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Soldier Boy. Saturday May 16, 2015

Last January severe storms swept across parts of the United States. Many people suffered, none more so than Moodscope user Di, who was unable to reach her beloved brother as he lay dying in a hospice many States away. We, and the people who write and use the Moodscope blog knew of this because Di told us through the comments facility. To some extent we were able to hold her hand and support her through it. She told us a little about her brother and the closeness she felt for him was obvious. She has now written this poem about him and for him. It is a sad poem, full of grief but also full of love:

A Casualty of War ~ Fifty years later

Standing six feet, five inches
An athlete, a saint to me, his baby sister
A poet, a songwriter, a musician.
A sometimes too-compassionate business person, a stand-up comic
Time tortures him as he works to block out childhood pains
He saves my life, not once, three times.

He runs...and runs...and runs some more...
With drugs,
with alcohol,
With women who help mask his torture though he is
gentle, and fiercely protective of them
And Christ.

He goes to war at eighteen
"For our country," says he
"Because Papa went," and he craves Papa's approval
It is an unquiet and complicated time.

Like many of our young when called into service,
Responding to guerrilla warfare and confronted by a small child
Strapped with explosives,
Running toward his squad,
He removes the child with robot-like coldness
He, a devoted lover of all children
Forty-five years later he finally tells me, his tag-along baby sister.

He returns to the United States of America
After Korea and Viet Nam
He is a wise, old man of twenty-two
People spit on him
Yell at him
No job
No creature comforts
Yet he is first to arrive to cradle me, his sister, upon the death of my only son.

Life runs away while
His path continues with seething harshness
Diagnosed with:
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
Agent Orange
Heart Disease
Hemorrhaging on the brain
Each contracted in Korea and Viet Nam
Between eighteen and twenty-two.

I watch
My heart on standby
I cannot breathe
Life's ending arrives
I sing to him
Three thousand miles separate us
I cannot get to him
to hold him as the physical body fades
Roads are shut down
Weather is severe.

For days and nights I call every two hours
A caring assistant places the phone to his ear
I hear his efforts to speak
His moans, his breath
He is comatose yet cries a single tear upon hearing my voice and
His favorite song
I sing more
And more
And then I cannot stop singing.

And laughing
I cannot stop laughing as I
Once again,
Remind him of the time he dropped me, putting my head through the television screen when we were little
And the samurai sword that impaled his foot to the wood floor of our home
After calling me for help he has to pull it out himself because
Upon seeing the fountain of blood arcing upward
I have fainted.

I sing all the songs he begged for as a child
As the last unsteady note fades with my breath
I know
God is watching
My brother's spirit is finally free.

A Moodscope member.

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Sally Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 6:50am

Utterly beautiful, Di. Says it all about close, loving relationships. Think I might feel inspired to try to write one of my loved who has suffered a fate which breaks our heart daily. I am no poet, no finder of words, but this has moved me to have a go. God bless you and your brother. His fate post Vietnam must have been the fate of so was so very cruel for everyone. Vivid images still flash through my mind often of what we saw on TV.

Hopeful One Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 7:34am

Hi Di - my heart goes out to you. A brave man your brother ,a victim of circumstance, a loving caring affectionate compassionate sister he could not ask for more before and in his dying days. .He must have felt your love even in that terrible weather event when you could not see him,another victim of circumstance.A lovey poem ,a great tribute. You should be proud.

Anonymous Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 7:57am

Hello Di, have missed you being around and wondered how you are. I'm glad you have written! But it's more than writing, it's cracking open your heart on a page. It is so very, very beautiful! I would imagine many tears came as you gathered the words. What a brave, loving and patient man. I'm glad you have shown him to us. Much love to him and to you from the room above the garage xx.

Anonymous Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 8:11am

A beautiful heartfelt tribute to your brother and the love you shared. may he rest in peace Eve

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 8:24am

Dearest Sally ~
Never in my life did I feel the effects of a loved one's death so profoundly as my brother's. While I have lost many family and friends, it is this death that has me walking the darkness of your eloquent "...fate which breaks our heart daily." I wish you the courage to "...have a go." It is my belief we are all poets, we are all teachers, we are all sharers of the bond of humanity ~ if we can stay the course of true attention to the moment. Thank you for your inspiring thoughts. They are a great comfort. Please accept my deepest sorrow for your family's loss.

