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  • He wore a distinctively un-uniform collection of pieces of old uniforms. His Mazda Miata flew the Marine Corps flag and had a vintage phone attached to the dashboard; the kind with a rotary dial and a mouthpiece that curves around to meet the user's mouth. A wooden airplane propeller would ride with him in the passenger's seat from time to time as he drove through town. He shouted "Semper Fi" and "Oorah" through the face that had been disfigured by a previous suicide attempt and what he needed was to be re-membered.

    He didn't so much need to be remembered, as in the opposite of being forgotten. He didn't so much need our kind thoughts, he didn't need us to think of how he once had been and he didn't need our silent prayers. He needed to be re-membered, as in the opposite of being dis-membered. For over years and decades, in places no one seems to know where, in ways I imagine sometimes happened slowly and sometimes happened quickly he had been horribly dis-membered. He had not lost an arm or a leg as so many have but he was dis-membered all the same. His family was cut away from him, the community had trouble knowing how to deal with him, he was cut off from peace, cut off from care, cut off from health, cut off from sanity. Critical parts of what made him whole had been cut away; much by others, some by his own doing. So many of the parts that if together would have made him whole had been cut off and seemingly lay strewn around the globe.

    What he needed was to be re-membered; the dis-membered pieces tracked down, gathered up, returned and bound again to his being where they belonged. I was only able to give him the time of day when he had lost that as well, but I could not fully re-member him. I did not make him whole again. Some in the community feared him, some didn't know what to do with him, some were kind to him but none of the community re-membered him. None of us made him whole again. The country he served did not re-member him. The Corps he loved could not make him whole. We all failed to re-member him; to look for, to find, to return and to bind all the pieces back to his being and make him whole. How much did we fail to re-member his broken life, how much did I, his community, country and world fail to make him whole and how much did he fail to receive help when offered?

    Several months have passed now since the rumor of his successful suicide worked its way through our small town. As I walked through the woods today, fall fighting with winter for just one more day, I thought of him again. I thought of how our world, our country, our community and I failed to make him whole and wondered again who would... who could re-member Steve.
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