve is a measure of your will.  The fact that you never gave up, is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

Oh, and that boat?  It was only $7500.00!  I’m paying that for all my dental work!  I can do this, I can save the money by next spring.  That boat may not be there, but there are others.  I MUST NEVER STOP, never grow tired, never again give in to weakness or dwell on the past.  I have to keep my simple goals first and foremost in my sights.  I have to believe Something means something here after all!

The War Is Almost Over

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I went to visit my father today at the Togus VA Hospital in Augusta Maine. Like all my other visits I first took Vinny for a walk around the grounds. It was an overcast day today, but still a beautiful day to be in Maine.

The grounds are a perfect example of what Maine has to offer. The streams, the trees and the spring flowers are what make this my home.

As I walked down a different road than I normally follow, my heart skipped a beat. As I continued on, my heart was crushed under the weight of the feelings that took over my being.

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I was so taken by that moment that I had to sit down on the grass. There is so much more than graves here, so much more than the people who died in service to us and this country. There is the sacrifice made by all those left behind. The wives, children, friends and others that lost a part of themselves when this person died.

Then there are the others, the ones whose battle never ended. The survivors with physical and mental pain and suffering that did not end on the battlefield. For some, surviving was only the beginning. Let me tell you about one such person.

Birth Certificate (2)

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Dad age 4

My father was born on April 28th, 1929 in Portland Maine. He grew up in a suburb called Riverton in a very modest home at 10 Tarbell Ave. My father talked about his younger days with a mix of longing for a return the adventure of riding motorcycles with his friends, juxtaposed with a resentment for the way he felt his father treated him. I think his father was just a strict man, and he just wanted the best from his children. Maybe he didn’t understand how to be a father. I’ll never know as he died when I was to young to remember him.

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My Grandfather Chester Pierce

My grandfather, Chester Pierce, had opened a business not long before my father was born called C.A. Pierce Company in Portland. This business started as a furniture restoration company, then eventually into the furniture sales store it is now, run by his great grandson Larry Pierce. I don’t know all the history, but I think my father was more interested in motorcycles and girls than furniture, and never became part of the company. My father lived in New Mexico before joining the Army and worked at a creamery and as a roofer. He told many stories of riding motorcycles in the desert, and many fights in local bars. I think he was the rebellious “James Dean” type in those days.

Discharge Certificate (2) (Medium)

He joined the Army on February 13, 1951 and was honorably discharged on May 25, 1956. He survived 6 months and 8 days in the combat zone in Korea, but like all who came back, part of him died as surely as those buried at Togus. He told a story of waking up one morning to every other man in his tent dead with his throat slit. “Psychological Warfare” they called it. Someone had slipped in during the night and killed them in their sleep. My father never got over living when the men right beside him died.

My father at about 15
My father at about 15

Some gave all, all gave some. I can think of no truer words to describe the plight of anyone that has gone to war. You see it in their eyes, the window to our souls. Something is missing, and in my fathers case I think it was the ability to connect with his children. I know he loved us, and we loved him, but I never felt like I had a Dad, just a father. It’s hard to explain, but I felt very alone as a child. I spent many hours by myself in Fort Williams, alone with my thoughts I dreamed about sailing away to distant shores filled with adventure. Such is the mind of an 8 year old boy longing for attention from his dad. Even though my father tried many times to do the “Dad” thing, I don’t think he knew how, just like his father.

Mom & Dad
Mom & Dad

All these years later when I look at him, I understand how hard that must have been on him also. I think about the times as an adult I didn’t make time for him when I know he wanted it, and I regret it very much. I was just like him even if I didn’t know it. Maybe there is some truth to the thought that we tend to follow the example put forth by our parents.

He was never one to shy away from responsibility. I learned from my father the drive to work hard, never ask for a handout when you could just work harder and get by. He gladly accepted the 3 children my mother had, then had 2 more of his own. He was never without a job, even with only an 8th grade education. We never felt poor even though we were close to it. He was “Old School”, and by that I mean he felt his duty was to provide the money, and my mother should raise the kids. That was the mindset of that generation.

