A Soldiers Story #1: Struggles, What drives me!

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Blog entry by Nate Meadows posted 01-30-2013 07:58 PM 2536 reads 0 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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It has been almost 10 years since I was in combat, 9 since I was wounded. Yet the emotional wounds feel as deep as they were the day the metaphorical knife cut them open, if not deeper. A simple thing can trigger such a strong reaction.

Today, my boys were home sick with fever and a deep cough so they were watching movies. They starting watching a show on TV were a World War II soldier is being worked on by a medic and the medic just kept crying “stay with me!”

I lost it. I quickly moved outside and broke down! I hit the concrete patio and just laid there in a heap, a broken crying man, hiding from my boys…from the world! They don’t know I was that medic! That I see my hands covered in blood and taste the metallic taste of blood from doing mouth to mouth on a dying friend. How does one tell your boys you failed, when all they want to do is see you as a hero? Can you tell them anything?

Normally I can deal with the flashbacks and stress or PTSD ok because I get to work in the shop. (Ok I take some meds too) But lately the weather has kicked (frozen) me out. I am looking forward to being able to get back in there and start using sending some of that energy into creative channels.

There is so much to deal with between the physical, mental and the emotion. Woodworking really helps balance everything out and gives me a huge escape as well as healthy way of coping. I am safe from the triggers of the world in the shop and surrounded by the beauty of wood; its smell, shape and figure. Then there are the tools one works with. They are equally as beautiful and give just as much pleasure when used. There is something about taking a tool and using to transform a beautiful piece of wood into a beautiful piece of art.

I am looking forward to getting back into the groove of things. Thanks for listening.


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

42 comments so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2267 days

#1 posted 01-30-2013 08:05 PM


At times we act as if our peace and confidence is a matter of effort and self-control.
When that fails, seek solace among friends.

We’re here for you.

Best Regards – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3298 days

#2 posted 01-30-2013 09:51 PM

i agree with grandpalen, and Ive tried to be a friend for you , i wrote you several weeks ago and don’t hear from you, i wonder if your sick or need help, that is why i reached out to you Nate, i wanted to be a source of help, i would gladly call you and give you a chance to talk to me, have someone who partly understands..and im only going to say this one time here…your outlook of yourself is so wrong, and you have to know there was no failure did all you could do , not for yourself, but for all of us here in America…you went, you served, how many men here have eluded military service, and didn’t have the courage to go and do whatever it took to keep our county free, your a hero to me Nate..and you are to everyone…...that is the gospel truth..i don’t care what others might have said to you, but they were wrong if they told you you failed…dead wrong i have told you, im here to be a friend and will do my best to help, i know ive had times where i wish i could talk to someone , a friend..because we don’t judge..we listen and do what we can to help you be the best you that you can be,,,,,Ive written a book here…im always here Nate…...and i want to also say, that to have 180 people read this post and only 2 of us to respond and try to help , i think its pretty sad…..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View MichaelAgate's profile


398 posts in 2318 days

#3 posted 01-30-2013 10:02 PM


first off. I second GrandpaLen’s comment. Though I have not been through the heroic trials and tribulations you have ventrued; I do know that feeling of instant emotional breakdown. Long story, will share some time.

When it comes to the failure part, as you know, we can do a million things right yet as soon as we make a mistake we feel the failure. I have a feeling you have done more rights than failures in your military career. That being said; don’t question how your boys feel about you.

Hero’s will help you find good in yourself,
A friend won’t forsake you for somebody else,
They both stand beside you through thick and through thin,
And that’s how it goes with Hero’s and Friends.

Though we can’t visit each other’s shop and have a coffee, I see you as a friend, and a hero as well.

Take Care my friend.

-- Michael and Matthew

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3335 days

#4 posted 01-30-2013 11:35 PM

please don’t go there nate
you have done everything asked of you
in this gift of life the best way you could
nobody can just get through
without some interaction with it totally untouched
everyone has a different purpose
and brings a different lesson
some give as they can
some give their all

your path has changed now
from what you were given before
strengthened by that past

nothing is lost or left behind
now your strength and caring
are still here to help those in need
and yourself in other ways

just different
but just as important

today is a gift from yesterday
tomorrow will be another

enjoy your life and family and friends
you have not failed by any means
you are still a caring and good man
you still have a world that needs your help
and can show us what it is to rise above
and open our hearts to all in need
whatever that may be

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2001 days

#5 posted 01-30-2013 11:40 PM

They’re pretty much summed it up with the comments above me. I’d just like to add Thank You for your service!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4211 posts in 2555 days

#6 posted 01-31-2013 12:05 AM


I been there since 2006 and still FIGHT it. The thing here is fight it. I still have battles all the time, buy find that guys here can help me through it. I also found that me helping other Vets learn how to turn pens and I will be teaching hand tools as soon as I get enough.
This really helps. Also I have helped other guys and gals like you and me get out of hiding in the house. Never give up just get help.

