Guest Authors

The Last Post

Written by Tim Lynch
August 17th, 2012

This will be the last post I write for the FRI blog.  If this is the first time you have seen this blog stop reading this right now and go back to October 2011 in the archives section because those are some of the best posts I ever wrote about Afghanistan.  Or go to the start of the Dalton Thomas series because that started out pretty damn good but the quality has declined and my heart is no longer in it and here is why.

I suffer from both PTSD and TBI these are facts that I denied for a long long time.  It works like this, you get hit, and then you start to worry that the damage done will be permanent but after seeing specialist learn that it was minor so you say to yourself pffft that was nothing and I’m as right as rain.  But your not, your friends tell you that you need help and you tell them they’re crazy.  I’m fine.  I didn’t get shot at that much. I didn’t have too many missiles land that close to me (which a friend reminded is not true I had one land so close that it knocked me flat on my ass and my clothes were smoking from the heat the blast had generated).  I have good friends who have gone through much more combat and trauma and have been wounded much worse than I have and they seem to handle it with no problems at all.  I thought I was doing the same.

But I’m not OK.  My father told me I had serious problems and needed to find some way to treat them and I told him he was nuts and that I was fine.  Herschel Smith, a man I consider a good friend but one I have never seen face-to-face or even talked on the phone with told me the same thing my Dad did and I told him the same thing I told my Dad.  Some of my regular readers have seen the change in my posts and they send emails asking if I’m OK and I tell them of course I’m OK I’m just a little off on my writing game but it will get better – you’ll see that in the next post.

So you take a hit, you go back into the game ignoring the advice so many people have given you to seek help and heal yourself on the inside.  But you ignore them and refuse to admit that you have changed.  Then the dysfunctions and stubborn refusal to acknowledge the fact you need help drives the woman you love and cherish more than life itself away.  Never to be seen again, never to be heard from again, and you know that it is all because you wouldn’t listen to the people who love and care for you and seek help for your problems.  And there is nothing – not one damn thing you can do to bring her back because all communications with her have ceased.

This is a vicious cycle that so many of those who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq are going through.  They come back, think they are fine but aren’t, and their instability drives away the one person they care for more than any other.  I know this is a huge problem for many vets and I know I’m not alone in struggling to cope with the loss that has ripped my heart apart.

So what do you do?  I have no idea.  I run everyday (and that hurts because I still have two cracked ribs) and am rapidly getting into the best shape I have been in since I retired from the Marine Corps in 2000.  I try not to drink too much or too often and fail at that, too frequently if you ask me.  I am trying to stop smoking and that is a nasty habit I started in 2005 when I first went to Afghanistan.  I started because I was scared I can not seem to quit because now I’m even more scared.  But it is a different kind of fear.  It  is the fear that I am not worthy, that I do not deserve to be loved or adored, the fear that I will never heal.  It is the fear born from rejection by the one person you thought would always be there.  And it is the fear of knowing you did that to yourself and you were the one responsible for this lost.  I’d take going toe to toe with the Taliban and their fucking IED’s any day of the week instead of facing this kind of fear.

A wonderful friend has taken me into his home and he and his beautiful wife and their awesome kids provide me the love and support I need to make it through the day.  I wake up every morning and get on knees and prey to thank the lord for blessing me with so many good friends and for the many blessing I have in my life.  That seems to keep intrusive thoughts away for a while, sometimes for most of the day.

My regular readers know that I have a brave heart but it is a tender one full of insecurities and it is now broken and I fear it will never heal. I know intellectually that is not true, I know that someday it will heal, but I also know I need help and have no idea what kind of help I need or where to go.

I started this blog for her.  I wrote every post in this blog for her.  I know I will never see her again and I know it is my fault because I was too stubborn to acknowledge the fact that I have serious issues that I refuse to deal with until now.  I lost her, I have strained my relationship with my parents, I have lost some of my closest friends and I know it is because I refused to acknowledge the fact that I have PTSD and that I am completely dysfunctional.

The Dalton Thomas series was my attempt to heal my brain-housing group by being creative, by forcing myself to sit still and concentrate and it worked for a while.  But it is not working now and, quite frankly, most of my last posts have sucked anyway,

So it is time to move on from FRI and I want to thank all of my regular readers and my friends for the kind emails they send and the donations they have made and the cool comments they leave on the posts.

I will leave the blog up for as long as I can because there are so many really good posts and even better pictures in it .   It would be a shame to take the blog down and if you have not been a regular reader go back in the archives and you’ll find some great writing and great pictures that provide unique insight into our involvement in Afghanistan.

