Tim Bone

Loss, Lost, and Losing

Over the last two weeks…

… beginning with my friend and fellow Marine R.C., whom I wrote about here on the IWVPA as being shot while intervening in an assault on a woman by two thugs, the following has happened:

  • My friend of many years, Bob, was killed when his new truck plowed into a tree on the divider area of the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.
  • Anthony, a friend of ten years, had a near miss with a deep and severe ear infection nearly infiltrating his brain, but is now recovering, although slowly and with a great deal of discomfort. He does seem to be out of life threatening danger, hopefully and thankfully.
  • Rick, a close and important friend and influence on the positive side of my life, has six good months, and perhaps one year at the outside to live. He has inoperable, end stage Cancer, spread throughout his body.
  • Barry, a high school friend and also the brother of Joe, another very close friend from all the way back to high school, died earlier this week. The circumstances are unknown to me at this time.

All of these men, along with those I will mention below, were, at the most, in their early 50’s. Some even younger.

I write of these things here because the few people I maintain personal contact with are in at least some of these cases, and a few in all, directly involved with the loss themselves, and I don’t know where to turn without feeling that I am imposing my own feelings on others who have similar ones to deal with.

All of my Marine Brothers I keep in touch with have R.C.’s close call to feel themselves, as well as our loss of Kenny T., Bobby W. and Steve G., all to Cancer over the past few years from exposure to Chem/Bio in Nam.

Suicide is an issue with me. I have dealt with it head on for many years now, after a serious attempt from which I still have no idea how I awoke alive and in one piece. These last few months, I have been losing ground with it. Selfish as it is, or at least as people say it is, I am struck with a bad feeling of being ever so close to pulling out. I have tried to be there for my friends who have ultimately died, and I still am doing my best to stay close to those who are dying now. I always seemed to have the ability to stick close, while many others could not. I don’t judge anyone for what they can or cannot do. I only know that for myself, it is becoming so hard to deal with all of this, and it is playing into my own set of problems, which on their own are strong enough to bring me close to the decision to end my life. I feel, for the first time, that I can’t take this anymore.

I live in a constant struggle with imposing, severe, and hindering physical pain, and along with the P.T.S.D and related conditions, they seem to have defined my life for far too long. I keep waiting for the day when things ease up again for a while, but bridging that gap is taking longer than before, and requiring more and more to keep me in some relief.

My girlfriend has been the only one, outside of the Medicos, who themselves are restricted in many ways from offering the amount of help I need as things mount and go on and on, who had tried to keep me going until I can be better enough to return to a state where I am able to offer back a more balanced and equal amount of support and better times. But it’s been too long, and I can’t expect even her to keep up, let alone fully understand what this is like.

I apologize for taking up so much space with this. I just didn’t know where else to go with this, and I wanted to say something at least before I do what I think I’m going to.

To you all, my Brothers and Sisters, Be Well.

Searching, Finding, and Found

Since I posted my poem, “Loss, Lost and Losing”, I have had a series of mixed emotions. But first, I thank anyone who offered support, advice, and compassion toward me. Come to think of it, that probably includes everyone who wrote anything back.

Obviously, I am still alive, although I must and will admit that I came within no more that 15 seconds of not being here, last night. Reaching out so directly for help, like I did in the poem, is still very difficult for me. I can see where the poem appeared to be a final word… a goodbye, I also know that, while some of that may be true, there was another element there, not wanting to die, but being feeble at making that as clear as the goodbye interpretation.

For a while, it felt like folks were doing more to console those I would have left behind than addressing my dilemma. But I know that I can drift off into tunnel vision as well, and I probably missed the point more than once.

There is a poem I wrote while still on the Magical Mystery Tour about all of this. I hesitate to post it, but I am going to, followed by what I now am able to see and feel much more clearly. Then, I’ll follow up with just a little more of a positive outlook I now have had time to reach.

The Poem:

A Final Lesson

I’ve learned a lesson here today
Of monumental size
That those who want compassion
Need but frown and criticize
Upon the one who’s struggling
Who’s pain is on the rise
And call him weak and selfish
Long before he really dies

I’ve learned a lesson here today
More than I wished to know
It’s easier to pat the back
Of someone who will show
Their anger at the falling soul
Who sees the arrow’s bow
Pulling back and aiming at
His heart, still beating though

I’ve learned a lesson here today
And just by saying that
There’ll be another round of words
Occurring tit for tat
An outpouring of sympathy
Will come in no time flat
Delivered to the one who slaps
This suicidal rat

I’ve found a lesson here today
The one you overlook
It isn’t life, but death I fight
I’ll give back what I took
I wouldn’t want to steal away
Your thunder, I’m no crook
But maybe it is me who stands
And you who’s on the hook

That was written three days ago. I have never held back a poem intended for the IWVPA until now. And now I realize why. No excuse here, but my pain was so great, both physical and all other ways, that I was needy beyond the highest level of help possible for any human to offer. There have been few and far between times when I’ve had a set of days like these have been. But that does not validate my reaction. I suppose you could say I went temporarily deaf, dumb and blind to all but the pain, and I wanted someone to remove it. But, that is not how it’s done, not how it works.

Deep inside, there is a lot of sadness, outrage, frustration, anger, hurt, fury, and yes damage in me. I’m certainly no holder of the deed to all of those things. Most of us have them.

I realize now once again that I am here to learn, and like most students, I’ll need some of the Lessons repeated over and over again before I catch on.

I am, with all hope that I don’t betray any confidence here, going to say one more thing.

Robin is my girlfriend. So, this ‘Ben’ name she has used to respect and keep my privacy is over. I am Tim, who Loves Robin. She and I have had a seriously rough couple of days. We weren’t able to be together, although she is on her way over here tonight as I write this. I’m sitting here in a busload of pain, but I will handle it now. I’ll handle it because of her. Nothing she brings, nothing she has… just because she’ll be here. (Although I’m told there’s some food coming anyway, and I am a Marine, so I guess I’ll be eating.) Most of you know her, but then again, you don’t know her like I do. Inside Robin beats a Pure, Rare, and Honest Heart. I know of no one who has beat back her demons, struck back and defeated at her damaging parts, and become the person she was born to be like she has.

She also has the ability to laugh at life as it dishes out what we all know is a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Robin, I Love You. Let the world know it. As for me, well… there are some valid points which keep me from being as open, verbal, trusting, and maybe even as Loving as I wish to be. That must change.

So I thank you all, my Brothers and Sisters for being there for every ounce of encouragement and even the occasional kick in the ass. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me, but I guess the thing to do is wait and find out. My Final Lesson has yet to come, and with a little luck, won’t for quite a while.

Be Well.

This poem and article prompted the heartfelt response, “I Don't Know” ©Copyright February 22, 2006 by Robin Amy Bass