Growing up the child of a wounded warrior, I knew the toll of war. My father was missing an eye, a fancy piece of glass made to resemble an eye sat where it belonged. As a child of four, I once accidentally witnessed my father cleaning his eye. Walking into the living room to find him with his eye in his hand and the socket drooping on his face I was horrified. I screamed and had to be comforted by my mother. For days I was afraid of my father, not understanding what I had witnessed. I have found myself revisiting this moment time and time again in my memory and can’t help but think how terrible it must have been for him, knowing that his appearance had scared his own child so.
Many of my father’s wounds were visible, the glass eye being the most noticeable. He had physical markings to show that he had been damaged beyond repair, that war had taken a great toll on him. But he also carried many deeper wounds that were not visible to the eye, wounds that affected how he saw himself and the world around him. These hidden wounds were far more painful than the loss of an eye, for he was haunted by his actions and the things he saw during his time of war.