Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Read it and weep.

Seriously. Have a box of Kleenex handy before you start reading Healer who never fell back laid to rest, a Jim Sheeler masterpiece that ran in the Rocky Mountain News on Dec. 30, 2006.

It's about a Marine's bond with the Navy corpsman, who saved his life.

Little touches got to me.

About the Marine sergeant, Jim wrote: The sergeant's father wheeled him into a waiting room, where the Marine asked to sit in the corner, out of the way. Soon, the room was filled with crisp Navy uniforms - admirals, chiefs and hospital corpsmen, many of them sporting dress coats jingling with medals.

Then, down the stairs, the sergeant saw the people who wore no uniforms, the ones who wore only grief.

Jim wrote this about the Navy corpsman: Using his medical equipment as a universal translator - and ice-breaker - he treated Iraqis as well as his own men, forging trust in a place where the word often has no definition. If he saw an Iraqi child with a cut or scrape, he would paste the child with antibacterial cream and bandages and attempt to win his part of the war with Band-Aids.

Wearing grief. Winning a war with Band-Aids. Jim sure has a way with words. And with emotions. You have to read the entire piece to get the full effect.


Jade Walker said...

Despite its length, I decided to read this article aloud to my S.O. By the time we were halfway through, we were both bawling.

This was a beautiful piece.

Alana Baranick said...

Didn't I warn you about having Kleenex handy?

Jade said...

Didn't I warn you about having Kleenex handy?

You did. You did. But I'm from the Edna Buchanan school of journalism ("Never let them see you cry."). I thought I could make it through the article by sheer force of will. Ah well. Turns out I'm not quite as hardened as I thought.

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

This obituary really moved me. When we hear on the news of another death in Iraq, it's rare we learn about the heartache behind it.

It's a powerful piece of writing - thanks for highlighting it.