Being the Wife of a Wounded Warrior, I have been blessed with some truly, for lack of a better term, unique experiences. All things, good and bad, have contributed to the person that I am today. This past weekend Wounded Warrior Project and The Writers Guild Foundation hosted myself and 39 other Caregivers of Wounded Warriors. They encouraged us to share our story, to open the hearts and minds of the world, and more importantly, to heal. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Throughout this whole experience, the one thing that has been a constant is my life is writing. It has been something I turned to when I couldn’t take the pressure, something I turned to when I was happy. It has been my catch-all. It was not until this weekend that I truly realized that I could do more with it. I can share my story on a bigger level. This weekend, surrounded by some of the most incredible people I have ever met, I let go of some of the hurt that was stored inside me, freed the anger and resentment and took a step forward. Today, I will begin another chapter, both figuratively and literally, as I continue to pour my heart onto the pages of what will someday be MY STORY. I would like to share with you a small preview of what is to come, the start of my story. As you read this, keep in mind that while your experiences may differ from mine, everyone has a story, and only you can decide how it ends.
Sometimes, I think I just need to talk. There are days I bring up my husband being injured in conversations about Tupperware. I think I do that because I want someone to ask, I want to tell someone. To cry, to laugh, just to get it all out. I want people to ask if I am okay so I can say...... NO, I am NOT okay. Would you be okay if your husband went away and the Army sent you another man in his place? Would you be happy that no matter what you do he will never be the same? Or that this man that was once so much the pride and joy of the Army that they kept him away for 75% of your marriage is now merely a number being swept under the rug by a government fearful of its own reputation? It’s not okay that he didn’t get a retirement ceremony, or even an award like other Soldiers who retire. This wasn’t his choice, or mine. It is not okay that he is still having nightmares and bouts of rage after being on 17 meds a day. Its not okay that I have nowhere to turn, no one to tell. It’s not okay that at 25 years old every ounce of intimacy has been sucked from my marriage. Can I say there wasn’t sex? No, but it was merely to TAKE back what he believed was HIS.
It’s not okay that my kids will never know the father I chose for them. What did I do to deserve this? Some days I cant take it, and to throw the rest of the world at me too makes it unbearable. I secretly hope for something else to happen, some other drama so I can forget about it all, even just for a moment. I crave any bit of “normal” I can get. I know I am not the one who got hurt, I’m sure its much worse for him, but I am hurt nonetheless. I stay awake at night to make sure he is still breathing, or that he hasn’t tried to hurt himself. If I fall asleep and he hurts himself, it will be MY fault. What if he can’t hold out to see my kids grow up, graduate or get married? How can I encourage him to fight the fight? It’s not okay that my 5 year-old makes excuses for his dad’s erratic and unpredictable behavior. Its not okay that I never know when he is going to flip, at any second he could slam on the brakes in the interstate, break a window, punch a wall, or better yet, my face. How can I love him? How can I devote my life to this man? I can’t, and THAT is NOT okay. Everywhere I go I am afraid, afraid everyone is going to try to hurt me, to try to take away my life like he did. If I can’t trust the man I love, whom can I trust? I wish I knew.
Was it all worth the price so many of us have paid? As selfish as it sounds, sometimes I think it might have been easier if he didn’t come home at all.
Posted by Admin: Click here to read Kristle's introductory post, which will provide more background on her life.