Never the Same
by Jennifer Cecere
I can well recall with sadness the year that daddy went away.
He said he had a job to do but he’d return someday,
But, daddy never did come home, his mistress held him fast.
Now here I am all grown up, still sad about the past.
Two years old I was then and the war had just begun.
We spent our days just waiting instead of having fun.
The nights were often blacked out with sirens ringing clear.
My fear of darkness still remains, loud noised cause me fear.
I still can see my Grandma when the telegram arrived,
To say my uncle had been shot, though he was still alive.
She cried she screamed she agonized to think about her son.
But her grief was not near over, this was only number one.
Two more wounds he suffered before the thing was through,
But the biggest grief for Grandma was the fate of number two.
Uncle Carlo was a dashing man who really got around.
We nearly lost him to his wounds, today he’s wheelchair bound.
His courage is unfailing. He really does his best.
This tragedy we lived through put our family to the test.
At last the war was over but life never was the same
For afterward the scarring forever would remain.
Not too many years went by before the family men
Were carried off to Asia to fight a war again.
To ward off the old feelings, I made myself go numb.
With dread I prayed that we’d be spared the news that just might come.
When it was finally over I thanked God from my heart
And asked that he would never let another conflict start.
A child I was with hope and trust who really did believe
That mankind could forego war and work instead for peace.
I never dreamed I’d hear the words Danang or Hamburger Hill.
But I did and all the horror lives inside me still.
I was young and so in love with the man who went to fight.
I fretted all the day and often through the night.
My dry shoes caused me guilt, my warm meals caused me pain.
I wanted for my lover to be blessed with all the same.
I wanted him to have a bed to lay his body down.
A place with nice warm showers and no bullets flying ‘round.
It made me sad and miserable to know he suffered so.
And I often wished inside my heart it had been me to go.
For two long years I worried, I cried but carried on
Writing letter after letter while the time dragged on so long.
I prayed each day no telegram would come to say he died.
Instead I died daily, just a little bit inside.
And then one day my lover once again was by my side.
But, alas, to my amazement he had truly died.
Just a shell that looked quite like him was all that now remained,
And the truth was once again my life would never be the same.
A kind and caring man had been sent to Viet Nam.
The shell that now replaced him only filled me with alarm.
He was callous even cruel, the caring was not there.
His smile too was missing, in its place a vacant stare.
The man who once was patient now exploded into rage.
With his violent expressions, I could fill another page.
For two hard years I struggled to keep my love alive.
Finally in defeat, I put it all aside.
For eight more years I grieved my loss and vowed to stay alone.
To find new meaning for my life, a meaning all my own.
Eighteen years went by , some were happy, some were sad.
I came to terms with loneliness and thought it wasn’t bad.
I even learned to like it and then the day arrived,
When loving seemed quite safe again so I let someone inside.
A special man, a loving man and one, who loved me so,
But, he was in the navy so at times he had to go.
I thought, “I can take it, I’m accustomed to *alone*”
So many times he’s come and gone and left me on my own.
I managed to survive two years of part time couple hood.
The times we were together were inordinately good.
But, now the threat of war again hovers overhead.
My husband has been taken and it’s filling me with dread.
I miss him and I worry. I am frightened once again.
And I ask myself in silence, Will life ever be the same?