As I have traveled through life, I have encountered many people who think they understand and know how I feel. They think they know what I have gone through and can understand every facet, every thought, every action or every emotion that I have.

Yes, we may share similar episodes in our lives but similar does not mean that you have worn my boots and have gone through the good times or the times of turmoil that I have gone through. We may have ďSimilarĒ parts of our lives that we can share, but the way we react and deal with them is different. The way you deal with things is not the way I deal with those same things.

You donít know my feelings. You donít know my pain. You canít comprehend how I deal with the demons of past misfortunes and actions. You cannot comprehend the fact that I battle with the demons of my past as I simultaneously battle with the demons of the present in order to prevent them from destroying me. You donít understand the way I feel, nor do you know what thoughts I have racing through my mind as I try and keep the last threads that hold my inner being and the family that I love together from unraveling.

You may think that I donít like taking on the responsibility of several things in life, but what you donít see is that I have and work with so many responsibilities daily that I have trouble prioritizing my responsibilities. That same issue is fueled by the fear of failing in one or all things asked of me. I have failed many times in life and I have done the best I can to rebound from those failures. I shouldnít have to explain myself to you and sit through your endless suggestions on how you would have done things different or what you would do now. You are not me! I donít need to mentally relive my failures in order to make my life better.

I donít travel through life without emotions. I just prefer not to show those emotions. I remain silent in my solitude many times because not many people can just listen without criticizing my thoughts or emotions. You encourage me to say what is on my mind and then chastise me for what I say because it may not be what you want to hear.

You continue to comment how I have it made in life. What you donít see is that I still live from paycheck to paycheck, struggling to provide for my family and financially keep our existence afloat in a world full of economic failure and broken promises. You fail to see or learn of the many sacrifices that I have made, or my family has made in order for me to have served you and this country so that you would not have to put your own life on hold or on the line. Iíve earned my paychecks and Iíve earned my existence.

I am not suicidal! Sure, I have thought countless times how things might be better off if I wasnít around. I deal with the everlasting emotions of how I have caused so much pain for the ones that I love and have wondered if they would have been better off with someone else as their Son, Father, or Husband.

I had a true passion for what I did! I didnít devote my self to the selfless service that I gave in order to seek recognition or fame. I always welcome the sincere thank you or appreciation from people who appreciate the time, devotion and sacrifice I made while making this country great. If you are not sincere about it, donít shake my hand or say anything. Just pass me by and leave me alone. Iím not one to use as a ďgood deed for the dayĒ mark that you can feel good about yourself because you told a Soldier Thank-you. I can see the sincerity in your eyes as you shake my hand. If it isnít there, you will get a fish hand or a cold shake as I look into your eyes and restrain myself from from expressing my emotions or feelings at that present time.

©Copyright 2018 by Phil ďCountryĒ Crowley