Serving in a war can’t be taken lightly. Not only do soldiers suffer while on the battlefield, when they return home the trauma continues. War veterans have a very fragile mental health, and this veteran felt like he no longer wanted to deal with the battle anymore. He decided to take his own life, but everything was turned around when he went outside for a final smoke. The veteran heard a strange noise coming from a bush, and what he found will pull on your heartstrings.
When someone enlists in the military, they’re making a huge, life-altering decision. Whether they’re fighting on the front lines, or working behind the scenes, the humans who serve our country make an enormous sacrifice to protect us. Even though the honor is great, it comes with unbelievable consequences of devastating health problems that are both mental and physical. What happens after war is something most could never imagine, and it’s incredibly heartbreaking.
Witnessing the atrocities of war changes the people involved. Soldiers that go to war come back an entirely different person, due to witnessing bloodshed and complete devastation. Many veterans suffer from PTSD, as well as other mental health problems, even after their service is long over. One veteran felt the effects of war in a very intense way. The memories he carries with him will make even the strongest of people cry, and you’ll never believe what he went through.
Veterans of the military are extremely proud to have served their country. “I was very proud to wear the colors on my sleeve..to have the flag sewn on my shoulder,” American army veteran Josh Marino said. The unit Marino was in was deployed to southwest Baghdad, Iraq, and Marino experienced the terror of war firsthand. Unfortunately, one day Marino looked death right in the face, and memories of what happened are what nightmares are made of.
A mortar attack struck where Marino was located, and multiple mortars exploded only ten feet away from his righthand side. Due to the attack, Marino suffered from a traumatic brain injury. Marino then began to feel the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, which began to hurt his overall mental health. “A lot of us come home without realizing we are bringing the war home with us,” Marino explained, he soon understood that he was not okay.
Marino began to suffer from such an extreme amount of anxiety, he could no longer concentrate on anything. All he could seem to focus on was his memories, and the endless amount of depression he was feeling. “In a lot of cases having a physical wound that no one can see, you’re not believed,” Marino explained about soldiers dealing with PTSD and mental illness. You’ll soon find out that Marino was very close to his breaking point with nowhere to turn.
On one night in particular, Marino couldn’t bear to live with his mental health problems any longer. Marino grabbed one of his knives, with plans to end his life. “I didn’t want to deal with it anymore,” the veteran admitted. What he planned to leave for his love ones is the proof of the horrible depression he was going through. It’s an important reminder that mental illness should be taken very seriously.
On his computer, Marino left a suicide note. He left the note open on his desktop, so whoever found it would know how beaten down he was by his state of mental health. Before he took his life, he decided to spend some time outside. You won’t believe how much that decision changed the course of his life. You’re about to see that everything happens for a reason and how Marino finding hope in the most unlikely of places is proof of that.
While standing outside in the rain, smoking a cigarette, Marino knew that he was soon to end his life. “I smoked a cigarette in the rain, it was going to be my last one,” Marino stated. He was sitting outside of his barracks, with a mind that was racing, when he realized he wasn’t alone. Soon enough, Marino would find out that someone was spying on him, and they would make their presence known very shortly.
Until he had heard that noise in the bushes, Marino had had his mind made up, but what he didn’t know about was the friendship he would soon make. You’d never guess what he found hiding! You’ll soon find out that Marino was about to make a very special friend. A friend that would bring him a relationship that would shape his life in a different way. Prepare yourself for some tears, because this is definitely a tearjerker.
As he was sitting there, Marino heard a small meow coming from the bushes. Soon after, Marino was accompanied by a tiny, black and white, kitten! The kitten made its way to Marino, and began rubbing against his leg. Marino began to pet his new friend and the loneliness and despair he felt started to melt away. Marino found himself crying. “Maybe he knew there was something that I couldn’t quite handle,” he stated. This wouldn’t be the only visit the kitten would make, their relationship was only beginning.
Marino began to think about how he could help this kitten out with its problems, instead of thinking too hard about his own. He started leaving out food every day for his new friend, and they began to spend a lot of time together. The tiny cat soon began to recognize the voice of Marino. Every time he went outside, Marino would call for his furry companion. His relationship with the kitten quite literally saved Marino’s life. You won’t believe the effect this creature had on Marino!
Every time Marino was able to spend time with the kitten, he would experience feelings of happiness and purpose. “He didn’t see anything wrong with me, he didn’t see any sort of flaws or imperfections. It felt safe,” Marino stated. One day when Marino went outside, his feline friend was nowhere to be found, but you’ll soon see that their friendship was in no way over. A twist of fate would be the answer to reunite Marino was his new buddy!
Some months had passed when Marino and his girlfriend, Becky, went to an adopt-an-animal event. Marino was walking through the aisles looking for a new companion, when a little paw reached out from the cage and tapped Marino on the arm. Could it be? It was the black and white kitten from outside the barracks. Marino was so happy he quickly filled out the paperwork to make the cat his own, and then he named him Scout! Marino was about to be discharged from the Army, and the relationship he had with Scout began to shape who he was as a person!
Marino and Scout became instantly inseparable. A year after adopting Scout, Marino married his girlfriend, Becky. He also began to exercise on his bike more and began to eat a healthier diet. In a surprising turn of events, Marino actually went to school for his Master’s Degree in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. He started helping out other veterans that suffered from the same issues of mental health. Marino became so inspired by the support of Scout, he believed he could do anything. So, it was devastating when Scout’s health began to decline.
After Scout’s behavior became strange, Marino brought him to the vet. He found out Scout had feline leukemia. He was given a transfusion, but only had two weeks to live. Scout ended up passing away in Marino’s arms, but the effect Scout had on Marino’s life will always be remembered. “Even before he was my cat before he even knew me that well, Scout saved my life. He put me on a different path. He gave me the confidence to try to come back from all the adversity that I was feeling,” Marino stated. This story just goes to show that animals have a healing power that can help out no matter what you’re going through.