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Post   » Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:08 am

Thank you Jacqueline, I appreciate your concern, I know it is heartfelt. As I had written, the seasons are telling me it’s time to stop running; they’ve been dropping subtle clues, now they are thundering a message loud and clear. This will be the last time away for an extended period to anywhere that is far from home, if I even decide to return after initial trip.

This is a safe job, it is not Libya or Iraq, it is mostly in Kenya. Of course there is an element of adrenaline; it’s just something in me, I guess. I do know I have to learn to suppress it. No one outruns age, those I’ve seen try, do not end up well. I’ll check it out for a couple weeks to see if I can make a difference or if it’s just a paycheck.

I am fortunate that I now have the luxury of being able to choose something based on desire rather than need. I am blessed and grateful; I know how rare that can be. I originally thought this job would somehow set the record straight, balance the scales. I’ve thought that before and it wasn’t the case. My fault, I won’t get fooled again - I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul. WH

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Post   » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:27 am

"Set the record straight", "balance the scales"?

The truth is, GPigs, none of us can ever do that in our lives. I've always thought that one of the marks of maturity was the ability to live with regrets and guilts. It's a hard thing to do.

Sometimes it helps me to remind myself that at every point, I did the very best I could. Whatever the decision, at the time, I never once thought, "oh, let me do this thing that will really screw things up."

You've faced some things that are inhuman. I was never prepared in seminary to walk into the room of a baby with dreadfully fatal birth defects. I've seen, heard, and smelled things that I wouldn't even know how to talk about. But I COULD do it, because I had the talents to. And so I was there.

And being there in inhuman, cold dark places is often very solitary work. You keep alot of secrets. There's not many opportunities for reality checks, for seeing what others do/did in similar experiences. It's just you, and the darkness sometimes.

But that puts you ahead of the game, with the scales tipped way in your favor. When you, and others, run TOWARDS dangers and perils and needs, while others run away from it, it almost doesn't matter what you do when you get there. The fact that you're willing run towards the need outweighs most things.

I hope you can find a way to feel that the record doesn't need balancing, and that the scales have always been tipped IN YOUR FAVOR. I wish for you peace. And you have my gratitude for all your service. And my deepest admiration for the person you are. Always.

(Sorry for the caps. I messed up the italics tags.)


Post   » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:50 am

What happened to the Islamaphobia thread with the cartoon on how to diffuse the bullying a person of Muslim ethnicity? Am I missing it, was it moved? I would have sworn it was in this category.

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Post   » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:49 am

It is now a sticky so people can reread it if needed:

There are also some other super links too.


Post   » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:23 am

I don't know where to post this but, it's related to bigotry, hate, harassment I guess.

I went into a convenience store/gas station today to get a soda, and I’ll admit it, check their gas prices because we set ours between theirs and the station down the street the other way from us. Anyway, there was a small older man working the cash register and trying to sell lottery that I could tell had just begun working. He was very flustered. There was also the usual guy there who’s job I could tell was to help instruct him. He was being a dick. There was a line of about 7 people and the poor new man was getting more and more flustered as he was getting no real instruction, only sarcasm and finally a “I have to take my break now if I’m ever going to get one” from the other guy.

One small suburbanite on line who stank of I’m so full of myself was mumbling why can’t we get someone who knows what they are doing. This was getting me mad. Everyone deserves a chance and a little bit of patience is the nice thing when people are having a tough day. Finally I heard it. Fing towel heads come here and can’t even work a cash register. I lost my shit. I just totally lost it. I’m not even exactly sure what I said but I know there was a shut the F up or Ill shut you up. Rage. I wanted to throw him through the plate glass window but he was this little weasel of a shithead. If he was bigger, I think I may have.

He took off and 2 others on line did also. I waited and when I got to the counter said to the man in his mid sixties don’t worry about it, everyone has to learn and you’ll get it. He thanked me in an oh so familiar accent and it hit me. I know this. It was a Pashtu accent and he was obviously Pashtun, he had on a Pakol (sp?) the hat worn in Northern Afghanistan. I asked where he was from? Yes he was. The Snapple delivery guy had kindly left about 20 cases of drinks outside the door of the store instead of bringing them inside while we had all been on line so I went out and brought them in for him while he waited on others.

I talked to him a little after all people people wee clear of register. I learned he was rather remarkable, as I suspected. Pashtun people are remarkable. They are collectively the most ethical people I’ve ever met, loyal, and they fight like tigers.

