In 2012 I was in Kandahar Afghanistan. It was my second deployment. Being a maintenance guy in country on f16s we don’t go outside the wire. We have computers and internet and ability to call home almost whenever we want. Work days could get hectic but it’s possible to find time to call home. After about 5 months one can get comfortable. Know I can call home whenever some days I just decided not to, because of pure laziness. I was 4 days from flying out of there. I figured I’d just call the day before I leave and the morning before take off and everything would be ok. But then in the middle of my sleep someone banged on my door hard. Scared the shit out of me I thought it was indirect fire that hit close. It was my buddy telling me I needed to call home. My mom picked up the phone, my dad was in the hospital and it didn’t look good. I packed a book bag and my first shirt found me a spot on a plane headed to Kuwait so I can fly to Vegas where my dad was living. Everyone worked so fast to get me out of there quickly but it didn’t matter he died before I even got out of Afghan.
I never talked to my dad, my best friend again. He never knew I made it home safe. I should have called home everyday. It’s only a couple minutes just to say hi and I loved him. I carried that cross around for a long time. Looking back now i went a little crazy. Between that and some hard time adjusting to being back home, I masked some shit with partying. Drinking coke girls anything to take my mind off it. I don’t think I really understood I was self medicating but it makes sense now. That was the biggest regret of my life, and I’ve done some dumb shit. Why the fuck didn’t I call home.
See what I’ve learned since I’ve become sober (mostly I’m prescribed marijuana but I’ll write about that another time) is you gotta let shit go. For years after I came home i was in such a fucked up place I was actually happy that my dad wasn’t here to see me like that. How fucked up is that I was actually happy my dad died. Crazy. But I’m starting to figure it out, the best thing I can do is let go of that regret and instead help my dad live on through me. Raise my son the way he raised me. My dad was always there for me I’m going to do the same for my son and daughter. I’m letting go of this regret and instead I’m gonna honor my dad in the way I live life now.
I can sit here and ramble off about 1000 regrets I have in my life. Everyone can everyone fucks up and everyone lives with some sort of guilt. But to me ranting about all the shit I fucked up is pointless. Mistakes, regrets, guilt it’s only bad if you don’t learn from it. A couple years ago, I partied like a rockstar in ac for a day and a half. I drove home fell asleep behind the wheel and wrecked my car. Couldn’t have been the worse thing to ever happen to me, and it sucked but I learned from it. I learned it’s no way to live life and that I was only hurting the people who loved me. So I stopped living that life, and became the man And father I am today. Outside of my son being born, that accident was the best thing to happen to me (that will become number 3 in feb when my daughter is born).
I’ve learned to train my mind and thing outside the box. Take what is given to me and make it better. Bad good or indifferent if learn from it and change for the good then nothing is truly bad. This is not an easy concept to learn, and I’ll most likely never perfect it, but I’ll tell you the more I learn to do it and apply it to life the happier I am. So bring it on, and I’m sure I’ll keep fucking up but I’m done making the same mistakes over and over again. I’m done carrying that load and I’m done being unhappy. I’m gonna beat regret because I’m gonna learn from it and my life and the people around me will be better for that.
In conclusion I love you dad. I made it home safe and I’ll carry on your legacy and honor through me and my kids. You’ll live on forever through us.