“No tree it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell” Carl Jung.
I just want to let you know that I understand what you have been through. Although I did not directly experience it, I am human and I am the same as you, and when you let compassion for others in, you uncover this bond of pain between humans that means I can feel what you feel even so.
Try not to hate yourself for what you have seen and what you did or did not do. That part of your life is over and you never have to go back there.
If you truly feel regret and compassion, you can be forgiven in this life and in any other but you must remember that you have to forgive yourself first. You have been punished and you continue to punish yourself with every thought you torture yourself with, surely that is enough punishment now?
It is not all your fault, this was the path your life took and you had to experience what you did. You can spend the rest of your life feeling ashamed and staying silent, you can ignore the horrors that haunt your nightmares, or you can face them. You can accept that they happened and you can look at them and learn something from them.
Sam, speak to someone, anyone, a stranger, a lover, a friend, a sibling, anyone who has shown you kindness. Choose someone who is quiet and who will listen without judgement and tell them what is inside of you. If you cannot say it to another person, say it to the air; let it out into the world. Go to a quiet place where no one can hear you but the earth and tell the clouds what happened, speak out loud what you did, what you should have done but you didn’t, what you seen that has affected you so, say out loud what was wrong and what was right, say sorry to the people you feel you let down, ask for forgiveness from the people that you could not save and know that they will give you it. If you cannot speak it, write it down and read it to yourself, let the thoughts and feelings pour out onto paper, burn it afterwards if you feel you must, let the words turn to ash and float away into the air.
I cannot imagine the horrors that you have seen or the nightmares that you suffer. There is a part of me however that knows that blackness. I do not know why, but this world can only exist with light and dark, good and evil, these dark things have to happen so that wonderful miraculous things can happen too.
Do not think or feel that you are damned, do not feel that there is no hope for you. I am telling you undoubtedly in my mind there is hope for you and for everyone. Sometimes, some people have to see the darkest side of the universe before they can see the light. There is light, there is good, and they are there for you too, you can experience them in your life, you just need to let go of what happened. Breathe in your pain and breathe it back it out.
There is a fight for your soul and you must not lose it. You must fight with everything you have for the good that is in you, you must know that it is possible to leave that hell that you walk around in. You must know that that is what you must do now for your own good and for the good of the human race. You must forgive yourself and you must learn from your past. Do not dwell, do not wallow, accept and move on. You are a good person and this world needs every good soul to fight for the right side, for good. You cannot do that if you are lost in a past hell, you can only do good and help people if you figure out how to get passed the suffering and the pain. When you are imprisoned there, you are letting the evil win; you are letting the bad in the world keep you from doing good because it has paralysed you.
You are not alone, I care about you, I care about what happened, about what you saw, what you did, what you wish you had or had not done. I care for you and for every man, woman and child that has ever known war. I am not alone in this, many other people care about you too, they do not want you to be unhappy, they do not want you to suffer in guilt and shame, they want you to know that you are forgiven, that you are loved and that they feel compassion for you as I do.
Do not give up that fight, do not get lost in the darkness of that war, come back to the earth and see that there is still good in it, there is still love and peace and hope, it is just in another place and you can only find it if you choose to leave the hell you exist in now.
Do not be afraid to let someone show you love, take your hand and gently look into your eyes and say without speaking, I understand. Do not be afraid to show that you are human and that what you experienced has changed you in a way that you will never reverse. Let someone care for you and help you build yourself again.
We all knew that war is wrong, we all wept when we saw people dying in the name of war or religion. We never wanted our countries to be at war. We did not want soldiers to be sent to the frontline to fight. We did not want guns, we did not want killing. We do not want you or anyone else to suffer. We wanted only peace. We did not care if governments had to debate for a thousand years about what the right solution to a problem is as long as they did not reason that violence and killing was the answer.
We are all people, we are all of the same species, we care about each other, no matter the religion, or colour, or ethnicity, or country. We wanted peace, peace and only peace, but no one would listen to us. Society ignored you because to acknowledge you would be to admit what war does to man. War destroys man and it destroys the earth. I know that in my heart better than I know anything, better than I know whether or not there is a god, better than I know what happens when I die, better than I know whether this is the real existence or hell or a dream, better than I know language, better than I know speech, better than I know the meaning of anything, I know beyond any doubt that violence is wrong, that killing is wrong, that anyone who finds themselves involved in the business of killing is in danger of their soul being smothered by an all consuming darkness.
I know it, Sam, I know. I don’t know how I can, I don’t know how I know how you feel, but I do, I can feel it, I picture the things you have seen, I feel the way those things made you feel, and I weep, I weep for you and for all the others and I wish I could take the pain away, I wish I could just put my hand in yours and breathe all your suffering in and breathe it back out, but I cannot. My wishing only helps me; you have to do some wishing for yourself, some letting go before you can begin to feel peace again.
Take my hand, look into my eyes, and know that I am there for you now and always and I forgive you and love you.