To try and make a long story short I learned he came to America several years ago, became an American citizen fewseveral months ago. We had a little trouble understanding each other but that’s ok. He fought the Soviets, fought the Taliban and helped the GI’s. I told him I was a GI. He asked me branch battalion company etc, and knew exactly where I was when I had been in his old part of the world. I asked about his job and he said it was good bad he just started but was worried he wasn’t doing well. I said but no one is helping you. He didn’t want to say anything bad but I then said they suck don’t they? Yes very much suck.

It just popped into my head, knowing he would only be paid minimum wage I asked if he wanted to double his salary and come work with us. Some confusion about double but when he understood, the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. He asked when he could start and I said right now. He took off the stupid apron they made him wear, we walked out and the other guy who was supposed to be helping him yelled where are you going and he replied aways.

I brought him to our shop, got him a time card and showed him the shop, trucks, yards etc. I don’t know what he’ll do yet, we don’t have a store. At worst he’ll be the highest paid gas pumper around but I am certain he is much smarter. He has a drivers license so I’ll see about having him drive maybe. It’s the very least I can do and the truth is he’s doing more for me than I am for him. At an age when most people are retiring, he’s just beginning. He helped our country, hell he may have helped me. Just have to get my brothers to friggin tow the line, or else…… I’m just sorry now I brought in the cases of drinks.

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Post   » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:33 am

You're a good guy. We should send people to your gas station :-)

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:25 pm

Good job, GPIG!


Post   » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:43 am

A friend, a brother really, who I met in Iraq around the first gulf war took his own life today. When I trusted no one, I trusted him. When I was alone and felt I had no friends, he was a best friend. My family and I were his family, the only family he had, we weren’t enough.

I just don’t get suicide. Someone with everything, intelligence, sense of humor, capable (the best at what he did and what he did was complicated). He saved my physical life, that’s the least of it. He saved my spiritual life, my family life. I owe him everything and at the end of the day I let him down because I couldn’t help him when I knew he needed help. If I didn’t try it would just be regret but I tried as hard as I could. I failed, I failed him, myself and my family.

EP is absolutely devastated. They developed a very close bond recently. They became best of friends and family, like a daughter and father should be. I wasn’t jealous, I love them both that much. I am seriously worried about my daughter. He made it to her graduation, I think if not for her graduation he would have done it sooner. The pain on his face was noticeable like I’d never seen before. I asked, begged him to stay with us but he wouldn’t. I think he just wanted to make it to her graduation and then do this. He talked to her afterward for quite a while but EP can’t even get out what he told her other than he loved us all. I think she is blaming herself for not being aware and not doing something to help him. This is the second “family member” she became close with who has died in an unnatural or violent manner recently. My wife had to sedate her, and my wife is not a doctor that believes in casual use of sedatives.

This has to stop. There is an epidemic. When such a disproportionate number of any one group are killing themselves there has to be a reason. If there’s a reason there has to be a solution.

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Post   » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:40 am

I am so sorry, GPIG.

For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:28 am

I'm so sorry GPIG. It has to be a devastating experience for your family. I do not agree that you failed him. I can think of 3 psychiatrists in the medical school Psychiatry Dept. where I worked who committed suicide. I know for sure that two of them were known to have affective disorder problems - it was no secret. The third was the head of the department. Sometimes you just can't stop it. I'm sure you feel terrible. I would. But you didn't fail him.

What I find to be really sad is the fact that treatment resistant depression is still so common. There is so much doctors still don't understand about the brain & psychiatric disorders. I think the psychiatry field is decades behind other areas of medicine in large part because the brain is so hard to study. And you can't do a CT scan & see depression or schizophrenia or see if treatment really worked.


Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:44 am

Thank you. I will always regret not doing more even though I don't know what I should have done. I should have found out though. He was my responsibility because I was his. He was most always my "second" a very misleading term. In reality, he made decisions, he said send it, I sent it.

He left us a note, a will. He left his things to me, his m money to my two kids. He asked they stop their sibling rivalry for him. They decided to get together and leave the mosey he is leaving them to some type of veteran suicide prevention. They need to work together to find the appropriate group. I need to find a way to have some type of memorial, a lasting remembrance for him. Not sure yet. He wished to be cremated.

For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:44 pm

I reread your first post & I think I'm reading that this relationship was beyond friendship. He had your back. You had his. I can see how that would make this so very hard.

