“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.”     ― Hal Lindsey

Today is the second anniversary of the day that Curtis M. Fike lost his final battle. After four deployments and plagued with PTSD and an untreated TBI, Curtis had slowly slid into a darkness filled with alcohol abuse, road rage and depression that he could no longer find his way out of.  He landed in a place where he lost hope for a normal healthy life and did what he felt was the only way to end the torment; unaware he was merely passing the pain on to those who love him. 

Amidst the volume of unanswered questions and cascade of tears, I find proof of one thing. Suicide is a virus; one form of pain merely mutates into another.

It is an observation based on the tender hearts of grieving families left behind desperate to find the answers they seek. 

Tomorrow I will be running the sNOw run with Curtis as my companion. My hope is someone asks me about the image on my shirt. My hope is to tell someone about the beautiful boy with the infectious smile.  My hope is the chance to start a new conversation about hope and service. My hope is  to make someone uncomfortable about the silence in the country about the cost of conflict, why the VA is NOT the place to balance the budget and the responsibility we as a nation have to our now professional military fighting the longest conflict in the nation’s history.  My hope is to challenge the assumption coming home “safe” means the mission is over. 

My hope is to bring a light to the darkness and illuminate the path as these warriors make their way home. And that the families of those lost can find a way to mend their broken hearts. 1501743_10152503571095760_1961316006_n