Between The Stars and The Sea of Tranquility 

There is no wrong 

There is no right

Only stars shinning in the night

To be among the stars in the full moonlight unable to tell which one shines so bright 

Gaze into the heavens and forget about your plight

Is your love under the same moonlight under the stars that shine so bright

Are they lost and hurting like you underneath that same full moon

Among the stars is where I’ll be searching for you feverishly

Have you gone away and left me be cause there is no freedom meant for me

When you see the moon do you think of me or have the stars gotten in your way

In the sea of tranquility I find peace

Where are you my love why have you forsaken me?
  

The Aftermath

Today marked one month since everything changed. Wednesday June 24th, 2015. The day I so desperately tried to save a life. I can tell you the last thirty days have been difficult. I cope. I grieve. Some nights I sleep. Most nights I’m awake. I cry in the dark when nobody is around. I hide my pain. The wounds on my feet have healed. The scars are there as a constant reminder to me and everyone I know. No one can see the damage inside. It hasn’t healed. I don’t know that it ever will.

The pain comes out of nowhere and punches me in the gut. All the ugly hangs out. You can’t see it. I feel it. Everyday. I’ve poured myself into my work. I haven’t been writing. I haven’t written since my tribute to Jeff. My words were too dark to share. I’ve occupied my mind with The Original Bunker Punks Website the past three weeks. I’ve kept myself busy publishing other writers and their works. I do enjoy publishing,editing and posting the work for other writers. Behind the scenes work has helped me so much.

My saving grace has been working on cars. I laid underneath a Nissan and changed out an air compressor in 100 degree weather. I was relaxed. I had clarity and mostly I felt peace. Working under the hood of a car feels like home to me. I don’t know a lot but I learn more everyday. My best days are the ones when I come home covered in grease. My hair is matted with grease and refrigerant. The looks I get when I go into a store make me giggle. Cars are my therapy. Writing is my release.

My words have failed me lately. So has my car at times. I need a constant project car to continue my therapy. I have to trust my words again. I used to spill them across the page with ease. Now they hesitate leaving my mind. I’ve lost so much in translation. I hope the words will find me again. I’m a storyteller yet I can’t tell my store anymore. I feel I have no right being upset. My feelings aren’t valid. How can I be grieving for a man I didn’t know? I only met this man at the end of his story yet I’m entangled in it. Maybe these are normal feelings. I’ve lost people in a previous job. I never saw them. I was only the voice on the other end of the phone. It still hurt when I lost them. It’s a whole other ballgame when you are right there and feel them slip away.

I didn’t even think I just acted. I know I did the right thing. The right thing isn’t always easy to do. I have no regrets for jumping in and trying like hell. The aftermath never crossed my mind. I live in it everyday. I’ve thought about Jeff, his family and his friends everyday since he left this world. I know he gave me purpose. I’m struggling with it. My son was there that day. I sent him away but I caught him watching. I hope he will help others as I do. I didn’t want him to see anything that happened in the parking lot that day. I hope he understands how fragile life is now. When you are a teenager you usually don’t grasp how precious life is. I can only hope he will carry this with him and learn from it. I’m still learning from this experience.

The Aftermath is ugly. Peace isn’t mine yet. Forgiving myself will help me heal. Forgiveness isn’t easy. Doing the right thing isn’t easy. Guilt is keeping me prisoner. Letting go seems so easy, yet I can’t. I have purpose. I’m still learning. Aren’t we all?

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The Chapter of Captain Jeff McCullough

Our Lives are like books. We each have our own story. Many different people play a part in our story.  People come into your life and can leave faster than they entered your story. Our stories overlap. We are intertwined in the tellings of each others stories. Some people have smaller parts yet their impact will be felt a lifetime. This isn’t my story it’s a chapter from one that intersected with mine on a hot Wednesday afternoon in late June. This is Jeff’s story. I am but a minor character in his book. He is a major one in mine.

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It was like any other day. I picked up my oldest son in town after a long morning. I was so worn out and could barely move from the back pain. Carter informed me he needed something from the store. I didn’t want to go further into town. I just wanted to head home since I’m 20 miles away. I told him we would stop at our local Dollar General. It’s the only store in my area besides convenience stores. I rolled down Highway 64 and made a left hand turn into the parking lot. I noticed the parking lot being paved and it was roped off so parking was on the entrance side of the lot now. When I pulled in the parking lot I knew something was wrong. I whipped the car in park and we got out. My eyes focused on a man in a truck. I yelled to someone with him if he was alright. I knew he wasn’t. I heard heat stroke and commotion. I instructed my son to run into the store and call 911. I told him not to come back outside. I ran in flip-flops and scrubs. I leaped over the tape blocking off the paving. Did you catch the part earlier where I could barely move? I became a machine. I was on a mission and I would not be stopped.

I am a force to be reckoned with in an emergency. I think quickly and react even faster.  I am focused and determined. I know exactly what to do. I’m not forgetful anymore. I am strong. I feel no pain. I jump in without a second thought. This is not my first emergency. This was my worst. I asked some questions and barked orders. Our eyes met. They were so green and kind. He looked to be the same age as my father. I knew he had worked hard his entire life. I could see it. I felt his kindness all around me. I assessed the situation and reacted.  The situation had changed quickly. CPR was needed. Cooling his body temperature with water allowed us to remove him from the truck to do CPR. The parking lot burned my feet and legs. I never felt it. I made sure he stayed wet so he didn’t burn. His best friend and co-worker Wendell was at his side. It was then I learned that both men were in law enforcement in the next county. Wendell and I did CPR for what seemed like an eternity. We had some success but were unable to maintain his airway so it was vicious cycle. We talked to him. We were there to comfort him. I couldn’t maintain his airway. I ran my fingers through his hair and told him “It’s ok Jeff I’m here and I won’t leave you. I kissed him on the cheek. I felt him leave us. I went back to work. I called his name. I yelled, I begged, and I pleaded for him to stay. I had barked orders at people and didn’t conduct myself in the kind way that I normally do. I was a machine and I had a job to do. The first responders and EMS arrived. I didn’t voluntarily move. I was dragged away.

I stood up and walked away. I cried. I felt overwhelmed with emotion. I was shaken. My son was watching. I didn’t want him to see me. They continued to work on Jeff but I already knew he was gone. I failed him. I let his,family,friends, and community down. It was a punch to the gut. I knew at that moment I’d never be the same. The greatest man I never knew had left this world and I was in shock. Why? My kindness was drawn to his kindness. I’ve learned since that Jeff was selfless and kind. He cared about people and he made a difference in this world.  He was someone I would have looked up to. I admire him. Through all of this Jeff gave me purpose. Kindness is the only way. Help others and love one another.

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I enjoyed meeting his family and friends. The service was beautiful. I was asked by his daughters to join them and place a rose on his casket along with their mother. I was touched. It was moving and I became emotional. The world lost a great man when Jeff went home. I will never forget the lesson he taught me. He gave me perspective. It was an honor and a privilege to be with you in the end. I hope I gave you safe passage. I’m only sorry this was your last chapter. I will carry you throughout the rest of my days in my heart.

“A Heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others.” The Wizard of Oz

 This man was loved by everyone. His heart was pure. Rest easy.