Late one evening my cell phone rang. It was a brother who never called, we always kept in contact via texts or met to practice our long-range shooting. He is a good man and a Veteran of many a shitty go.
“Hey man what’s up?”
“Thank you for answering”
“Dude you okay?”
“No, and no one else is answering their phone. No one in my family is answering, so I called you.”
“Always here, brother.”
He told me his demons were catching up and overtaking him. We talked for over two hours. I made sure he knew how much he meant to me as a friend and a fellow Veteran. He got a lot of stuff off his chest that night and we hashed out a lot of shit.
Then he hit me with this
“If you didn’t answer, I probably wasn’t gonna be here tomorrow. You were my last hope.”
I told him how pissed off at him I would have been if he wasn’t around. I also told him how I would always answer my phone and that I shouldn’t be his last hope. I should be the first number he called when shit was getting tough because he would be my first call when my demons came looking for a scrap. I made sure he was safe that night. I even offered to drive the three-plus hours to sit with him. He declined my company but said he was much better and thanked me for answering again.
That night, I made him promise that if his demons were getting to him he would call me. I made him vow that before he thought of hurting himself he would reach out to me and we would boot fuck those demons together. I also told him he had to call me in the morning and let me know he was okay. If he didn’t call I would be in my truck driving out there to kick his skinny ass for making me worry.
Almost 4 years later, he is still here, still fighting, and now realizes he can win this battle and that he is not alone in this fight. He has a fire team partner by his side and when two old Patricia’s team up nothing can defeat us.
Are you a Canadian Veteran in crisis or concerned about one?
Call 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a mental health professional right now. A confidential and free service available 24/7 to Veterans, former RCMP members, their family members, or caregivers.
Are you a U.S. Veteran in crisis or concerned about one?
Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves. Call 988 then Press 1 or Text 838255
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on March 18, 2021.
Jay is a Retired Canadian Army Sgt, who served 25 years to Queen and Country. He has multiple deployments both foreign and domestic including the Balkans and Afghanistan. When not smashing keys on a keyboard, he coaches little league baseball and competes nationally as a Service rifle, Pistol, and Precision long-range shooter. Jay is an avid hunter and outdoorsman and married to an amazing woman and has two incredible kids. He ends his writing with “VP” (Victoria Patricia) and “88W out” (his vehicle’s call sign).
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.
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