Heart turned hard, emotionally scarred. I tried to get past this but it’s so fucking hard.
My pain is evident yet so blissfully hidden. From events that took place in a place long-ridden.
Tear-stained cheeks from wounds not physically seen. I’m fine I say but deep down it’s not what I mean.
Daytime is easy because I can stay busy but when nightfall reigns I once again struggle with the pain.
Silence torments me and robs me of peace. Thoughts come flooding in, flashbacks, and vivid memories fester, anticipating release.
The fear, the scenes, the smell, all bursting through as I silently experience my own personal hell. Yet I carry on forth and insist that I’m well.
Oh, how I wish I could forget it all yet nothing can erase what I experienced and saw. Flag-draped coffins and memorial photos on walls. Yet I was expected to continue on strong, standing tall even as I internally withdraw.
A piece of me died yet when we returned I lied and maintained my pride in order to hide the pain deep inside. Do I really want to forget? No, because I cherish the people I met. Some of them died but I try my best to keep their memory alive.
Now in the silence when everything shuts down I scream into my pillow and in my tears, I drown. The bloodshed, the sacrifice of the dead. Fallen Heroes keep our flag flying high with every last breath.
I will never be the same I know this is true yet I’m a Soldier and warrior so I have to pull through. I can do this I say. I say that I’m fine. No one can know this personal war of mine.
I keep on going and try with all of my might to battle through each night. So I can face another day and honor my comrades who lost their lives in the fight. I cannot let them down, I won’t allow myself to. I’m a Soldier and a Warrior through and through.
-Diana Monique Soriano
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on September 6, 2021.