Every drop of hot water was soothing as they rained down upon my body. I lay on the shower floor, staring as drop after drop slid down the side onto the ground. Each drop became the representation of the passing of time. I lay there, physically exhausted, and mentally attentive. Why I was there seemed unknown. I just felt compelled to place myself there, the place I have always found some peace. The falling water always soothed my soul.
I lay there and let my mind wander as it wished, letting go of any notion I even had a choice. I lay there and watched each drop swell and fall. I lay there and thought about the significant loss and subsequent funeral two months prior. I thought about the lifeless body of our furry companion only a few weeks prior. I thought about the difficult decision when her pain surpassed her quality of life. I thought about the funeral I attended the week prior–a woman on the precipice of becoming a centenarian. The almost empty funeral a symbol of all those lost when one lives for so long.
I lay there and thought about the funeral to come. I thought about my friend’s withering body riddled with cancer. I thought about our conversation a few hours prior. I thought about all that he had done, all that he had accomplished, and all that he was going to leave behind. I thought about how we sat and spoke about all the bodies I had watched wither away from cancer. I thought about how this man, decades older than I, had been asking me about all those I had watched wither away.
I lay there and realized I cannot even remember how many people I have watched die. I cannot even remember every funeral I have attended. I lay there and realized how young I am. I thought about how full my life has been, but how such a full life brings such great losses.
Jake Smith is a law enforcement officer and former Army Ranger with four deployments to Afghanistan.
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.