Monday, October 12, 2009

One Moment

I was given the heads-up about a walk-in just fifteen minutes before the scheduled appointment, and I had been taking a nap. After grumbling for a few seconds, I rallied: brushed my teeth quickly, fixed my hair, repaired my makeup (I'm a pro!), grabbed my oil and put my game face on.

After I called from the entrance to the men's spa and received acknowledgment from the client, I had to wait for a few moments, and I could hear his hesitant approach; he came around the corner, using a cane, taking careful steps with his twisted leg, his torso slightly hunched over, a huge smile on his face.

As we greeted each other, I shook his left hand, since he held the cane in his right.
While I guided him to the treatment room, I asked him a bit about his health history, and he explained he'd just come home from Iraq.

IEDs do massive damage, and those who survive them are usually permanently disabled, like my client.

Slightly halting speech from a brain injury, shrapnel and surgical scars all over his body, yet that incandescent smile that would not quit: tomorrow was his 24th wedding anniversary, and he was the luckiest man on earth.

Two healthy, happy children, an 8-month-old granddaughter he dotes on, and the love of his life still with him, by his side. His only regret that he couldn't bring all his soldiers home with him; two had lost their lives in the desert, and he told me he'd have gladly taken their place...a true hero.

If I can give to such a man even one moment of respite, a brief period without pain, and maybe an ear and a heart to listen to his story, I'm fulfilled.

I thanked him for his service, told him I was grateful for his sacrifice, and that the entire country is in his debt, but his response to that shook me. He told me I, and people like myself, those who are grateful and who love and appreciate the United States and know how good we have it here, are the reason he went to war. HE was grateful to ME, this wounded warrior, this hero. And I was left without words. Only tears.

29 comments:

cybrus said...

Wow - what a great story.

Yuri Orlov said...

Very cool! I'm glad you shared this!

TheUnpaidBill said...

Great story Christina.

Christina LMT said...

Thank you, cybrus, Yuri, Bill. I still feel anything I put on here is inadequate to accurately express my emotions, but I tried.

SCI-FI said...

(speechless)

:O

Amazing story. And huge props to you for having presence of mind to thank him for his service...

Christina LMT said...

Thank you, SCI-FI. I ALWAYS thank service people I work on. ALWAYS. It's the very least I can do.

Brigid said...

Your words I'm sure, stayed with him, as will his, with you.

Thank you for sharing that with the world.

Jay G said...

Wow. Just wow.

Thanks for sharing this with us, Christina.

Christina LMT said...

Brigid and Jay, I really had no choice but to write this, and I thank you for your kind comments.

dick said...

"He told me I, and people like myself, those who are grateful and who love and appreciate the United States and know how good we have it here, are the reason he went to war. HE was grateful to ME, this wounded warrior, this hero."

That's the God's honest truth.
Glad you could put a smile on his face.

Christina LMT said...

Thank you very much, Dick. Coming from a veteran as yourself, it means a lot to me.

Buck said...

Dick beat me to it... I was gonna quote the exact same passage. Your hero's attitude is shared among ALL warriors... it's not uncommon at all.

Good on ya for sharing the experience, Christina.

Christina LMT said...

Thank you, Buck. Remember, come to Vegas and the massage is on me!

Sean said...

Well done miss - and I guarantee you that your words meant something to him.

Christina LMT said...

Thank you, Sean. I appreciate your comment.

Miz Minka said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Just WOW. Thank you for sharing this hero's story with us, Christina.

*all choked up*

Christina LMT said...

Thank you very much, Miz Minka. I choked up several times during the massage and after, and certainly when I was writing this. I find it sad that you almost never hear about these heroes in the media anymore.

Zelda said...

Real tears on this one. I'm so humbly grateful and devastated by our sacrifice of these our very best.

Christina LMT said...

Zelda, it cuts pretty deep.

Maxx said...

An important post indeed!
Thank you for posting this and for your response to this man. I know it meant so much.

Christina LMT said...

Thank YOU, Maxx, for your kind words and for stopping by.

Jean said...

Dick linked to this and I had to come read.

Bless his beautiful heart... and yours!
I'm in tears.

Christina LMT said...

Oh, thank you, Jean!

Roismhaire said...

Great read. Great man.
You're great too.

Christina LMT said...

Thank you so much, Roismhaire!

TallyAngel said...

"I find it sad that you almost never hear about these heroes in the media anymore."

It's very sad and it kinda pisses me off that the media doesn't report on the good the military (which includes my dad) is doing for this country. You only hear about the bad. You also only hear about the death of a certain pedophile (4 months later), while the media barely even touched on the subject of how many military deaths there were in August (one of the bloodiest months).

Other than that, this wonderful story made my day. I can't wait to join the Air Force.

Christina LMT said...

Thank you, TallyAngel, and I'm very proud of you for your decision to serve!

be603 said...

Thanks for that.

Christina LMT said...

You are most welcome, be603.