Friday, February 24, 2012

Streams of tears flow...


James Monroe Rooster Dixon III paid the ultimate price for my freedoms when he died Sunday, February 19, 2012 at the tender age of thirty years.  James was a man of conviction.  Always Faithful.  His life paints a picture of the type of man any woman would want to call son, any father proud to stand alongside, any sister could hold up as an example to her children, and any family member proudly provide the blood connection.  Christian.  American son.  Marine.  Corporal.  No, James was not active duty, but he was still at war.

After returning from three tours in Iraq, James had changed.  He was still a man of God, sweet, kind, loving, thoughtful, accepting, faithful, committed, honorable, and proud.  Wounded in combat offered a physical change.  But more than any physical wound, memories plagued his mind and burdened his heart.  Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is what it is called.  Some say it isn't real.  Others say it's just an excuse.  Personally, I held no opinion.  Not because I didn't care, only I had no personal reference.  However, I am now an advocate for this country's sons and daughters that return to the land of Americans burdened with a shadow of despair.  Call it an anxiety disorder.  Call it mental illness.  Call it whatever you want, but know that it exists even if you don't want to give it a name.  Occurring after seeing or experiencing a traumatic event that involves the threat of injury or death would most certainly explain why our military return to The States dramatically altered individuals.  Every single day they prepare to sacrifice their very lives to protect the rights and freedoms so many Americans freely trample upon.  Hardships, loss of self, terror, regret, sorrow and anger accompany them home.  We shake their hands and utter a flimsy debt of gratitude.  Smile and clap.  Feel pride swell up inside.  Congratulating ourselves for being supportive, we carry on.  By many soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guardsmen and airmen do not have that luxury.  They stand upon our sacred American soil, but their minds stay trapped in the HELL from which they volunteered to go so we wouldn't have to.

I don't propose to have the answer.  I just know there is a problem.  We owe it to these men, women, boys and girls to search for a better solution.  Offer more support.  Provide the best care available or develop better alternatives.  But I do know what the answer is not!  Full or partial abandonment.  Leaving them alone in the darkness of this fight is by far one of the biggest tragedies of this war.  I'm not pointing fingers at the Department of Defense, not even at the Health Care system.  I'm pointing my finger at myself.  At you.  At all Americans.  If we don't standup for our Heroes, who will?  If we stand passive and not demand the upmost care possible, we become a significant part of the problem.

My cousin James Monroe Rooster Dixon III died in a standoff with the police Sunday, February 19, 2012 at his home.  Many question and condemn the methods of the police while others congratulate them in their handling of the matter.  As a police wife and cousin to the victim my sorrow and grief have rendered me broken and distraught.  At the same time, I speak from personal experience as to the sacrifices and hardships those in Blue face every single day as well.  Was the situation handled appropriately?  Could things have been done differently?  I can not say.  I was not there nor do I have the experience, training, knowledge and skill necessary for law enforcement officers to carry out their duties.  What I can tell you is the whole situation, from James arriving home from 3 tours of duty to his unfortunate death is a monumental tragedy!  Not only the lives of those directly involved that morning, but those that knew and loved this honorable hero will forever be changed.  Everyone lost that day.  None will escape without scars.  But most certainly, the family will never again be whole.

I choose not to let the ending be my remembrance of a boy I loved as a child or the man I was so proud of... NO!  I choose to remember my cousin as the remarkable man his parents had shaped him into... I choose to remember he was a war hero... I choose to remember he made a difference... I choose to remember the marine with the heart of a lion... I choose to remember the boy who wrote so elegantly... I choose to remember the boy who always had a hug and smile for me... I choose to remember his valor, character, and accomplishments (Purple Heart Recipient, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Meritorious Mast, Navy Unit Commendation, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Certificate of Commendation, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon)... I choose to remember he loved the Lord and the Lord knew him as one of his own.

I am and will forever be a better person because James loved me.  He offered more love, compassion and devotion in his short life than many people do over a lifetime.  In every family there are those that drive you crazy.  Those that aren't so nice.  Those that are only out to better themselves.  Sounds harsh, I know, but you know I speak the truth.  You know they are in your family too.  I am sure I fall into a couple of the undesirable categories in the eyes of some of my family.  Yes, I love them anyway and hope I am loved despite my MANY, MANY faults.  But James was easy to love.  He made you feel like you were the most special person around when you talked with him.  His humble heart made him a true treasure in our family.  As is the way of life, we saw less of each other as we grew older and began our own journeys.  However, time was never a barrier for James.  If James loved you, time nor distance distracted from his feelings and devotion.

No, I do not have to pick a side.  I only need to give it to God.  Once in his hands blame and fault cease to exist for me.  I can get on with the business of healing, honoring and remembering.  The journey for his parents and sister is going to be long and difficult.  So I ask you to pray for soul-deep healing for James' family.  Thankfully, our Lord is sufficient!  As told in the old gospel hymn, Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling, God is waiting on us to come back to him (in this life and the next).

Lamentations 3:48-51 (NIV)
Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed.  My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees.  What I see brings grief to my soul because of all the women of my city.

4 comments left with ♥:

mhulsey said...

Beautiful...

Tracy Sands said...

Very well said! I am sure this makes James proud.

Mom of the Hillians said...

Beautiful! love you!

Serran Aaron said...

Thank you my dear cousin! Love you!

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