But this is the last post.  I have serious issues and no idea what to do about them or where to turn. I live in Corpus Christi Texas now and if any of you know of support groups that deal with PTSD send me an email because that might be a good place to start.  But I have to move on and part of moving on is leaving the blog that was created for her.

And again, I want to thank all my readers for their support over the many years I have been writing this blog.  Dalton Thomas may be back in book form and that is what I will be doing in my spare time now because it is one of the better ways I have to cope with the fact that I am damaged goods.  But I’ll get better someday and pouring all this crap out on a blog that I know people around the world will read may not be smart but it is making me feel better already.  Self-pity is a trait I despise yet here I am posting the fact that it is stalking me everyday.  Pretty pathetic isn’t it?  But like I said so many times before – I just don’t know what else to do.

Comments   

 
+11 # Praying for better days....Diane Taylor 2012-08-17 15:35
Tim, your letter is moving to me. I live close to Ft. Benning GA. My daughter has dated several vets with the same issues. They were injured, but never admitted it was serious. Then, when faced with behavior dysfunction they denied and evaded. Some have finally sought help, and one we know just moved on after a really bad situation. Our daughter is young and cannot deal with the issues she has, must less theirs. It is so sad. I want to adopt them all. I keep up with them the best I can. One fellow hated the help he was getting...just tons a meds and a counselor that was clueless. I've talked personally with my Senator about this issue, and I hope when and if you find what works for you that you and Yon will post it so the rest of us that care can find it. I do not know the words to express my gratitude for your service, or my sorrow for your side effects of what you endured. You are a man...a human....you were designed to handle a lot, but when the line is crossed, there is damaged. I know your Creator knows this sorrow. I know He has an answer, but some of the time the answers are hard to see, or understand. I will pray for you to be bathed in comfort, and touched with healing. I give thanks for your dear friends and pray a special blessing on them. You can find love again when you are better and if you want it. So many women want and need to be love by a good man, and a man that knows what it is like to be broken and healed can sometimes give the very best kind of love! Do NOT GIVE UP...you are worth the work!
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+2 # HopeTim OReilly 2012-08-17 16:02
Check out Dave Roever Ministries they're based out of Texas and do good things for troops and others
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+2 # Tim & PTSDElaine Hodges 2012-08-17 16:07
Dear Tim,

May I strongly suggest the PTSD Recovery Program at the Menlo Park Veteran's Hospital, in California.
Menlo Park is part of the Palo Alto VA system. Basically it's a 3 month on-campus dormitory living situation.

It has helped countless Veterans in amazing ways. They have an excellent Recreational Therapy Program in that Unit as well!

You will be surrounded by other Vets who will understand your situation, and the camaraderie is wonderful.
Yes, the program can be tough & challanging at times, but it has to be tough in order to deal with the tough & challanging experiences you have endured. The nursing staff are the most warm & loving folks ever!

I have seen the lives of so many men & women changed dramatically. They enter the Program broken, bitter & angry and I see them leave with so much hope and a reason to live a full life. Please Tim, get the help that you so deserve.

And never, ever give up praying to Jesus, He loves and understands you like nobody else can and He wants to walk by your side. You are so valuable to Him and also valuable to those who appreciate your sacrifice.
God bless you and may the Lord give you peace in your soul and hope in your heart.
Never ever give up, life is so worth living and there IS hope. One day you will sleep soundly, smile and laugh again.

