This is Will Price. I need to share some bad news with you. I was chosen to write this post because the people closest to the situation are in no shape to do it. Even Kincaid is shaken, having spent so much time working with Josh lately.
First, let me say that Josh is still alive. I know as well as anyone that the first thing most of us think when we hear the phrase 'bad news' is that someone has died. But Josh isn't well. Not at all.
The other night when we had our big day off, Josh wrote a fairly emotional post. None of us knew how badly he was hurting. It was much worse than his words led us to believe. Throughout the day and into the evening, he made an effort to socialize. I could see how hard a time he was having keeping up his smile. He drank more and more as the day wore on. By nightfall he could barely walk, and somehow we lost track of him.
No one was worried then, not really. Some people dwell on bitter things when they drink, but...
We didn't know. Maybe we should have seen it. Maybe we could have helped.
When Jessica noticed he was gone she asked that I look for him. Patrick helped. We found him down the road from his house on the edge of the first expansion. There are places where the walls butt up against the shipping container that serves as a gate between the two sections. Josh was there, bottle in hand. More of them were on the ground, some of them broken. His feet were badly cut. He didn't seem to notice. Tears were streaming down his face, but he wasn't making a noise. He just stood there, half slumped against the corner, bare feet grinding into the shards littering the small patch of concrete under him.
He wouldn't talk to us. Even when Patrick and I picked him up and carried him to the clinic he stayed silent. I've seen men get stitches before, but Josh curled into the fetal position and didn't even flinch.
I was a soldier. In many ways I still am. I lead New Haven not because of ego, but from a desire to serve. Part of that service is seeing to the health and well-being of our citizens. Josh was the first citizen, he and his wife. Yet I do not know what I can do to help him. I have seen people in this state before. In the old days before the military began to truly integrate psychiatry into the service, they called it 'battlefield fatigue.' Later it was known as PTSD.
I stayed with him all night and well into the morning. I was there as he sobered up and began to realize how injured he was. What I didn't see was a spark of his old self. His eyes had the same desolate look as any shell-shocked infantryman. Trauma comes in many forms. Some of it is immediate, but sometimes it takes a thousand cuts to finally make the damage clear.
When I finally coaxed him into talking I began to see how deep it goes. He told me that for a long time now he has felt more and more empty, like all the little pains have been wearing him away inside. It makes sense. On the outside he seemed fine, but it only took one tiny crack in the exterior to shatter the facade.
There is no easy solution here. There may not be a solution at all. What we know, right now, is that one of our own is ill and that we care for our people when they need it. It isn't the new plague or the flu or whatever the Louisville people carry, but it's a sickness and an injury at the same time.
If he can recover from this, he will. We will dedicate whatever resources are needed to make sure that happens. On a practical level I couldn't make that promise for a large number of people, but Josh is one person. I have yet to hear anyone disagree. None of us would be here physically or be on the cusp of such a transformative moment without him. We owe him.
I personally owe him more than I will ever be able to repay. He stood by me when few others would. He trusted me when he had every reason not to. When I was shunned and hungry, he fed me.
He would argue against all those things, I have no doubt. But this is my decision to make and I'll deal with any potential problems as they come. We've had enough hard choices lately. I won't abandon a friend again.
From what I have been able to gather, this...breakdown involves many factors. His workload, his predisposition toward depression, the constant stress of his daily life. And the decisions. God, the terrible things we've all done. He made more stone-cold choices in the early days than any three people combined. What happens when a decent person is forced by circumstance to do evil things by necessity time and again? Even people farther down the moral scale begin to break apart.
I'm rambling. I apologize. This isn't easy for any of us and I am no exception. It probably goes without saying, but Josh will not be posting for the near future. Kincaid is taking over the management of the assault teams and most of the blog responsibilities for now. The rest of Josh's work will be absorbed by others.
I should have seen it. I'm his friend, and he used to spend so much time with his friends. He used to talk about us on here all the time. He has become more isolated over time and we should have noticed. Almost all he talked about was current events and work and Jess. We missed him pulling away.
And now he's being watched around the clock, because it took this to make us realize we were about to lose him.
I know it won't make a difference, and I feel terribly for possibly have made it worse, but please, let Josh know I still love him and care for him. He's still family. All of you all are, even though I'm hundred of miles apart. I'm sorry for what I said before. I won't say I didn't mean it, but I am sorry that I said it. I should've realized how much it hurt him to make that decision and I can't help to feel I made it worse. Please let him know that I don't hate him or anything and that he shouldn't hate himself. We all owe him so much. I'm going to come home as soon as I can.ReplyDelete
This saddens, but does not surprise me. Josh's affect after the whole Louisville tragedy was too flat. Things do fall apart when the center cannot hold, and Josh is New Haven's center. I'm glad Will recognizes the debt owed to Josh by many, many survivors.ReplyDelete
Survival of decent human beings is what matters, even if it means that decent human beings have to do what they would never have done before the fall. And Josh is decent. In his decency he took on his shoulders burdens that others were glad to not take, and now he's broken.
But broken things -as you all in New Haven know- can be fixed, patched, shored up, repaired. And what results may not be as pretty, but it will hold, it will serve.
Josh, give yourself a break, forgive yourself, let yourself heal, love yourself, because we all do.