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 8:29am

Oh! our dear Hopeful One ~
Your words are uplifting and reassuring. Thank you for giving me, and our bonding community, the gift of your wisdom. Yes, I am proud of my brother in ways that defy explanation.

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 8:35am

Dearest Room Above the Garage ~
Such comfort you send about cracking open one's heart on a page. It has been a balm to show him to you each, and to share his journey. My personal struggles have been helped greatly by this community, although I daily wonder if I will ever take another breath. The pain is fresh & intense upon waking. I thank you, my friend.

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 8:39am

Yes, dearest Eve ~
No more pain, only peace. I will always have the love we shared as you say, and I thank you for your gentle words.

Sally Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 9:00am

Thank you, Di. Interesting what you say about us being all poets, all teachers and sharers of the bond of humanity. I have always felt the need to reach out to others (as was once so in need of being reached myself in my teens) and now I am no longer shy of doing so. It is only very rarely thrown back in my face...
I like " if we can stay the course of true attention to the moment". I seem to have heard something like this before... Does it come from any of the psychodynamic approaches...or is it your own reasoning verbalised. I must remember the phrase...xx

Julia Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 9:08am

What an amazing brother you had, still have. I always love that unbreakable bond and love an older brother can have for his a younger sister. Brothers are special. Did you get to the hospital in the end? What a cruel fate those storms were Di. I found your poem gripping.

Wendy Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 9:21am

So very moving - was holding my breath as I read the hard bits, and so very beautifully written, reliving the actions of a life, reliving with massive intensity the feelings that went with those actions. So glad you were with him, because you were, you know, you really were - he knew you in his space and you have a lovely brother / sister thing that, I know, is gold. Thank you.

Anonymous Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 10:17am

that was absolutely beautiful Di, what a wonderful tribute to your brother x

Anonymous Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 10:33am

Dearest Di, if compassionate tears can help ease the pain of grief, then your readers will have provided buckets to hopefully help you today. Thank you for introducing us to your exquisite brother. What a fine love story you have written! We cannot know why souls come onto this planet to live such profoundly challenging lives as he did…but all I do know is that it is unconditional love that transcends and survives it all. Perhaps it is this love that is the ‘why’. Your brother will never leave you. One day, when the poignancy of grief eases, you will hear his voice in your heart and laugh. Bless you both. susan xx

Anonymous Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 11:32am

Dear Di
Your words have touched me deeply and my heart goes out to you;
For me, grieving is like waves; sometimes they threaten to submerge you completely and leave you gasping for air; other times they lap gently round your feet; your outpouring of grief is an expression of deep love for your beloved brother. One day you will sing together ...
In the meantime I wish you peace of mind and heart ...

Mary Blackhurst Hill Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 12:12pm

Thank you Di, for writing that so beautifully. I am honoured to know you.

Anonymous Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 1:16pm

Stunning poem Di. A beautiful soul, that's you. Thinking of you muchly.

Oh you tears,
How I'm thankful that you run.
For though you trickle in the darkness,
You shall glisten in the sun.
The rainbow could not shine
If the rain refused to fall.
And the eyes that cannot weep
are the saddest eyes of all.

Charles MacKay

Anonymous Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 1:34pm

Love this - thank-you

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 5:18pm

My dear Sally ~ What a lovely gift you have to want to reach out to others and overcoming your shyness in order to do so. As for the source of my ref. to staying in the moment, I am certain it is not a new thought. Rather it is a compilation of many approaches perhaps reaching back to Zen Buddhism & Christianity. I find I must work to apply it ~ yet it is so worth it. Be well & I wish you & your family healing. Lovingly, Di

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 5:23pm

Dearest Julia ~
I was unable to get to the hospital 3,000 miles (km?) away with roads closed due to severe weather. His malaria meant he needed to be in a dryer climate (Oregon) while I was in humid tropical Florida. Otherwise he might have been with me. It was torture of a kind unknown to me. Thank you for calling him & reminding me he was " amazing brother you had, still have."

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 5:27pm

My dear Wendy ~
I, too, still hold my breath when I read it. It has been presented live in a concert setting with his nine nieces & nephews in the audience. I sang his favorite song.
Your reminder that indeed, I was there with him as he transitioned, is tremendously comforting. Yes, it is pure gold.

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 5:37pm

Dearest Anonymous ~
Thank you for acknowledging my brother's life. It means so much to honor him through this community.

