"Daniel couldn't stop. He could later on with difficulty. Daniel struggled in school and was constantly in hot water. As a first grader he hit his brother in the eye with a boiled shrimp taken from an all you can eat buffet. He threw it so hard that his little brother couldn't see out of it for two days. His Dad laughed and chided his Mom for "mollycoddling" the temporarily blinded little boy.
He was beautiful. He was naturally athletic. He was the kind of boy child that men loved for either their memories of what they were or could have been. So, when he finally hit the wall, unable to find his way as an adult, everyone new that he would be a natural as a soldier. He was in the first wave of American boys entering Baghdad.
Daniel had been home from Iraq for eight years when his new girlfriend found him hanging against the garden wall of her townhouse. He had tied a new, half-inch diameter nylon rope around his neck and then to a large eyebolt the he had screwed thru the oak flooring into a floor joist, opened the window and jumped.
His father never believed in or understood PTSD. He simply thought that anyone claiming it was either lazy or a coward. His mother had outwardly become as macho as his father over the years, publicly telling her son to "buck-up" and "move on" but waking at night shaking uncontrollably and unexpectedly sobbing in the restroom at work.
When they got the news of his death, she violently and repeatedly slapped her husband -- screaming out obscenities and the boy's name. His father went out into his workshop and stared blankly straight ahead for hours at the walnut gun rack his son had made for him in junior high school, falling asleep on the floor, his body in a grotesque, tortured, surreal fetal heap. The mother sat on the living room couch clutching a pair of the boy's tennis shoes, drinking vodka, passing out and losing control of her bowels..."