They didn’t grow up in the same house, or even in the same town. They became brothers in one of the most lasting ways that someone can…by sharing the same battlefield…
This story of two best friends with two separate endings is one that is all too familiar in our Veteran community.
Throughout my childhood, I have always believed that a brother is someone you have grown with in the same house and shared the same toys, and even had the same friends. This is true for most people, but all the same, there are people who meet in their adult life and the life experiences shared together define them to be the closest of brothers. This is the story of Aaron and Ricky.
Both had a love for their country and made the sacrifice to fight and defend their country as Soldiers. Coming from different background, the two met in the battlefield, defending each other and their country with honor, dignity, and respect. You see, there is something about the battlefield that makes one change. When the battle is a matter of life or death and the person next to you is the closest one will get to family; hence, the strong bonds created by Soldiers during combat. It is here that one’s love for Country and friends is tested. With the brotherhood created through the sharing of the battlefield and watching each other’s back, Aaron and Ricky were practically brothers.
In as much as through resiliency they both made if off the battlefield and back to their loved one waiting for them on the home front. Living after the war required one to have a brother and family to help them get through the shared experience. Together, they would travel this path. As brothers, they would forever have each other’s back, and ensure that the experiences shared would never separate them.
But somewhere along this journey, something changed. No one is really sure when or why which is the hardest part of acceptance. For Ricky, the internal struggle became too much and he made his choice. For everyone, this came as a complete shock. How could his brother, the one he had shared good times, fought with, and was even willing to give his own life, make the choice to end his own? For many, we can never understand why a Soldier like him would choose such a path. Those left behind are often left struggling, wondering what we could have done to help.
In the wake of this grief is when we learn that success as a Soldier is not only about getting out of the battlefield, but also choosing to fight and live after the war. It is this point that we understand the concepts of PTSD, and begin to understand how it can affect us and those we hold dear. Aaron chose to live despite the grief as a way to show other that they too can choose to live.
“Et lux in tenebris lucet….. – and the light shineth in the darkness.”
It’s time to change the narrative. It’s time to let your life be the inspiration.