(Dedication for this essay goes to the anonymous soul who sent me the amazing gift of relaxation)
Give words of gratitude? A gesture that knows no bounds; it coaxes the eager patron and gifts him immeasurable joy.
I, being sound of mind and mending body, do revel in the juggernaut of compassion and support from my SOFREP family. I recall vividly when the offers for support first came barging in. The answer was simple: “I’m sorry but I don’t take charity.” That was the truth, and I simply didn’t know how to accept such gestures at the time—gestures from people I didn’t even know in “real life.”
Certified bad-asses tried to explain to me, to convince me to take the help, how it was NOT at all charity. I agreed with them weakly, more so to get them to shut up and leave me and my non-charity accepting self alone. They all caved in the by and by, for they were weak and I was strong; yes, Jesus loves me…
There came then that knock-me-over-with-a feather moment when I was finally convinced to accept the help that was being offered to me and my family. She was not a pipe-hitter, she was not a badass, she was a simple woman with a golden heart and grandiose expectations. She would ‘splayn it to me like I was five years old.
I listened to her beginning banter as it flowed, sounding for all the world like a bad recording—one that I amused myself with by finishing the sentences for the speaker. The speaker spoke on. The speaker finally let the JDAM* fall: (to the effect) “You know your three-part essay that you wrote some time ago about your experience with suicide… well, I tell you, it saved my life; I promise you it did.”
All the brow-beatings I had received on the subject up to that moment scrolled through my mind in an instant. I was putting together a puzzle of prose and this woman’s remarks were the impetus. I was getting it. I was starting to get it, and then I got it.
Nobody out there offering me assistance was of the charity mindset. They had all taken away something of value to them from my writings, my renditions of the good times and the bad—mostly the bad. There were never times when I was a caped hero saving the day, rather conveyances of my time kicking and scratching to make the cut in Delta each and every day, where one’s performance is judged daily without exception.
There came offers of vehicles when I lost my truck suddenly to no real cogent explanation. Those instances were received breathlessly, but not conducive to my then current situation. As far as being flabbergasted by the offers, no word in the English language serves better—flabbergasted; there can be only one.
Then there came the Ladies of SOFREP (LoS), that merry Band of Sisters, they. They are a thing at the very least; they are a force with which to be carefully reckoned with lest you drop your guard. They banded together and arranged formidable monetary donations, such that I was able to recover my losses and able to continue my struggle for my young children.
How do you accept that and not feel changed?
Up until these recent times, I simply had never experienced, never known generosity of such magnitude—you know? And with that, I never understood or knew how to respond to, let alone accept the level of generosity extended to me. I was stumbling clumsily about in new territory knocking over fine Chinese porcelain tea sets with my ass and hips.
I missed Halloween and Thanksgiving this year, opting to crap myself and longing to be able to roll over in my bed just one sweet and rewarding time during yet another sleepless night in a hospital bed for 36 days and nights. I dreaded the notion of Christmas on its way, without the wherewithal to produce decent gifts for those I hold most dear… bleah; this was going to be the worst Christmas ever.
I’m done already with this year’s X-mas shopping now, and am actually rather proud of the gifts I was able to arrange. Granted, this year took a sit-down with the First Daughter for a bout of creative thinking to tally the most sincere and conducive gift for each of my kiddos. I can’t wait until they shred the gay wrapping that so sloppily embraces them, thanks to a river of ribbon and an ocean of Scotch tape.
This I tell you with sincere thanks to my SOFREP family. Awww… this is going to be the best Christmas EVER (she exclaimed just before a commercial break)! Can I get a big “amen” to the notion that having all of your Christmas shopping done, and pride in your gift selection? I never took the holiday so seriously as I have this time around when I thought I might not be able to answer the bell.
Bell answered was answere: thank you, SOFREP family.
Where is gratitude? Gratitude is right here for the surgeons that looked at my wasted circulatory system on the 23rd of October, shook their heads, and in spite of their resolve that I should die during or before surgery, endeavored to persevere with their wrath and skill, saving my life long enough to at least worry about Christmas gifts.
Gratitude is here for my SOFREP family who made me a better life in my time of serious need. Gratitude can teach a body of 50 plus years that there are still important lessons to be learned. Gratitude is here with me and has no bounds, just as generosity leads the way by showing no vestige of a cap or plug—of limits to the left or right.
As long as generosity is endless, so will gratitude be. I embrace the very core of generosity because I have witnessed it these months with my own life. Life is pretty good, yes it is. I’ll not dwell ever on how much better it might be, rather, I will keep my pulse on how much worse it has been.
I am George Edward Hand IV and I acknowledge the compassion and generosity of my SOFREP saviors and family. Here’s to you; you are a class act! If I dare borrow some words from a very revered brother of SOFREP: I am your friend in words, and your brother in reality.
By God and with honor,
* Joint Direct Attack Munition; a 2000lb guided bomb used extensively in the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation.