When I try to write about a Wounded Warrior Wife, I get nothing but epic fail. Like so many other journalists, I am too cloying, too sympathetic, too cheerleadery, too…wrong.
Cheryl Ganser, the Wounded Warrior Wives Program Coordinator for Operation Homefront, got it right this week. Cheryl put up a simple post on her Facebook page: You Know You Are A Wounded Warrior Wife When…When she woke up the next morning, she had over 200 posts waiting for her written by a community of Wounded Warrior Wives. With their permission, I will stand aside here and let them talk about the spectrum of experience that comes with being a Wounded Warrior Wife.
You Know You Are A Wounded Warrior Wife…..
When you are 9 months pregnant moody and hormonal and he has a worse attitude than you do!
When your husband wakes you up by grabbing your hand at 2 am because he can’t sleep and needs his best friend to talk to.
When you refuse to let him have a pity party over and over and over again because you know it's never gonna get better until they WANT TO GET BETTER
When he gave it 100% as a soldier to help others, but you feel like he isn't there for the ones who love him the most - his family.
When he doesn’t notice the mess in the house, isn’t bothered by wearing dirty clothes and generally looks cute when sleeping. It could be worse.
When your husband asks, “Have you seen my leg?”
When you can sit in the same room with him for HOURS and feel so alone.
When your purse is no longer for lipstick and sunglasses but pain pills, appointment cards, and ensures for when he's too nauseous to eat a real meal. Gotta love a big purse!
When your 6 year old tells a group of people "No, my dad wasn’t in a car wreck, my mom took my dad's leg cause he wouldn’t clean his room."
When the student loans you once took with optimism about your future are now in default at FOUR times their face value because your career was sidelined by his needs to be rescued from impulsive behavior, med problems, hospitalizations, and of course daily self care issues AND you now realize that you will probably never be able to fix that problem.
When the two words you never want to hear are SALLIE MAE.
When he tells you it not that he doesn't love you anymore, it's that he just doesn't feel any emotion anymore, and you say, "Just lie and say it every once in a while, whether you mean it or not."
When you can quote the VA policy manual word for word to the caseworker who has never seen it, and you have to give her your copy that you printed at home because the VA never gave their employees one.
When you ask your husband, “Are you ok?” every 10 seconds…make that every 5 seconds!
When a smile on his face means more than you ever could imagine - b/c you don't see it often.
When you are scare s---less about how you are going to handle this for another 40 years.
When within hours of asking, Wounded Warrior Wives from all over the country, who have never met, show such solidarity for one another.