by Clay D
You ask to keep the faith; I ask how could we? We are thrown to the wolves because we are dad, a product of toxic masculinity of the 90s as they put it. I’m 175k in debt due just to one year of fighting for my kids’ right to be happy. To prove that I am worthy, to prove that I am a good father.
I have been portrayed as the societal stereotype of an abusive, drunk, pill-popping, combat veteran. I have had my service questioned and suggested to no less than war crimes. I have had my Purple Heart thrown to the trash and ridiculed for fake injuries.
I have had so many close calls with suicidal tendencies amplified by this battle. Like your father I’ve been told more than once that “I’m lucky to get what I have.” Justice in family courts is nonexistent, family courts are a joke where lawyers and judges line their pockets.
My oldest has been told that I am a monster and that it is due to my service. She is told I am violent and don’t know any other actions, like love or compassion. She is told I don’t love her and never even wanted her.
You connected with your father when you enlisted. I left the teams for my first-born child.
It was my kids, like your father, that held me together. They pulled me back from the edge on more occasions than they will ever know. They helped me heal and recover the part of me that the wars so violently stole.
Thank you for your words and for showing the world what we all should already know. Kids need a father, and a father needs their children. I hope one day my kids will learn what you know.
Clay D is a father and veteran of 5 war zones with 9 combat deployments, 3 brothers KIA, and 1 Divorce. Most of his adult life was spent in the Middle East & South East Asia.