My Brother’s Fall
While stationed in Iraq during operation Desert Storm, my brother, Gerald, was lost for two weeks. Officially, it was claimed he was captured by the Republican Guard and tortured before managing to escape. The condition of his body when he was found helped lend credence to the explanation. Lacerations, broken bones, and all sorts of other physical damage covered him from head to toe.
He never recovered from the experience. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after six months in a military hospital. When he was sent home, he began to display signs of Gulf War Syndrome. Years passed and his wife, Leah, cared for him as he weakened. His cognition, memory, and communication skills evaporated. Before he died last year, the brother I loved had been reduced to a gibbering husk. In his final moments, as Leah and I looked on, we were ready for his suffering end.
Then something happened, causing me to jump and Leah to gasp.
For the first time in eight years, Gerald expressed clear, articulate words:
“I fell in a hole.”