Thank you for your service and Semper Fi!
~Elaine
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+2 # RE: The Last Postannie 2012-08-17 16:14
Dear friend. My name is annie...just plain annie. I too have PTDS...heres the kick...I've never been to war..physically present but I've lived it for 12 years. My one true love has been there...consist ently all that time. I've lost friends. I'm frustrated with it all...the politicians, the enemy, the idiots who refuse to open their eyes to reality. I'm angry...no man can be as angry as a woman..or I think hate like a woman either. I'm a woman staying home by the stuff..wishing I could be there...God knows why...just to be able to stand in the gap with those who do. I think about it every day..My son was there to, a Marine. He has PTSD..he is a councelor now. He can't find a job..what's with that..I thought they were trying to get help for PTSD sufferers. Go figure. Maybe your lost love has PTSD too. This world can do that to you. I call it life..but it beats burying your head in the sand and ignoring reality. The difference to me is that I know the end from the beginning...it will all be put straight one day...maybe sooner than later...I'm hoping. I hope you can find this peace too. Don't look for the answer in man. He doesn't have it. Look to God, Jesus in particular. He's a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I've found him sufficient. I still worry about my one true love..I still hate ignorance and fence sitters and the willingly blind. I still mourn the loss of my friends...but I also hear the birds singing every morning at day break as I get up to another day of evil all over the world in this secluded western canyon I've chosen to dwell in. I study and I dream and I even laugh...There is humor in everything ....if you live long enough to appreciate it. Don't give up...life is different for all of us now...evil has come to maturity my love tells me. But remember ..evil will not win in the end..all will be set straight. There is hope. My thoughts will be with you...meeting life head on is not the hardest thing you will do. Not facing reality is much harder.
Your unknown friend...I'm sure you have many of my kind in your corner..
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+1 # RE: RE: The Last PostMama Frack 2012-08-18 00:28
Mama Annie, just remember to "keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, our High Priest!".
None of our loved ones are forgotten and nothing is ever wasted. just remember, that in the end result, you can go to sleep knowing that all is well and all will be well because God cannot lie, and there is "no shadow of turning with Him". Many greetings from a fellow "PTSD sufferer" who has found our God to be present even at the very bottom of my "most indescribably inhumane, horrible and atrocious memory". If God be for us, who can be against us !!! (Romans). Looking forward to seeing you in Heaven when we get to see that all will indeed be well with our souls! Thank you for posting, I hope that our fellow PTSD sufferers will be a little bit encouraged by what you had the bravery to post !
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# Poetry...sschaloc 2012-08-18 06:10
Annie, you've written poetry. Thank You.
(Paragraphs / whitespace is your frient)

Dear friend.

My name is annie...just plain annie.

I too have PTDS...heres the kick...I've never been to war..physically present but I've lived it for 12 years.

My one true love has been there...consist ently all that time.

I've lost friends. I'm frustrated with it all...the politicians, the enemy, the idiots who refuse to open their eyes to reality.

I'm angry...no man can be as angry as a woman..or I think hate like a woman either.

I'm a woman staying home by the stuff..wishing I could be there...God knows why...just to be able to stand in the gap with those who do.

I think about it every day..My son was there to, a Marine. He has PTSD..he is a councelor now. He can't find a job..what's with that..I thought they were trying to get help for PTSD sufferers. Go figure.

Maybe your lost love has PTSD too.

This world can do that to you. I call it life..but it beats burying your head in the sand and ignoring reality.

The difference to me is that I know the end from the beginning...it will all be put straight one day...maybe sooner than later...I'm hoping.

I hope you can find this peace too.
Don't look for the answer in man. He doesn't have it. Look to God, Jesus in particular. He's a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I've found him sufficient.

I still worry about my one true love..I still hate ignorance and fence sitters and the willingly blind.

I still mourn the loss of my friends...but I also hear the birds singing every morning at day break as I get up to another day of evil all over the world in this secluded western canyon I've chosen to dwell in.

I study and I dream and I even laugh...There is humor in everything ....if you live long enough to appreciate it.

Don't give up...life is different for all of us now...evil has come to maturity my love tells me.

But remember ..evil will not win in the end..all will be set straight. There is hope.

My thoughts will be with you...meeting life head on is not the hardest thing you will do. Not facing reality is much harder.

Your unknown friend...I'm sure you have many of my kind in your corner..
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# Staying by the stuff...sschaloc 2012-08-18 06:26
"I'm a woman staying home by the stuff.."

One last comment Annie;
(and all the (totally, unforgivably, unmentioned, forgotten spouses)

You don't realize how important it is/was, having the someone good, "staying home by the stuff" when you are deep in the s**t.

Sometimes, that's all that keeps you alive.

I think, it's harder being "home".
(alone)
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+4 # Our Prayers are with YouA Quiet Fan 2012-08-17 16:19
I've admired your spirit and endurance over the years as I've read your blogs. I started reading them when my oldest son was in Iraq at the beginning of the war and now have another son who has deployed three times to Iraq and has PTSD. I wish you the best and urge you to hang on and continue to endure until you see happy days again.
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+4 # You Are Not Alone...George 2012-08-17 16:26
Hey Tim,
The first, and hardest, step toward healing is recognizing the fact that you have a problem. You have taken that step. We are all taught to just "man up" and everything will be fine, but it has become clear that this is bad and inaccurate advice. It is very unfortunate that so many troops and others are effected now by PTSD and TBI but if there is a good side to that it is that so much has been learned regarding treatments for both ailments. Seek out, and use, all available help. (I've heard some interesting things about barometric chamber treatments for TBI). I don't know that a broken heart can ever be totally healed, but I do know that it becomes more tolerable with time. Bottom line Tim, don't make any rapid decisions or take any rapid actions. Take the time to heal, to return to being "Tim", the man that you are inside and have always been.
Good luck and Godspeed...
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+2 # Where to goRon USMC 2012-08-17 16:26
Mike...I've had the same problems leaving VN...lost girlfriends , family and finally self respect...after 45 years of suffering, a V.A. friend suggested I talk with a VA doctor...all the suffering, drinking,fights , drugs....PTSD.. .45 years of not knowing...the VA is more than willing to help you...I hesitated for some time and finally gave in...my life now isn't what it was, but it's getting better...may you find peace.