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Acting silly on vacation

I grew up resenting him just like he did his father. Maybe for the same reasons. As an adult, now free from the influence of a poor lifestyle rife with drug use and other poor choices, I see him in a new light. Maybe he is a victim of circumstances as surely as I. He never felt connected to his father, and that led in part to his inability to connect with me. Maybe his experience in Korea only exacerbated the situation further. I don’t know for sure, but I do know it’s to late now to reverse my mistakes, and try to make up ground.

The reason for my visit was because my mother, sisters and both brother in laws went to see him 3 days ago on their 54th wedding anniversary. My mother called me afterwards very distraught at the state of his health. I called the hospital and spoke to his nurse. She explained his situation, and I said I would come home to see him.

Last fall at home
Last fall at home

My father has dementia along with PTSD from his tour in Korea. Its possible the dementia caused a slide in his condition a few days ago. He seemed to bounce back a little, but there is a marked difference in just the last month. The difference in the last year is alarming. Last fall he was starting to wander, and my concern was for his safety. We tried to get him into a home owned by an RN with another veteran. That lasted 3 days and she decided he was to much for her. He was moved to Togus at that time and has been there ever since.

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Taken today

This was never what I wanted for him. The pain I feel every time I see him leaves me feeling a little more weak and disheartened. I want so much to tell him how I feel, but every time I try I don’t think I’m saying it in a way he truly understands. I will never forgive myself for waiting so long, waiting till it’s to late.

I don’t think he will last much longer. His voice was so weak that I had to lean in to hear him today. One minute he was talking, the next he was falling asleep in the wheelchair. I helped him to his room, into bed and he fell asleep almost immediately.

As I write this, tears are streaming down my face as I think about his life and what he has endured. I remember all the times I could have been a better son, and now I must live with my lack of forethought. Maybe the lucky ones died in battle. Maybe, had he never come back, less people would have been affected by what happened to him and all the suffering he went through. I’m only human, and I don’t know.

What I do know is, when he dies, a big part of me will die with him. The part of me that wanted to play little league, and have my dad cheering from the stands. The part of me who wanted to go camping and fishing with him. The part of me who wanted him to teach me to ride a bike.

The part of me left, will never forget him. I will never forget how what happened to him, also happened to me and all of his family. I will never forget the man he was, and who I bet he wanted to be. I will do my best to live up to what he wanted, and hope he finds some peace soon. For him at least, the war is almost over. But not for us.

 

 

 

I Am A Liar

“Momma said its just a little white lie, aint hurtin nobody.”
From the movie Forrest Gump

We humans lie to cover up something we’ve done, we lie to get something we want, we lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, but very often we lie to ourselves. I think it’s a normal way of compartmentalizing traumas in our lives and dealing with daily bullshit.

We tell ourselves, “It’s no big deal”and stuff the memory in a safety deposit box in our minds, and lock it away. For years we may forget the very existence of the incident, until something reminds you of it. Then, like a kick to your chest, it all comes rushing back. Every bad feeling you had, however small, is a time bomb waiting to go off someday.

Sometimes its a good thing we waited. As an adult, we have the reasoning power to process and put aside the pain and anger, the maturity to forgive the slight or transgression. The ability to understand no one is perfect, we all make many mistakes. But for many young children, they have no way to cope, and this can lead to anger or other complications including suicide.

Children today are surrounded by lairs. Their parents, everything they watch on TV, and most of their friends. What great examples they have to learn from! They will grow up not seeing any problem with lying. But if everyone lies, there is no trust. Without trust, there are no endearing relationships. Its like sex without love, shallow and meaningless. Nothing but a selfish act in an effort to relieve ones carnal desires.

Sometimes we lie to avoid the daily “Drama” that just seems to follow some people. “I’m sorry, I have to walk my pet fish, so I can’t come over right now.” Some people have lied so much, its just a normal part of their day. You never really know if their telling the truth or not. After awhile, people like that are going to end up alone and sad, wondering what went wrong with their life.

To not be a lair takes effort. You must understand how your lies effect yourself and others. Realizing the self destructive nature of lies, you must strive to change who you are. That means being truthful with yourself. Not always an easy proposition. Each morning when you get up, ask yourself…”Am I going to continue leading a life of deceiving myself and others, or shall I adopt a policy of truth?”

