The Medevac

I arrived in Washington, DC on May 29th, exhausted, vulnerable and feeling defeated. Just the morning before in St Vincent I realized I had hit rock bottom. My existence at post had become one of unbearable isolation, and a depression of overwhelming proportions had set in that I could no longer cope with alone. So from my friend’s house near Kingstown, I called our medical officer in St. Lucia to wave the white flag and signal S.O.S.

 “I need your help,” I told him, my voice cracking as tears welled up in my eyes.

With that plea began the process of my medical evacuation from St. Vincent. In less than twenty-four hours I was on a plane out of my host country, heading back stateside to receive care and attention from the Peace Corps medical services office in our nation’s capital.

Over the course of my 45-day medevac, I saw a counselor at Peace Corps headquarters several times a week who supported and witnessed my healing as I gained the perspective to cope with the issues and challenges that brought me there. When I wasn’t at HQ, I explored the District with my camera, a journal, and my mending self as I searched for meaning in the aftermath of chaos. Then on June 17th, I felt the chaos resurface again when I was told of the death of my friend Jennifer Lewis in St. Vincent. It was at home in California where I sought a few days’ refuge as I worked through that grief and sorrow. In her passing I learned that such loss is not always truly loss but rather profound spiritual transformation that can ultimately bring us even closer together in transcendental forms and energies. And perhaps most importantly through this whole medevac ordeal, I rediscovered that the purpose of our most difficult struggles is always to help us continue to grow and learn, and that the rewards of these lessons can lead us to the people and places we’re meant to know.

“You see, no one ever told me that as snakes shed skin, as trees snap bark, the human heart peels, crying when forced open, singing when loved open.” – Mark Nepo

In no uncertain terms, the last six weeks have seen my heart both weep and sing. But what’s been released has left me with a stronger sense of my purpose in this world and what I want to leave behind.

There are still questions that have yet to be answered, but in the process of healing and allowing myself to pause and breathe and receive these gifts, I feel more connected now to the ground beneath me and to those around me. So as I prepare to board a plane back to the Caribbean, I know I’m carrying back with me a heart that’s been opened and faith restored, along with the deepest and most honest gratitude I can possibly express to those who helped me along during this most unique and page-turning chapter of my story.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Isa Love Aragon
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 23:55:51

    I was also in the Peace Corps doing community development work in rural Thailand 1966 – 1968, have the last name Aragon and have been practicing and teaching yoga since 1971. Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey. I sent you a friend request on Facebook.


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