Blue Water Vietnam Veterans: my hero and the story follows

walter and bros collagerev Nan at 2019 Memorial Tribute

seabees-posterMy hero, My beloved, on this Memorial Day, we honor your brothers and you and remember. Although ten years may be brief in some eyes, our hearts intertwingle, our souls mated, in the sad, slow yet fast progression of the thief in the night, Mr. Parkinson’s. A night of terror on Colorado watch.  I stood the watch for you, and the disbelievers, and was there under unusual circumstances. I almost gave my life as a caregivers. The grandkids loved to climb on your wheelchair.  The muddling through was your motto. I had to be proactive more often. Yet crazy interventions kept coming. So many physical losses, and the first at least, was the brain tangle with the computers, the ATN2 electronics tech during the Vietnam war. USS Yorktown cvs-10, vs-24, group 55 (1962-63 cruisebook)– you were there offshore, a Blue Water Vietnam Vet…Yet those children learned bad habits from their parents: I know what happened. The toxin in your brain, killed the dopamine, and that was service-related. And all the cancers too. If it was Agent Orange, the hasty mixed herbicide, the aircraft carrier you boarded in Calif carried helicopters-plane-containers-storage items of this deadly chemical. And no one informed you or thought twice about it powerful deadly impact on sailors offshore. On the deck, …the tolling of the Navy bell came years later, when you were my beloved. At least 15 years of Mr. Parkinson’s had invaded your home. Dead at 70, too early.  I was lucky, once we became more aware and informed, but not enough-you said you were not afraid to die-and that was hard to hear. I was losing you to the scourages and ravages of this ‘mobility-lewybody’ disease–service-related, how did we know in 2019?  Neurology folks told me about the linkage. Research followed intensely. A UTI entered your fragile mind, in and out of consciousness, unable to eat, your body weakening, but you heard my farewell words, as I slowly breathed to utter each word with meaning, I never thought I could say to anyone. You could hear. As the body went further into shock. You heard that I, as your wife, loved you, forgave you, and asked you to forgive me. Mr. Parkinson’s had taken your life. At midnight plus one minute, you passed into the heaven of your brothers, your comrade in arms, and your family brothers who preceded you. The digging out that followed, at the military honors, I was there, heard TAPS and the salute: I received my flag, The strange unbelievers tried and took nothing from my soul. Our life together. The Spirit of Oneness surrounded the living and the music, Angel (on You Tube), not Amazing Grace, but Keep on the Sunnyside, not Bridge over Troubled Waters, but Dvorak’s Going Home.


I hope with all my heart that this piece could touch another and be useful and be compassionate. To walk to talk is where we are — follow the black motorcycle bikes, the Riding Thunder, with the emblems, the American flag, the bandannas, for they know the real truth to share, and help — not the academicians. My hero, my beloved. Honor and remember this Memorial Day.


This is my Brief, Spectacular Moment, per PBS NewsHour. May 27, 2019.


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