Would You Really Want To Know

Happy, and then sad. Such is a day in my life

Lost in thought am I, waiting for suns last rays, the time for sleep. Thinking of past times, joys and sorrows, forever fading from view. Remembering family I never had the chance to know, friends who were never true. Gestures of friendship, given in hope but never returned. Sad are such thoughts, must be replaced with days of future joy.

As the sun kisses sea, another day of beauty and sound. The wind past sails, the cry of gulls, dolphins dance. Forces of nature awaken my soul, heavy from the burden, begging for peace. As the sea calms, the last breath of wind pulls against the anchor. Alone with my best friend I feel the pain release, the rising tide lifting all ships, including mine. Sleep, beautiful sleep, dreams caress the furrowed brow.

Some dream of futures, promises of forever. Faith the force of will, strong are they in their hope. Hopeful I am of their cause, for they give all for their truth. Some believe in nothing, lost are they without purpose. Whay joy comes from nothing, no hope of rememberance or peace of mind. Futile is indifferance, nothing to be gained. One must have some belief, or forever swim in the fast river of doubt, never gaining ground. Drowning in regret.

What if one could know all, see what comes. Decisions made with forthought, all things preconcieved. Would life be better, or simply shallow and belittled? No learning from mistakes, no pride of doing it right the next time. No discovery of another, no surprise of meeting the one. As I ponder this question that many have thought, I ask myself, would I really want to know?

 

The Sun In My Eyes

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The sun in my eyes means another chance, another day of trials and sentencing in the court of life. The vestiges of yesterday’s mistakes fade under the glow of life giving rays, warm and comforting. We strive to face the challenge with a strong sense of duty, a commitment to purpose. Ever searching for the balance of need and want, mindful of what truly matters to the value of life.

Time is short, decisions must be made, lest we leave with loyalties unanswered, friendships weak. Sacrifices to those who need us most, no thought of repayment or feelings of indifference. Should we think to the legacy of our lives, concerned with the light of history shining on our deeds? Or should we relinquish the effort of control and allow our feelings to guide our daily decisions.

Are we wise enough to know what path to choose, or are we destined to feel the sting of failure again. Have we learned the lessons well, or are there many more to come. Difficult is the way, shadows of doubt and fears of being lost in darkness still fresh and sharp clouding the way. No way to know for certain.

Such are the thoughts of a simple man, a man burdened with the memories of a jaded past. Trying with remaining time to make amends, hoping to find the inner peace of a soul at rest. The scars on my heart remind me that pain subsides, wounds heal, but never shall I forget where I’ve been. The value of a person comes not from the way they live, but how they live with what has happened.

Step Back From That Ledge

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I think many of us have felt we couldn’t go on at least once in our lives. Stress and a strong hopeless feeling can overtake our minds to the point of contimplating suicide. Everybody has a breaking point, so they say, but can you change where that point is? I think you can.

I have known a few people who have tried to end it all, and 2 who succeeded. I have heard some say that many people who try are just crying out for help, that they really don’t want to die. Maybe that’s true. But if they don’t get any help, if the screwed up system we have fails, what makes some recover on their own while others end up dead? Mental illness is part of the story, the closing of so many psychiatric hospitals another.

The unnecessary complexity of the health care system, and laws that make it next to impossible to help someone who is not in control of their life, was brought on, in my opinion, by a group who feels that people have a right to die in that alley instead of being instatutionalized. This is a huge problem. When all those hospitals were closed years ago, many people were dumped on the street and died within the first few years of being released. With all the technology and people who really want to help others, we could have fixed the bad apples in the system instead of closing them. Good intentions failed so many due to a lack of common sense.

There have been many points in my life when I felt like giving up, but I’m to stubborn to quit. Each day I find at least one reason to keep going. Life is a gift, not a curse. It was given to you by your parents. It’s not yours to take. If your situation is bad, change it. Don’t say you can’t because that’s not true. You are the person at the wheel of your future. You have to steer around the obstacles, avoid the potholes when you can, and maintain your life. If you look around, you can find something each day worth living for.

For me its simple, a great sunrise, the smell of good coffee, the taste of fresh bread, the sound of running water, bird song in the warm spring sun, Vinny looking up at me begging for breakfast. These simple things make each day worth living. As you all have noticed, music is also inspirational to me. Here’s today’s music to live for.