Ron
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+1 # HopeLeeAnn 2012-08-17 16:46
Wow, your last post stuns me and is the first time I have read your blog. I will definately, go back to the beggining.
I pray the Lord will bless you with peace. My father suffered from PTSD, and I watched him walk away from almost everyone he loved. Because he thought he knew the kind of man he needed to be.
Let go, and let God do the heavy lifting. Sometimes He brings brokeness into our lives to show us just how little we do controll, and how much He wants to work in our lives. You can lay all of IT, at His feet, and He will take it from you, and leave only peace in its place. It is His gift, He is with you know, waiting for you to let go of what you are gripping so tightly, and once your hand is open, He will fill it with more than you can hope. You are worthy of so much, just as you are. You have nothing to prove. You have nothing to earn. Everything is already forgiven. It is not even a question.
I am glad you are letting people in your life aid you now, and keep walking down that road. There are men and people of faith that would like to come alongside you and help share that load. I hope you will let them. Because whether you believe it or not, your walk will inspire others. Your story and blog has helped others, and shared insight.
And I agree, no secret is too great to share, in pursuit of finding your joy again. And no journey is too far, when it is traveled with freinds.
I was moved by your post, and hope that you find all the blessings still intended for you, and waiting.
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+1 # EMDRShane 2012-08-17 18:42
I emailed Tim but thought I would share this on here too. I learned about a treatment from a christian counselor called EMDR. The statistics he quoted were pretty convincing. My son is going through the treatment now for anger issues. We are seeing changes in him. Look it up at www.emdr.com. I'm not a counselor just heard about it and he specifically mentioned PTSD in regards to this treatment. My prayers are with the brave men and women who fight this battle everyday.
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# RE: EMDRcarolyn 2012-08-19 12:26
Shane, have had experience with EMDR and totally believe in the process moving the bad stuff out. Glad you mentioned it.
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+1 # EasyHeywood Jablomi 2012-08-17 19:20
You take your first step by picking up the Yellow Pages or looking on the Internet for your nearest VA Vet Center.

Just call, make an appointment, and walk in with your DD214 in hand.

They will take it from there. They know what they are doing.

Just do it. Stop whatever you are doing right now, and make an appointment. Then be there.

You can be helped!
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+1 # Get Help AvailableGreg Arabian 2012-08-17 20:00
I join in my advice that you contact the nearest VA Medical Center. They have at least 12 different disciplines that they treat as a specialty, my friend. Do not overlook the help they can give you, but you have to ask. God Bless.
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+1 # Odysseus in AmericaMike Kerrigan 2012-08-17 20:12
Tim,

This RC has you on the beads as well as other warriors visibly wounded or not. I spent today at Walter Reed Medical Center and met Travis Mills the latest quad to arrive there. There are amazing things happening there with or without the power of meds. PTS is not new as Jonathan Shay MD/PhD has depicted in his excellent book: Odysseus in America. Homer for described the journey home not just for Odysseus but for all veterans, especially those having seen combat.

May God help you act on His grace.
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+2 # So desperately sorryTraci 2012-08-17 20:57
Michael thank you for posting this message from your friend Tim. I am so desperately sorry. Tim if you see this just know, I promise, I will be praying for you too. You are a courageous man to admit this to the world. Because of your strength and humility, I am sure others fighting this same battle will find the courage too. I can't say thank you enough for giving so much to our country.
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+1 # Wounded Platoontom1 2012-08-17 21:43
Frontline did a piece titled the Wounded Platoon regarding PTSD. It's very good and chronicles many of the same things mentioned here. If anything, you'll realize you're not alone.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/woundedplatoon/view/
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-1 # RE: The Last PostShea Brown 2012-08-17 21:54
I love the way you write so honestly.Meanwh ile, more kids are signing up for missions they truly do not understand every day,, and the circle goes round and round.Perhaps your healing will best come by helping others in similar conditions,, and I truly wish only the best for your future, and for the people you will eventually help. Although you may never hear from all the folks your writing has helped in the past, it most certainly has touched a lot of hearts.
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# Dr.Justin Smith 2012-08-17 22:06
Tim,

Thank you for sharing your raw emotions with us. I am glad that you have a family you can lean on during this time. I agree with Heywood you need to make the appointment with the Vet Center in your area. show up with your dd214. Here is the contact info:

Corpus Christi Vet Center
Key Staff
4646 Corona Suite 250
Corpus Christi, TX 78411

Phone: 361-854-9961 Or 877-927-8387
Fax: 361-854-4730
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# Wife to a Vet suffering with PTSDMegan 2012-08-17 23:36
I am really sorry to hear what you have had to go threw. You are right tho, so many people can relate. Up until my husband and I were on the Dr.Phil show, we felt very alone in this. My husband suffers with severe ptsd as well. The help Dr.Phil provided to him has helped him a lot to get a grasp on his PTSD and learn to deal with it. Our marriage has almost failed many times. I am now learning to adjust. We are seeing a marriage counselor together now as well at the VA here locally. Thank you for sharing your story. I admire your honesty. I think that with due time, you will find yourself again and start writing again. You can help so many other vets. This blog alone will help other vets to come to the realization that they are not alone, and that it is OK to ask for help. I wish you the very best! If you are interested in seeing the show we were on, go to Youtube and search for "Heros in pain". I have it on there. The show is in 4 parts. We are the last couple on the show. Dr.Phil also mentions damaged goods. That is a hard one to swallow. It's true in away, but not fair. My thoughts and prayers are with you while you continue to better yourself. Today I am thankful for...your blog!! Thank you!
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+1 # God BlessJamesH 2012-08-17 23:40
Tim,

I live in the Corpus area (Portland) and will be praying for you. If you ever need anything like a day of fishing or hunting (dove season's right around the corner) or anything really, call me. My number is 643-8045.

Thanks for your service.
James
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# atuxedoAnne Frack 2012-08-18 00:19
Tim Lynch, You are an extraordinarily gutsy Man !!! May God restore the relationship between you and the Lady you love! Nothing is impossible! You have my utmost respect and you and your family are in my prayers!
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+1 # RE: The Last PostBranch 2012-08-18 01:09
God bless you, Tim. I don't know what to say to make it any better, or any different, or make it hurt less than it must hurt right now.

For whatever it's worth, just know that you made a difference.

Like others have said - please check out the Vet Center.

Branch
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-1 # RE: The Last Postrobin yatess 2012-08-18 01:57
just admitting to your self you have a pron. And rightly sso. Admit your shit government has caused your problems and hopefully you will becomethe man you were. Good luck Michaelblem is the first step of a very long road.I am convinced guilt is built on the knowledge that you were in aa country which you were not welcome i
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# Good stuff...sschaloc 2012-08-18 05:56
Link:
http://www.ptsdspirituality.com/

That's all. Go, gently explore.

Prayers up! Choose Life.

(thanks for all Michael, and for truth)
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+1 # Title? Got nuthinArt Clewley 2012-08-18 13:17
I hear ya Mike. I'm an army vet, and a retired cop. I left it behind and hit the road driving a truck, seeing the country, talking to people from diverse backgrounds. And I could do it when I wanted, and appreciated the solitude whenever I needed it. Get your Class A license, come out on the road with me. It's a new start, and I'm sure inspiring when it comes to your writing.
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# ArtMichael Yon author 2012-08-19 14:03
Thank you. To be clear, this was written by my friend Tim Lynch. Tim is a great guy and very courageous, and strong. Having some rough seas as have many people. But deep down he is strong and Tim is a fighting man. That said, I will be contacting him more often.
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# The first step....Matthew 2012-08-18 17:00
The first step to recover is admitting you have a problem. I think that is an AA phrase. There is lot there.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-Step_Program

But I want to go one step further and recommend meditation. It is a tool. It does not matter what you believe. But meditation is a tool that goes a long ways toward helping any problem you might have.

Godspeed Mr Lynch
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# GOOD LUCKDEIRDRE 2012-08-20 00:46
I CAN ONLY WISH YOU THE BEST OF EVERYTHING WITH YOUR RECOVERY AND THE LAST PART OF AN IRISH PRAYER: MAY GOD HOLD YOU IN THE PALM OF HIS HANDS. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE.
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+1 # Baba TimTim Lynch 2012-08-20 18:03
I thank all of you for the kind comments. At the moment I am overwhelmed by the response that post generated so I am unable to answer you all individually like I wish I could.

I'll be fine and appreciate your loving support.

Baba Tim
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# ms.karen 2012-08-21 16:56
GOD BLESS YOU TIM
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# RE: The Last PostNani Kemp 2012-08-26 04:39
Check out this program:
http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/18/cheney-hannity-highlight-successful-rivers-of-recovery-veteran-rehabilitation-program/
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