As the days went by and I couldn’t see, I despaired. What was I going to do? I was a worthless piece of meat.
I replayed the attack over and over, a million times a day. And a million times a day I wished I was dead. I wished that the mortar round had taken me out. It had done something worse: it had robbed me of my spirit, my soul, myself.
I was angry, mad with the world and with God. I cursed Him and pushed my faith away.
I slunk deeper and deeper in my chair each time Evelyn wheeled me around the ward. I was done.
“What’s wrong with you?” she snapped at me one day as we returned to the room.
“You don’t understand,” she said. “Every time I wheel you around there are people watching you, parents. If you could only see their sons. They’re kids. Kids. They don’t even look old enough to vote. There is so much damage – traumatic brain injuries, missing both legs, an arm and a leg. They can’t eat. They’re in comas. Guys that have never been married. The parents – to have their kids just be blind – they would trade places in a heartbeat with us. The parents look at you and wish their loved ones could have what you have.”
What did I have? I could breathe on my own. My left arm was messed up but rehabilitation would bring it back. My hand was usable. My legs were weak but still worked. I could hear. My memory was intact.
My only problem was that I couldn’t see.
I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed that I was willing to despair, rather than fight.
“I’m going to turn it around,” I told Evelyn. “I’m going to turn it around.”