I left your existence in January 2007. I volunteered to put my life at risk. Nobody made me. Everyone did the right things at the time. I was aged 21, I left my 2yr old son behind.
My parents sat next to him at the service. For a short while I was the local boy in the newspaper photographs. Everyone said they would never forget. Then they did.
I always wanted to be a soldier. Nothing much else was available at the time. I tried to avoid it, putting the round peg in the round hole for a pittance didn't add up to me.
I bled out in a Basra field hospital. I can still feel the vibrations of the helicopter rotas and the frantic efforts of the medics. They nearly got the job done. I looked to the left and saw my blood on the sand. The pain was there but I was not feeling it. I was seeing flashes from my childhood. Jumping into the river off the high banking, riding my bike through the mud, opening Easter Eggs, going to watch the game, Gemma smiling at me at the back of the class, the sun rising, the sun setting. Colour and warmth, ice and snow. My son arriving into the world. Then nothing. A journey was beginning.
That journey has led to me being here now. In a place that only a very few know as "The Silent House". I'm not even sure how large it is or how many are here. There are others here. I can sense them. I don't know if there are walls or even boundaries. There seems to be a dim nothingness ebbing away into the far distance where a greyness surrounds everything. Occasional blips of warmth flit by, they are the impulses of energy that are sustaining our presence. That energy is generated by people who knew us remembering us. My presence is ebbing away as fewer people remember me.
As I look back over it all my main feeling is not one of anger, but regret. Obviously I regret deeply the effect this will have on my son for the rest of his days. I regret the grief that was felt by those who were close to me. I regret not having told those who took the time to get to know me the things that I maybe should have done. I regret not knowing that it was all a waste. I was young, I had no idea really. However, mostly I regret the fact that it will keep on and on happening. I regret the way that humanity is reversing along its evolutionary curve. I regret being powerless to affect it.
I feel a need to communicate this to you all before my last warm energy blip evaporates into the grey nothingness and I finally ebb completely away. There is no other place for me to go to, there will be no angels and pearly gates. You see, it has all happened before and it will all happen again. No progress is being made, wasting lives means wasting existences. Those blips pass through us and form The Eternal Shine. Without the blips The Eternal Shine itself will dim. It has already started. The warmth in those blips is the quality of the memory, The Eternal Shine needs only warm blips to sustain itself. Thoughts of all those who have had their lives taken are tinged with human sadness. They fetch cold and dilute The Shine. Thing is, it's now all gone wrong. You are supposed to remember the sanctity of life, when you think of us you should not be thinking about borders or walls, or gaining terrain, or ruling the lands,,,, your priorities have been moulded in the wrong moulds.
Why do you place so much value upon owning the sands ? , or controlling the flows ? , or selling the the growing fields ? , why are those who covet the most given such pampered lives at the expense of those who starve and feel eternally cold ? Why do those who are born in the wrong zone have to live impoverished lives ? Why do you invest vast fortunes in the technology of species termination yet neglect the ills which could be removed by your far seers ? Why do you poison that which keeps you in your materialistic existences ? Where has the compassion gone ?
I see children being born every single day. I look around your world and I see starvation and I see huge scale avarice. I see those children losing the light in their eyes. I see the same existences that pushed me into a war zone waiting for the next innocent generations to fill them. The ultimate sin of not caring is the modern human way.
I have not felt sad until now. I cannot understand the lack of value that humanity now has for ordinary lives. My flame is flickering, a cold breeze of empty souls is passing through The Silent House.
At my funeral service, a volley of shots cracked the cold February air. Tears were shed. The priest told those gathered that I was in a far better place now. He does not know how very correct he was. Memories faded. The grass grew on my grave. After a few months the ground in the middle of the burial plot sank. The toys and mementos that were left by friends have long gone. Thirteen seasons of leaves blowing around the headstone have come and gone.
Your world is a teeming place of tortured existences. Children are born into the dust at the side of tracks through war zones. Some of them die at a young age, not knowing how old they are and never having seen a Doctor or peace in their lands. In other countries people invest and profit. The differences between those peoples are set in motion by geographical accidents at birth. The peoples of the well off lands ignore those dying in the dust. Some of their souls pass through here. I feel their cold.
The last ebbing time of my Silent House journey is tinged by the abject failures of all of you. You all stand accused of demeaning my sacrifice on behalf of others by living as though all is well.
In the twentieth century alone at least 108 million souls perished in wars. Right now 297,00 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor sanitation and poor quality drinking water. Cancer remains. Global military spending has increased by 75% over the last twenty years.
Just exactly how do you expect those in The Silent House to feel about that ?
I do have an answer for all of the above. I gave my earth life to find it. It is quite simple really. If you really want to honour us, to keep The Eternal Shine bright, to provide us with warmth as we gently ebb away like a candle in a vast empty cathedral, then,
LOVE ONE AND OTHER. Please.