From a Guy been there and still is

Plus several of the guys got together and helped me out and one came to my house to help (Patron)


PS – Wish you were closer

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2648 days

#7 posted 01-31-2013 12:28 AM

Nate, Arlin and other vets out there, if it is convenient, you might want to check into a local VA hospitals PTSD program they recently developed. My VA counselor was the first in the Spokane, WA VA Hospital to use this program on me and it really works! It helps you to come to understand the context of the incident and gives you the tools to work your way through the nightmares, emotional triggers and depression. It has REALLY helped me a ton and I don’t think I would be as together as I am now, in the head, if it had not been for this program and my counselor.

Thank you both for your service and hang in there. There are people out there who can and are very willing to help you through this. Your country owes it to you and you need to make sure you collect on that debt.

No, I do not work for the VA nor am I a spokesman for the VA. I just believe in the PTSD program.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2201 days

#8 posted 01-31-2013 12:32 AM

Ok, Just got back from taking the boys to see the doctor! I want to say Thank You to all of you! I am touched and very encouraged by the words you have all shared!

Len, Thank you! I struggled with wether or not to post this but I kept feeling like so many of you have been with me through much of the journey of creativity, and I have been silent for so long that I felt I should share. My fear was that some would not understand, roll there eyes or even judge! But I also know that many of you have the purest hearts I have ever encountered! It is to you that I lean and bare myself. I am so thankful you are there!

Grizz, O, there is no try…you have been such a good friend. You have been so consistent in emailing me then it just stopped. I thought you were sick. (I think there is a problem with the como, because I emailed you three times. I have sent you a test pm. Lets hook back up and share telephone #s so this does not happen again! You are a great friend! Thank you so much for being there, for sharing your ideas and for listening. Please do not stop!

Micheal, Thank you very much. You are very encouraging. We are definitely friends! It would be nice to have coffee:). It was nice to talk on the phone!

Patron, Thank you so much. Your words really move me! Not only are you a gifted woodworker you are a gifted speaker! Thank you!

Joe, Thank You and You are welcome! I do wish I could be back in service, but God has a different plan.

Arlin, Thank you for your service. You are very encouraging. You give sound advice and speak words of wisdom. Thank You. It is good to have someone to turn to when things become heavy. I do have a project that I started working on as an outreach, but…you know I was frozen out of the shop..,:) but I will get back in there. Thanks so much for the advice. It would be nice to meet, have a coffee or coke. I am so glad you got to meet Patron and some of the guys. LJs are incredible!

Thank you all!

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2201 days

#9 posted 01-31-2013 12:35 AM


I am in the VA Center in Reno Nv. We are discussing the next phase of treatment. Thank you very much for the feedback, that does help allot!


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View getlostinwood's profile


224 posts in 2596 days

#10 posted 01-31-2013 01:46 AM

Beyond the daily battles, take a moment when it comes up casually and let the kids know that heros dont always win. You do all you can, for all those that you can. You do it to win everytime. Sometimes you don’t win. Not winning isn’t the same as failing.
Let me give some perspective because I hate putting sodiers lives in the context of winning and losing.I grew up rough, not dad molested me rough but rough enough. I have had to really struggle to let my daughters in on why I act extreme when I see a kid or woman being mistreated. They have no basis for understanding. I say this to underscore that in time, God willing, your kids will have no basis for understanding your PTSD. In the inverse it may be helpful for them to know about then men that are home because of your work. Your job put you in a position of trying to clean up a mess in the middle of a tornado. Remember to count the wins as well as remembering the losses.

-- The basis for optimism is shear terror

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2184 days

#11 posted 01-31-2013 01:53 AM

thanks nate for your service and sacrifice.
i can’t imagine what you’ve gone through and seen,but i wish you the best and will keep you and your family in my prayers.

i hope what treatment they try next helps.


-- Marty.Athens,AL

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2684 days

#12 posted 01-31-2013 02:07 AM

Nate- I only wish I were as eloquent as David. I’m not so I’ll just tell you that doing the best you can is all that’s possible (and sometimes it isn’t enough). I know you are a hero to all of us and to your boys. Some things can never be put behind us but time helps heal the pain. Keep your chin up and just concentrate on doing right by those boys. Your friend, Andy

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View DocSavage45's profile


8549 posts in 2837 days

#13 posted 01-31-2013 02:25 AM


Men from WWII broke down in movie theaters when they watched the movie by Spielberg re: D Day. It was so frekin real that it triggered supressed memories. There is a big push now to identify and provide support for the guys on duty.
I have been working with a few vets and did a lot of research. The best treatment out there is to be able to tell your story to your band of brothers.

good luck

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View SFLTim's profile


59 posts in 1975 days

#14 posted 01-31-2013 02:39 AM


I know we all feel for you. Not many of us have experienced or can even imagine what you’ve been thru. Like so many others have noted, always remember that you did your duty to the best of your ability. That’s all anyone can expect and those of us that didn’t serve or didn’t experience combat like you are forever indebted to you and those like you that did. Don’t bury the feelings. Seek help, it’s there. Sounds like you are heading in that direction. There is a lot of hope and having your craft in the woodshop to fall back on is a form of therapy you can always get lost in. Do it. You deserve it. Best of luck.

View NormG's profile


6109 posts in 2998 days

#15 posted 01-31-2013 02:53 AM

Thank you for your service, just remember there is always someone available to assist

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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