We have just changed to a VOIP for our phone service. We have a Colorado Springs area code because all our family is there even though we are stationed in Alabama. I had just phoned my Uncle on Sunday and gave him our new number. I guess nobody else had it though. Our cell phones don’t get service in this little valley we live in. The cell phone usually beeps when I get on the road above our driveway and lets me know that people had attempted to call my cell when I was at home and left messages. My husband’s cell beeped for him this morning when he was on his way to P.T.
They had been trying to phone all day yesterday to let me know that my Uncle had committed suicide on Wednesday. I have written quite a lot about him at times because he is a Vietnam Vet who did two tours. He had the recruiter waiting at the house when my grandmother got home shortly after he graduated. He wanted to be a Marine and serve his country and fight communism but he was only 17 and his mom was going to have to sign. My grandmother freaked. This was her only son but it was obvious that he wanted this and was going to have it one way or the other so she called the recruiter a dirty dog (just about the only swearing my grandmother was capable of) and she signed.
My Aunt was very upset with him and told him to serve his country some other way but he wanted this. They married in between the two tours he did and he was wounded and came home. He came home with PTSD.
He still finished college in Fort Collins and worked for the Bureau of Land Management, later he would retire out of the Department of Energy. He hated this war, was a Democrat, and was very supportive of what my husband and I had been experiencing with my husband’s own PTSD though he had never gone to any kind of the same treatment as my husband just has. I know that he did do some EMDR therapy a few years back, but he still had hell sleeping.
He and his wife own a beautiful home near the Air Force Academy. They had just refinished the kitchen and put marble countertops in. You can eat breakfast staring at the Rockies every morning. He started a painting business about three years ago because he said it was low stress work and kind of Zen for him. He has been booked solid for the past two years by word of mouth. My Aunt is a nurse, and he put his daughter through college for nursing also. His son wanted to be an artist and he supported his son every way possible in his desire until my cousin made a living at it, which sometimes isn’t easy for artists He has bent over backwards to do all he could to make up for the loss of my mom (his sister). He gave me away when I married. He has loved me and hugged me through so much I have gone through with my son and he has wined and dined me to get me to take my mind off of my husband being in Iraq. When I spoke with my Aunt this morning she said that he did leave a note, and that he was sorry but he couldn’t go on and he couldn’t find a way to make it any better. He was sorry he was leaving her in charge of all of this. I felt calm as she told me these things. Then quietly she added that, “and we have another Vietnam Vet on our hands”. Those words crushed me. He had wanted to go back to Vietnam to a certain place where he had killed three men one day, he had told me that much. He wanted to make peace there. He went to Australia though this past year instead. I have read that 80% of what people share in a healthy marriage stays between them, so I’m sure that there are many ghosts and many wounds that I know nothing about and perhaps my Aunt will share some of that if it is relevant.
I find myself so ANTIWAR these days I can think of little else. His service will be at the Shrine of Rememberance in Colorado Springs and it is looking like Sunday but I don’t have a time yet. It will be in the Colorado Springs Gazette though and I hope that any Vet in the area who would like to come and honor one of their own will know that their attendance would be treasured. I fly out in the morning.
P.S. I just wanted to say thank you to sgilman for posting on the Mojo thread the other day how to place a photo on here. Because of that I have been able to share his picture fresh out of bootcamp. UPDATED………………………………….. *Services for Michael J Thompson will be tomorrow, Saturday June 11, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. at the Shrine of Rememberance in Colorado Springs CO*