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Stories of Loss
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Tim has been farming at least seven years, long enough to have a delivery route for regular customers of his microgreens and chicken. On Saturdays, he sells at the local farmers market, where everyone seems to love him. He’s gregarious, hard-working, always willing to lend a hand.
Few people could guess he struggles with relics of multiple combat deployments to the Middle East—a traumatic brain injury, PTSD, a gunshot wound that took more than three-quarters of his intestines.
Tim and Mike have been trading farming knowledge for several months when Tim texts: “I dissolved my business last night.” It’s 4:45 a.m.
Mike calls immediately. “I’m en route. Give me 30 minutes.”
I dissolved my business last night.
This isn’t the first time they’ve discussed how brain injuries mess with your mind, but Tim is still trying to wrap his head around getting the medical help he needs. By mid-morning, he has committed only to visit Mike at the farm soon.
Tim keeps his promise, bringing with him a crate of homegrown vegetables and a dozen recently hatched chicks for Mike. They spend the morning talking business strategy and chicken processing, but it’s clear that Tim hasn’t been sleeping. The conversation shifts again to getting help. Tim still isn’t ready, but he’s thinking about it.
He floats the idea by a close mentor. He talks with his wife. A few days later, he texts Mike to ask for help getting into the inpatient program they discussed, adding: “something is not right with my brain.”
Something is not right with my brain.
He starts the paperwork, and then … complete radio silence. For weeks, Mike’s calls and texts go unanswered.
Hero Agriculture eventually tracks down Tim’s wife and sends a message offering help. She agrees to pass it along.
More weeks go by.
Then Tim sends Mike a Facebook friend request. By the end of the day, they’re on the phone. Soon they have plans to get together the next week.
You need to go back home. We just found him.
Before next week arrives, the sheriff’s department puts out a notice that Tim is missing. Mike is halfway to the town where Tim lives when a call comes from a friend in law enforcement. “Don’t come,” says the voice on the phone. “You need to go back home. We just found him.”