I’m writing you this letter, a letter to express something of importance that we’ve never discussed. A discussion never taken place, because I’ve never truly been able to say how I felt. I’ve spoken it before, in hopes to speak it into existence. Lied enough to others in an attempt to make it so. But the words I spoke were never pure. Pure from a heart of peace. In fact, not because I lacked the expression but the love. The love I have for you Drew.
For so many years, you carried shame and embarrassment as to what war did to you. Questioning whether you were lesser of a man, Marine, warrior than that of your peers. You thought of your brothers, franticly digging through rumble in search of Marines only to find body parts, those aiding the wounded, and most of all, gruesome task of placing their friends-brothers in body bags.
Returning home, brotherhood faded into isolation and dark thoughts. Writing became a lifeline, however writing wasn’t the hardest part. Sharing "One Day" liberated you in many ways however was only the beginning. Heartfelt praise by your peers was overwhelming and humbling. You looked upon yourself as a Marine simple trying to cope with combat. Not an inspiration. Not a voice. Not even an artist. But you were, to many. As you went on speaking and performing, within minutes unfamiliar faces became brothers and sisters, a relationship bonded through words, born from pain. Ugly blossomed into beauty. You and many like you became "A Rose Grew From Concrete."
Love never came easy for you Drew. Vulnerability calls for courage. “Letter to God” solidified you from stepping out from the darkness to the light. And in many ways a beginning of a new chapter, a chapter free of rage and hate. Day of the suicide bombing a part of your soul was lost. Proclaimed your hate to God, life, and your very existence. Your self-hatred and rage towards everything only deepen over the years. Survivor’s guilt would take a drastic toll; however also prove to be your savior.
A permeant solution to a temporary pain. Taking your own life plagued your mind more times you can count. From the first night after the IED attack, awakening to Taliban fighters choking you. Followed home, haunted by your conscious refused to be in a dark room. Sleepless nights, more so, days deafened by a mourning mothers cries. Sounds that would induce tears and panic attacks while sitting in classes. You've shed tears, more than one man should but perhaps those tears weren't yours alone. But that of your brothers, you carried a heavy heart. The same trigger of women crying would bring a dear friend into your life. A life revived by purpose.
Powerful lessons learned from amazing people in your life. Family to friends. And friends who became family. Maintaing relationships has always been a battle. Playing a larger role in your sisters lives, more supportive son, grandson. Has always been a role you'd like to improve. Women you’ve dated and still hold unconditional love for. To the ones you deeply care about, you'd like to gift the world to them. You'd like your pockets to be as a large as your heart, but its not. And that’s ok. When it was your time to provide. You did. The best possible way you could. You learned so much. The ability to share, more so, open your heart is a world of wealth.
In order to give you must first posses. Take your time. Breath. You feel as if your behind in life. My friend; success is measured in experiences, love, gratitude, and legacy left behind. Life has been a journey, lessons learned. It only began for you once it nearly came to an end by your own hands, not at war. Dark years are becoming clear. Pain provided possibility. Words gave you hope. Speaking hope into others granted you peace. Peace lost so many years ago. Continue on the path, help those lost along the road. Stay true. Remember purpose... And most of all, if you're going through hell keep going.