To this day, I am as much in love with Erica as the first moment we met. Eventually, we bought a house in Seattle and lived happily for eight years.
Can you believe it? At my age, a normal life? I still took Prozac,
of course and attended counseling. Sometimes, the nightmares came back,
and I went through occasional spells of depression the drugs couldn’t
handle, but compared to that other existence, I was in paradise.
Erica retired in 2001, and we moved to Hawaii. Together, we built a
modest home and live within our means. My son, Marsh, is a man now and
visits twice a year. Not long ago, I was finally able to talk to him
about my life experiences. I felt he had the right to know why his dad
was the way he was. Not easy for me to do, it was a difficult moment
for both of us, but I believe Marsh understood, and his expressions of empathy
were sincere. He is a good, caring young man, and I’m very proud
I still attend counseling, and the doctors occasionally adjust
my medication to fill the gaps when the Prozac quits working. Now, I
realize there are two Lance Johnsons – the person I am before Vietnam
and the person I am since. Two very different people, and I struggle
to embrace them both. The Lance Johnson I am now is committed to the
sanctity of life. It
is his new church, and there is no longer a place for organized religion in
his life. This Lance Johnson will attend a funeral or wedding, appreciate
the ceremony and enjoy the music as much as anyone, but when he hears a politician
or preacher talk about God and the Culture of Life, and then come out pro-guns,
pro-death penalty and pro-war, he gets sick to his stomach. If God is
for all that, then He doesn’t need this Lance Johnson.