Words Unspoken
So many struggle to tell their stories
Yet as i listen and try to put their stories into words
I have to see the emotion in their eyes
Is it great sadness or great memories
Watching their hands
As they clench them into a tight fist
Or silently place a hand over their heart
Or a moment they look away
Total silence
Protecting themselves
Hiding that hidden emotional time
They want to share but can’t quite yet
So it comes out in bits and pieces
The few good times
Snipers, explosions, booby traps, or full out assaults.
Witnessing the stone cold face
Eyes filled with emotion
Fists clenched in hate
Describing in a quiet voice
We picked up the pieces
Loaded the wounded and dead
As orders came down
Move out now

It is all inside these Brothers and Sisters
There is no way I can give justice to
The scars buried deep inside them
There is no way i can truly describe
The loss and pain they had to choke on
While moving out to complete their missions

Or the times they slump down, their eyes vacant
And I know they are no longer here with me
They left me for another time and place
Leaving me wondering
Are they remembering the good times
Or the hell faced
Knowing when I lose someone I can weep
I can mourn the loss
I can heal
I can pick up the pieces and move on

They couldn’t do any of those things
Or more lives would be lost
More bodies torn apart
Some hearts and minds damning God for not taking them
Instead taking their Brothers and Sisters.

There is no way you or I will ever be able to walk a mile in their boots
Or heal their wounded hearts and minds
Or make their bodies whole again
Some of their stories many never be told
Until they are gone and I am gone
And someone else reads the stories left behind
About the life and death struggles
In the life of a Wounded American Warrior
By a humbled daughter, sister, wife and mother

Loretta Riddell ©2014\9\3

I cannot walk a mile in your boots
Yet you touched me
Your pain reached inside me
I can never make you who you were
Instead I accept you as you are
Sometimes here, other times there
With them again
Reliving your kill or be killed war
I will be here waiting silently
For your return to Today

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Comment by Tsoi Tawodi on April 2, 2015 at 4:02pm

Thank you Loretta... I was a Corpsman (medic) with the Marines and served in Viet Nam 68-69. I do understand your words and of the 48 guys in my medical class in 1966 only 3 of us came back breathing. I have worked over the years to help my fellow vets no matter their MOS...we are, like the Native community, all family. Always know that it is people like you that aid our own healing, our own being a 'part of' rather than apart from...this is what you achieve with your efforts. For some the pain will be in the forefront until their earth walk is done, others of us put it on a shelf, but never does it completely leave and yet these are lessons learned. My experience has helped me see what our own people went through when the settlers came and our young and old warriors paid the price to keep a way of life alive. I had so much anger when I came home, but my elders and the People have brought me to a good Red Road once more a long time ago. All are warriors and yet so are the ones like you. May we all fight to be a people, united in love, letting go of hate and seeing the beauty in life. Love and hate are both four letter words. One heals, one destroys.
Look into a still pond, or your mirror and you will see reflected there the greatest gift the Divine One gives you along your earth walk.
Equa Wado for your heart and spirit...you add much to the life of us veterans and this site.

Comment by Loretta Riddell (Elohi) on April 2, 2015 at 12:41pm

Thank you so much for you kind words.. My Soldiers and Veterans have faced so many trials..
and some of their stories I cannot share until they are no long living or explain why their wars have never ended .. Being married to a Nam Medic I have witnessed the affects of everything that happened when medi vacs were shot down twice in his time there..I could not walk away from someone I love, many I know never walked away but some did and chaos ensued..Losing some who took their own lives and I swore I would do what I could at anytime I was needed.. I still hear their stories, some I edit for them and they are shared, others remain untold...but the ones who speak to me I at times see relief in their eyes.. because they know I know and I accept them as they are now, angry, hurt, sad but trying and relaxed because they know they are not being judged by someone who will never understand..

Comment by Tsoi Tawodi on April 2, 2015 at 11:47am

Powerful and true words Loretta and it is sites like this, words like yours that take us to that place of beauty and unconditional love that a healing might begin, that seed planted and growth may happen. Wado for your insights and the gift you have with words.

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