Why I am lucky to have been mentored by a veteran

I ran a bit long in my last post about recovery — it was over 1400 words long! My deepest gratitude to anyone who slogged through it all. What I was trying to say in that post is very important to me, in terms of using this blogging opportunity to be purposeful.

Believe it or not, as long as it was, there was a critical piece I had to cut thinking going over 1500 words was just too cruel to readers. I mentioned a list of ideas generated at a forum called One Life earlier this month in Bangor. The event was hosted by the BDN and honored a young man who recently passed away of an overdose.

The part I had to cut had to do with my favorite suggestion on the list of things we all can do to reduce overdose deaths and improve access to treatment. My favorite one said all children should have a mentor. I can’t possibly endorse this concept enough.

I know I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this blog had I not benefitted from mentorship.

Mentors, be they active during your childhood or at any other stage in your life, can offer a kind of support that’s hard to describe. A mentor is that person who takes a special interest in who you are and how you are navigating through life. A mentor is that person you can turn to when you absolutely don’t know who else to turn to, but you trust that person’s judgement so you turn to them first.

A mentor is someone who cares enough to deliver that occasionally needed hard message that gets you back on track — after the stinging stops. And a mentor delivers the softer, confidence-instilling messages when you need them, too.

For children, mentors can be especially critical. It’s hard for kids to know who and how to trust, and having that one extra grown-up who cares can help that development. Mentors are also someone for kids and teens to talk to when they are not sure what their parents might think.

Parenting is hard. Safe mentors are like a safety net for parents and families. Mentors are something I think citizens, schools, communities, law enforcement, and government agencies should start placing a much higherer value on.

Sylvester Cobbs - Family photo

Sylvester Cobbs – Family photo

This weekend is tough for me because I miss my greatest mentor and friend. As I’ve written before, Memorial Day weekend was a special weekend for us, and it is also the anniversary weekend of the accident that caused the injuries that took his life. And, he was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars.

I consider myself blessed to have had such an incredible friend and mentor. His military and life experience came through every piece of advice, every conversation, and every laugh in the shape of wisdom. For three years now I’ve been missing that wisdom every single day.

The best mentors, though, live on to inspire and support  even after they are gone. There’s a couple tunes I play during those moments when I know he is the only one I really want to talk to.  Here’s one of them. I miss you, old man.

My very best wishes for Memorial Day to our service people, veterans and their families. I appreciate your commitment to service and the inherent sacrifice.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.