My name is Michele Bergeron. I was in the Army from 1978-1981 and Reserves from 1983-1994.
My poem was written 40 years later after completing a residential PTSD program in Batavia NY.I lived in Survival mode for 40 years just existing.
Hey you, yeah you. I've sat back and watched as you transformed from a frightened and hurt 18 year old soldier to a grey haired mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, wife and friend.
Struggle and pain have been the left and right arm, which are always suspended to welcome all for hugs and unconditional love, even though you have forgotten to hug your own self with those arms of unconditional love. Guilt and blame are your left and right eyes, they are how you see the events that have happened to you. You see, you own fault and leave others blameless and guiltless for the pain that hurts your soul. The road traveled has not been an easy one. The road less traveled was never the road less traveled, it was your road not taken, symbolic of the Robert Frost poem which signifies that "in life there comes a time when you had to make a choice between the road less traveled or the road well-traveled", both held obstacles and many things you would have to bury and live with. The road you chose was filled with sticks and stones in the form of accountability and responsibility, the weight of those things forcing you to stumble on the road time and time again. Along the way you picked up those sticks and stones even though they didn't belong to you. I can hear in the echo of the wind the screams of a young woman trying hard to be heard, you are breathless from screaming, but in actuality no sound was ever made. You awoke and realized it was a nightmare and you have kept your secrets buried deep inside so you wouldn't lose your left and right lungs which were your power and control for without them, you are breathless.
I saw you in that nightmare where all your power and control were stripped from you leaving you breathless and dead inside. The direction of your life was changed on that day by that incident leaving you scarred and broken.
Young girl, you can cry now, let go of the pain of your past. Your past no longer defines you. The shift has begun, it's a new day and a new chapter.
You have taken the broken pieces and begun putting yourself back together.
You have existed and survived, now you are going to live. Remove the mask that has been in place for years. Stand in your truth and be you.... FREEDOM IS WAITING....
You are on your way to being a CenterforHope.
Michelle R. Bergeron
US ARMY VETERAN
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