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 5:51pm

My dear Susan ~
Your kind words make my heart fill to near bursting. It is my desire to hear his voice in my heart and to laugh with him, as you say, "...when the poignancy of grief eases..." May God & the Universe continue to bless us with your presence & wisdom.

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 5:53pm

My dearest Mary-Love,
Thinking of you, all for which you stand, and hope to become. Thank you for your fine writing and support. Our world stands daily better because of you.

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 5:59pm

Dearest Anonymous ~
Your gentle words are deeply felt across the pond at my lake refuge. "...For though you trickle (tears) in the darkness, You shall glisten in the sun..." makes my heart-strings live & sing again.

Perhaps the years of not weeping are now allowed to freely flow? I send you many blessings, courage, and thanks.

Arty Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 7:05pm

One of the most moving things I have ever read.

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 7:34pm

Dearest Arty,
I am grateful and free, in our remarkable Moodscope community, to thank you for your comment. I wish you blessings and awareness of each moment you live. Adeste animis (Latin meaning "have courage").

Di Murphey Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 7:42pm

My dearest Frankie ~
Your post indeed has caused new waves, though of comfort, to enter my heart & mind. I find this analogy especially meaningful (that of water) because my brother & I were both competitive swimmers. He also saved me from drowning as a wee child. I thank you for your deeply touching words. My heart is less sore.

Natori Moore Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 9:45pm

Very touching poem, thank you so much. It expresses all the grief and joy of life, with the scales tipped heavily toward the grief. Yet the thought for the day below it today is a good reminder to focus on the positive in it all, even when we run out of reasons to be optimistic. I liked that. It's not a Pollyanna positivity that pretends the grief doesn't exist. But knows that it does, expresses it in achinging beautiful poems like this one, and then goes on in the most balanced way one can.

Anonymous Sat, May 16th 2015 @ 10:08pm

Sleep peacefully I hope Di. When you wake, know we're here. Love ratg x.

Anonymous Sun, May 17th 2015 @ 12:25am

Oh Di that made me weep! I too have a brother who I love deeply, and whose life's path is far from smooth. God bless you.

Di Murphey Sun, May 17th 2015 @ 3:15am

Dearest Natori ~
Your expressions of understanding are pause for reflection in a confusing and harried world. There is so much positive upon which to focus as you state. Thank you for your post. Blessings to you & your loved ones.

Di Murphey Sun, May 17th 2015 @ 3:27am

Dearest Anonymous 12:25am May 17 ~
It is with gratitude and a sense of validation that you shared your reaction to my brother's journey. I will pray for your brother whom you love deeply and whose path is far from smooth. Thank you, from my heart. May God continue to bless our world with your presence.

Leah Sun, May 17th 2015 @ 6:18am

thanks for your evocative poem. Everyone has already expressed better that I can, I hope the poem has helped you in some small way. I was away from the computer so have only just seen your poem now. I don't know you at all online, but am honoured to have read your poem and your kind words to others. Leah

Anonymous Sun, May 17th 2015 @ 4:35pm

Dearest Di,
Because of your amazing poem and courage to tell us about your grief, my tears flow, heart strings are tugged, memories flash by of my own brother, who is in an agony of his own, but will not share or speak to me and I am lonelier than ever without him in our lives.
Thank you for sharing. Not all of us can be so eloquent.
Keep your brother alive in your heart and in the minds of all those who loved him.
Karen x

Di Murphey Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 3:56am

Dearest Leah ~
You are welcome, my friend. Yes, writing this has been deeply healing for me ~ and sharing my brother with this community has richly enhanced his memory for me.

Di Murphey Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 3:59am

Dearest Karen ~
Keep the course of faith and I will pray that your brother will seek you out soon. He will need a base from which to navigate the rest of his years. "I have but one duty, that is to love." - Camus
I wish you blessings & courage.

Anonymous Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 9:15am

My heart goes out to you, the pain and love you have and have had obvious to all. Thank you for being able to share this with us. xxx

Silvia A Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 4:51pm

Di, it is so good to see such a love in family. My parents both came from large family and they have such a beautiful love to their sibilings.
Sally, I hope to see a poem of yours.

Di Murphey Wed, May 20th 2015 @ 11:24am

Dearest Anonymous,
You have become family. Moodscope. I love you.

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