I’m flying to Tallahassee tomorrow for the funeral of my beloved brother-in-law of 44 years, Buck. He was a sensitive man, too sensitive to have endured intact the horrors he survived as a decorated Marine on the front lines of the Vietnam War. He was only 17 years old when he enlisted, and the only survivor in his platoon. His best friend died in his arms on the battle field.
Buck suffered since that time from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. He had a bad stutter when he returned to the homeland. It improved over the years, unlike the depression.
Buck was always kind to me, since I was a child. I remember being on a boat at St. Teresa, Florida, and fishing for the first time. I caught my first fish, and we threw it in a bucket of sea water, with the other fish that others had caught. When I found out that these fish were slated for death, I started crying out of sympathy for the fish I had caught. I cannot remember who was with us, but I was thought silly for caring about that fish. Buck, however, was sensitive to my sensitivity. He released that fish back into the ocean for me. I will never forget this, nor the long walks and talks I had with Buck along the beach afterward, many times.
May the current and future children of this Earth be released, as was my fish, from the insanity of death and woundedness by war.
Buck had this funny habit of insisting that my sister Jill and I greet him with a peck on the lips. The cheek was insufficient offering. He was family, for 44 years. He was 68. It is hard to comprehend how fast he went (2 months of illness) and that he will not be there for holidays.
May Buck be released from all suffering and back into life, as was my fish by his hands.