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One of the Toughest Goodbyes I've Ever Had to Say

This piece was inspired by the relentless nightmare of my family and I watching my older brother fly off in a plane to serve in the armed forces in Vietnam in the 1960s. He survived, and is doing well, but was, of course, forever psychologically damaged by the experience. Weren't they all? And Afghanistan is no different! The sun, a wild florescent orange, had burned away the clouds, leaving what we poets tend to call - an ‘azure sky’, And, scented by a nearby field of corn, the breeze was soft, as I, quite unexpectedly, would feel me start to cry! Not the type to do so, I was clearly unprepared, as contradictory feelings had me searching for the – ‘why’... When I looked up and saw my brother, standing in the doorway of what I knew was racing him away to likely die! Both our folks and all our siblings, there to see him off, waving energetically, were weeping...as was I... And as the aircraft disappeared, for all - without a doubt - this was what we poets tend to call - ‘a tough goodbye’.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021




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Date: 8/31/2021 6:42:00 AM
Sorry to learn of his trouble with the emotional part of his life after his experience with the war in Vietnam. I had two brothers who served in WWII. One stayed state side because he had a problem with his ears and he did clerical work in Texas. The other brother was sent to North Africa and he never talked about it but I believe that he had what they call shell shock back then but now is called PTSD. He was always very nervous and anxious as long as he lived. Sara
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Mark Stellinga
Date: 9/1/2021 5:25:00 AM
Thanks for the note, Sara, luckily, this brother has come out of it fairly well, but one of my wife's brothers took close to 30 years to reach where he seemed to have put it all behind him. Tragically, when all is said and done, war usually seems to do more harm than good! Stay safe, Mark