I am sitting here in awed silence after my last two phone interviews. I don’t know if I’m gifted enough to impart the courage it takes for the men and women I’ve spoken with to come forward and share their stories. Stories of horrendous experiences survived by training to failure, learning to deflect, mastering the art of invisibility, or shutting down all that is human and humane within them to make it one more day.
I have tears in my eyes and no voice with which to speak, but my fingers fly across the keyboard in a silent whisper of love, respect and support that sounds remarkably like the clicking of keys. The tapping you would hear if you were with me is my promise that your story will be told, your service will not go unnoticed, your voice will be heard and it will matter to someone who is about to let go.
I will admit that I cry for us when I cry for you, speak for us when I speak for you, and my fury at your struggle is equalled only by my respect for your determination to crack the cement of silence and speak to those who still believe themselves to be alone.
Your experiences matter to us, as does your pain. Your fractured bones, broken homes and unsteady yet relentless progress forward gives us hope. Remember the silent and courageous mantra repeated inside that over-burdened soul you’ve carried all these years when the world told you over and again that you could not make it one more day…