Sam will be home for good tomorrow. 120 days exactly of him being gone. He’s driven 4 hours home nearly every weekend to see us, even for the two months he’d get home Friday night and leave Sunday afternoon.
We’ve all managed in this time. The girls and I made it 4 months of sickness and school and traveling and fostering puppies (that’s a whole other post soon!). I can’t say we did this well all the time. There were a lot of tears. A lot of fighting. Way too much TV.
And the girls had a hard time too.
But we did make it through these months.
I have people occasionally ask if we see changes in him or he’s doing better. Changes – yes. Better – it’s not that he’s not doing better, but that’s hard to pin down. Sam went through a war. As a Marine. In an infantry unit. He was 22. He killed people. He saw people killed in horrific ways. He watched a family blown up by a planted car bomb. He was in a vehicle that was hit by an IED, flipped and caused him TBI. Then he came home and lost three children.
So is he better? From that? He never will be, because it’s never going to go away or undo what those experiences became. My hope was this time at his rehabilitation center, surrounded by (mostly) men who had similar moments in war, that he would be able to feel less alone. PTSD and grief are tricky little things because, after a while, they can cause you to believe you are the only one who feels this way. You are alone and no one understands so don’t talk about it. So you turn to things that “help” and that usually leads down very bad roads.
I hesitate on here speaking too much for him (even though he reads this and has told me to write about it), but know that not speaking about this also continues that silence the military lifestyle so tightly clings to. Keep your head up. Take an ibuprofen. Shut your mouth. Get with the program.
He did. And now we have all of this to deal with. So part of his and my healing comes from breaking that silence about PTSD and the aftermath of war and trauma.
Some people may never understand why I have to “write all this for attention”
Oh gosh, I’m sorry my eyes just rolled so far back in my head that I was knocked unconscious for a moment –
but I know with every email, with every message that asks how someone can help their spouse or parent or sibling – this is part of what I’m supposed to do.
So he’s not all better, but each of these experiences shapes our lives for the better in a different way.
If you’d like more information on the program Sam attended or your spouse is getting ready to medically retire and you’re lost in the process, please feel free to email me. It might be a few days before I email back but I will! I don’t know it all, but I can pass on what I do and connect you with people and sites that help as well.