Day 26 of 31 Days in August, “Phone Call in the Night” 

Day 26 of 31 days in AugustThe Final Hours Collection of the PTSD Poetry Project

Day 6 of 22

The upcoming month of September is National Suicide Awareness Month

The significance of 22 is the average number of veterans who die by suicide each day

Please visit Honor Courage Commitment, inc’s page to learn about the mission and how they are bringing awareness by using the hashtag #22kill and their 22 push-up challenge.

***This Collection’s poems’s subject is suicide and can be triggering to read. Please practice CAUTION BEFORE READING***

“Phone Call in the Night”

The phone rang harshly

As I looked at the handset

I wondered out loud

Why the sound was always so abrupt

Why was it not soft or soothing

Taking a deep breath I answered

Praying inside for my words to be ..

The right words

The right tone

The right everything

To keep this person alive tonight

For a moment there was no reply

I sat and waited

This was not uncommon

I could hear ragged breathing

I waited

I looked at my list

Of what to do

Of how to ask the right questions

To find out where they were

If and only if they asked for help

The longest moments passed

Until I heard a soft voice

Unexpectedly a man’s voice

Broken by tears

He began to tell me his story

He told me all the things

Which woke him in the night

He told what he could not forget

We talked for nearly five hours

Until he had made it through the worst

We talked until he said he was okay

At the end he gave me his name and address

“Just in case”

And said “Thank you Mam’ for listening to me

And being so kind”

Then he hung up.

Two days later

The newspaper story

Stuck way in the back

Had the obituary of the same man

Who had told me his name

And his address

He’d died ‘unexpectedly’ at 46

He’d served his country

He’d been a hero to many

Tears poured down my face

As I sat at the table

As I thought about his tears

When he had finally spoken

Could I have done more

Could I have said better words

I thought about the stories he’d shared

I got up from the table

I stood at the window looking outside

I looked at the sky

I knew it had already been too late

He’d only needed someone to listen

He’d only needed to be kind

In the night he’d decided

It was to be his final hour



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