• Thomas DeVietro

The GYMRaT. (Rough Draft) By Thomas DeVietro

When I got back to Fort Benning I was emotionally drained from burying Mom. I had acted as best as I could to stay strong and maintain composure for Mom Mom and Pop Pop while I was home for the funeral. They were completely a mess from the loss of their sweet baby girl. Everything I had done up to this point in training, to become apart of 75th, meant nothing to me. I felt so empty, cold, confused, and lost. I was numb. Mom wasn't there, she wasn't here on this earth any more. The thought of restarting Pre- Ranger School and than starting Ranger School was mentally demoralizing, especially in January. I had always looked forward to and thrived in training environments, they were all fun for me always. But now with Mom gone, I felt everything and nothing. Infantry School, Airborne School, RIP- none of them were hard. All were a pleasure and fun. I wanted, needed and loved being there. When I set out to become a Ranger I was committed mentally. Once that switch was flicked, there was no turning back. I took for granted how much confidence my mother gave me to do anything I set my mind to. I didn't and still may not fully understand how powerful the residual effects of her passed on and influenced traits propel me to conduct myself as best I can without fear of judgement or failure. The truth was now, I was scared. I was and have always been scared. I was just quickly reassured by my Mother not to be afraid. Now it was back to training. I wanted to quit. I was Ready to quit. I told myself when I got back to Fort Benning, I would tell the cadre I couldn't stop thinking about my mother and did not feel safe to train. The start of the next Pre-Ranger or SURT class was the next day. As I was walking to the cadre office to let them know I would not be continuing I saw Avery and Dakota. They gave condolences for the loss of mom, we bro hugged. I held in my tears but wanted to cry like a bitch and break down. That wasn't who I was to them though nor who I had been the last 6 months we new each other. They new me as Sergeant DeVietro incredibly optimistic and fearless who wants everyone to always give their best for the team and become a 75th Ranger! I didn't cry or break down but I was honest with them both. I told them I didn't think I could make it through winter class. That my mind was completely jacked up and my heart incredibly lost and cold. I couldn't feel warmth, everything was cold and numb without Mom on earth any more. They felt me but quickly reminded me that she wouldn't have wanted me to quit, especially when it get's really hard. They were reminding me of me, they were reminding me of her and who she was and how she taught me to be. That no matter what the hardship, you do your best for the ones you love and never give up using all your heart and soul. I had taken for granted the confidence she gave me. I decided to go back to training. I graduated Pre-Ranger than Ranger school. I cried every single day. When the day got dark and no one could see me, I would curse any and all gods for taking my Mother. Constantly asking the questions that would never be answered and would only bring me more confusion, heart ache and pain. I challenged God and Satan if they were real to face me, strike me or send me to hell right in that instant. I was in hell without my mother on earth. I went through hell without my mother on earth. Even though she wasn't here on this earth any more I spoke to her and still speak to her everyday like she is still here. When she first passed it was hard to hear and see her from the shock of her abrupt and unexpected departure. My world was dark, malevolent and aggressive. I had no control over my emotions and they scared me to death. To get through school I had to completely shut off all of my emotions to concentrate at the tasks at hand all while wanting to cry my eyes out like a little Momma's boy who just lost his best friend, his Momma. She guided me through dark and confusing times growing up, always teaching me to search for any bit of light I could find regardless of the situation or circumstance. This was the darkest my world had ever been, the most blurred my vision had ever become in a time when I needed it most. Thinking of the past did no good, it brought dwelling and sadness. Thinking about the future without her was utterly suffocating so that route was a no go. I dove down deep inside my manic mind to try and hear her voice and see her face. I was trying so hard to visualize her telling me not to worry and to keep going. This was and is the biggest challenge of my life, regaining mental balance and stability from the loss of my mother. When I saw her face and heard her voice, my heart and mind went straight to the most negative place it had ever been. Dark, malevolent and ruthless. I thought about the things I would do for revenge of my sweet mother being taken from me. It was the start of the dark path where the demons seem like they can and will help. I had always been quick to squash negative demons with swift, strong and overwhelming optimism. But this was the most trying of times for me now, it was like judgement day in my own world. Somehow I was able to not give up. I never quit. I never stopped using the love in my heart that she gave me. It was love against indifference. I question every day if I made the right decision to go back to training in order to become apart of 75th Ranger Regiment. Some days my heart and mind go a very dark and lonely place. Whenever I find myself in those situations and circumstances I always go back to Ranger school and try and remind myself to always use the love in my heart for the one we love most.

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