I have a friend who's dad was a WWII vet. He committed suicide - I'm not sure how long after the war that was. My friend said it was because of the war - what we now call PTSD. You'd think/hope there would be more progress on treating this at this point. One interesting thing I read some years ago: man-made disasters are more likely to cause PTSD that natural disasters fwiw.

Thinking about you & Erin.


Post   » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:24 am

Thanks Bookfan, Yes, he had my back in life. He was just the person I always looked to for everything and he never took advantage of it. I tend to not trust people but with him I never worried, it was never a thought. I admire loyalty more than any other quality and he had it in spades. He once told me you give and you get loyalty from your friends but you have to give it first, you put yourself out but when it happens it's worth it.

I was so comfortable taking direction from him and I don't take direction well. He had my ear about anything and everything, quietly, humbly and I can't understand why someone I think is the greatest person in the world couldn't see their value.

PTSD, Some years ago I used to dread the oncoming of the night. A foreboding feeling of anxiety. In the service we would say, we own the night. We chose to do many things at night and I think in combination with what happens when sleep comes and the feeling that night was when we would operate, night becomes a double whammy.

I wish the branches would begin to do something for soldiers while they are still active. To prepare for a transition from a world that lacks some basic rules of society back into society that now becomes harder to navigate than before.


Post   » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:42 pm

People come and go, some accomplish great things and we call them giants. My friend didn't accomplish the things that make history but I know I walked with a giant among men.

We always said goodbye by saying I love you. I know that's not the "manly" thing to do but I'm grateful we never cared about stuff like that. We didn't leave it unsaid. I hold onto that now.


Post   » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:53 pm

Gpig, I'm brand new to the forum and just read through this thread. I have a strong feeling that your friend would also describe you as a giant among men. I wish I had words of wisdom for you, but I don't. Please just know that I care about you and your family; please take care of yourself. The world needs people like you.

And when I come across a situation like yours in the convenience store - I will remember your example.
I am certainly not a person who will ever grace the chapters of a history book, but like you and your friend - I'll write some justice into the history of an individual human being.


Post   » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:10 pm

Jatean, thank you. That is so very nice of you to say. I post things sometimes not really expecting people to read them rather it's a way for me to organise my thoughts and make sense of them. That you made the effort to make a stranger in pain feel a little better says an awful lot about you.

I think you are well on your way to writing some justice for individuals. I think it was Mark Twain who said you're never wrong to do the right thing. I've failed more often than I've succeeded but I keep trying. It's comforting to know there are people like you out there trying also.

All the best to you always, and again, thanks so much. A small thing to some I'm sure, but it meant a great deal to me at a time where not much makes sense.

And welcome to Guinea Lynx.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:52 am

GPIG, I'm so sorry about your friend. It's hard to lose a friend to something that can't ultimately be helped, and infinitely worse to lose one to suicide. Please don't beat yourself up -- it's obvious that if there were something that could have been done, you'd have done it and been glad to do so. It's not your fault that you couldn't read his mind, people aren't mind readers.

I think it's great that your kids are giving the money to a veterans suicide prevention fund -- that's a very great honor to him.


Post   » Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:43 pm

Thanks Gpig. I guess we're just humans trying the best we can to make the world a little better. Take care.


Post   » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:35 pm

A late thank you batters, heartfelt just the same. I don't recall being hit so hard by a death, and it wasn't exactly a surprise. I have real bad parts of days, think of something funny or unique we did, keep very busy and move on until the next time.

I'm happy my kids are donating the money, happier they agree on something and are working together for the first time in a long time. They are also helping each other through this. Everyone who got to know Master Sergeant William Rollinson (Como) liked him very quickly. My kids adored him. He just din't let many people get to know him and he was painfully shy. I believe he thought long and hard about the money and that they would have to work together to make the best of a bad situation.

Despite EPs view through rose colored glasses of her relationship with her brother, they do not get along. Proud of each other but it is very often ugly.Como knew how that pained me. Always looking out for me, still.

Yuo jatean, trying.


Post   » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:56 pm

Oh I missed this thread! GPIG I am sorry! And I remember doing exactly as your daughter did for her birthday at that age. I didn't understand nor will I ever because I am not a parent; but you and your wonderful wife raised a confident beautiful daughter, and this perhaps is just another step at spreading her wings so she can fly. You and your wife are great parents, and she will fly in as you will always leave the porch light on for her.

My head has been a scrambled egg mess lately so I hope my post wasn't scrambled. I also admire you for your service to your country and the many sacrifices you and your family has made.

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