Saturday, December 13, 2014

Emotional Roller Coaster

A week ago we got the wonderful news that the VA gave Chris his final rating for his disabilities. 90% is now where he stands. To those not familiar with the military/VA world this is actually a good, especially when you have been fighting with the VA almost 2 years for these things.  A whole new world has opened up to us and for that we are both so grateful. Its amazing how a marriage can change when the financial status of it takes a 180. Things have been blissful.
Chris and I decided a few weeks back to get more involved with veterans in our community and we have a fun who runs local chapter of MPVN or Military Veteran Peer Network. After all we both have gone through in the last year we or at least I feel that I am ready to start reaching out and offering my ears, support and resources. The course is 8 hours and you learn how to interact, listen, and what to do in a crisis situation. It was emotionally taxing to say the least. We touched on Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Suicide and everything else in between. I learned and gathered some amazing and scary facts about our veterans. I have attended so many different trainings in my life but none have been quite like this. I learned a lot about myself and what I can do to be more effective at helping. I am looking forward to putting these new skills to work.
Speaking of putting new found skills to work I guess those we help can truly be any one age, race or gender when you have a family member or you yourself are a veteran you at some point find yourself needing help, reaching out and just letting it all out. I hadn't been out of training an hour before I found myself in a situation that has left me an emotional wreck and thanking the man upstairs that despite all we have been through I still have my husband, my children have their father/stepfather.
I went back to our friends house to pick up the children and her husband took his life 3 months ago after battling PTSD. They have two young children 9 and 5. I can't even imagine what it is like for them. However today I got a glimpse of just how hard it must be for them. After getting on to the 5 yr old about not ruining her brothers Christmas gift she ran to her room and began to sob. I sat down and noticed she had her "daddy doll", her head was buried in the doll and I wasn't able to make out what she was saying. However as soon as she lifted her head it was very clear, she wanted her daddy back. Crap. I resist my own emotions to try and console her and reassure her it would be ok. Of course it wouldn't be ok I can't bring back her father no one can. She is five and its not a concept she should even have a remote awareness of but yet she does. I am fighting hard to keep my tears in and hug her. I told her that her daddy is here that he is in her heart and in her arms as she holds her doll. I am at a loss. I just left a training but nothing about children were mentioned just the service member and spouse but mainly service member. Crap. I ask her what I can do she says she just wants to watch TV. I turn it on and leave I have to get out I can't let her see me cry.... or should I? I get back to the couch and I can't hold back. I still can't hold back. My husband and the girls aunt see my tears. How do I help her? Why does this even have to be a aspect of her life? The moment still haunts me, this can't be a reality.
As I laid on the couch and my head on Chris' lap I feel this sense of resentment and hostility I had towards him release. This could just as easily but us. Their stories are so similar its scary and I am quite aware how this just could be us. I can't live in anger and resentment I have to let go. I want no regrets, I want to know when I look back that we made the most of a really crummy situation and I truly can't hold this against him. I don't hold Autism against H so why would I hold TBI and PTSD towards Chris? I am fairly certain he didn't ask for this.
I know this event drained Chris. I can read him like a book. I also know he likes to decompress from these things alone and with minimal distractions as possible. I also felt an overwhelming need to be with my daughters tonight. I spent a few hours at the mall with them and made sure I spoke with love and caring I gave them affection and let them know they are special and I love them. All I could think about was that moment in that little girls bedroom of the heartache and angst she has has at the loss of her father.
This I am sure won't be my last encounter with this situation. I may never be fully prepared to take this on because its so close to home for me, however because it hits so close to home I might be able to be someones support. I guess only time will tell.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Time Hop

Social media is loving the new craze called "Time Hop" A great app that takes you back in time, several years just to even last year at that same time. It brings back every picture, every status that you have ever shared. I looked back through my blog today and realized a week from tomorrow my Time Hop will be filled with a tone I don't usually fill my FB page with. It was a scary lonely time but at the same time it was very Deja Vu for me. Its a week away and I am ok . It was a different type of learning experience, one that has changed my mind set on a lot of things.
A year ago next week is when our lives started to notice the change. We walked on eggshells and hardly spoke at all and when we did it was never very pleasant. Wednesday I had gotten so upset I began to search for a family lawyer. I was ready to file for divorce. I had, had enough of being the emotional punching bag and him refusing to seek any sort of help or treatment for his anger. It was always our fault and that he is who he was and I just needed to either learn to deal with it or leave.  I had been in contact with lawyer and we were to meet on Monday via the phone during my lunch break. I had no real plans but just that I needed to know my options and to go from there. I felt horrible for wanting to turn my back but at the time I was left with no options.
A year ago I watched my man slowly dwindle down to something he had never thought he would become. It might be 365 days later but I can still see that morning roll through my head as if it has just happened days, moments earlier. I was left with two options and I was praying option 1 one would work because I was scared to death to have to call law enforcement on my husband.  Option 1 was a go. Seth stopped what he was doing and in the crappy pending winter weather came to my, well our aid.
I think back and that whole time frame he was gone and wonder what it would have been like had I not had Option 1. If we didn't have Seth in our lives. If we didn't have the support of someone who wasn't family that was nearby. He has his own health issues, his family to raise as a single dad and he dropped his life for over 6 months to help us through that. We had a lot of friends help us during that time, some who are still very much a part of our lives and we are thankful for and some who drifted away whom we no longer are in touch with. Option 1 saved our family. Seth, saved Chris which in turned saved us.
I woke up this morning with my Time Hop alert. I held my breath as I opened the app and the first thing I saw was H the day before his life changed too, that he was on the floor working on a puzzle sent home from school. Blissfully unaware that 12 hours from that moment he would face such havoc on his life and it being turned upside down. A year ago today I started this blog. I wasn't sure if I would keep it up or what I would post but its been the closest thing to therapy I can get. I have at least 5 posts not yet posted and I don't believe I ever will mainly for the fact they are half start posts that I couldn't justify finishing now because its not longer in that moment.
This time next year my Time Hop will be filled with news of making changes, helping others and knowing that having a loved one with PTSD is not a life sentence to hell. Its a life change but there is so much more that can be done now. Its time to lift the nasty stigma that is attached to this and make those around us more aware that these people aren't crazy, they endured such horrific life altering events that it has forever changed the person they were. Most of those with PTSD suffered so greatly so that we can sit here and enjoy these things we have right now. It is time to stop looking down on them and casting them aside and take them in, help them, talk to them, support them. Show them they are not damaged or worthless but that they are wanted and appreciated and admired.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Joy

Its been a few weeks since our unfortunate incident. While I had typed a letter to the West TExas VA Health Care System in hopes the patient advocate or someone could lend us some help in our plea to find a new doctor for Chris and hopefully a better treatment option. Chris made copies of my letter I wrote and dispersed them to a few folks he knew hoping someone or something could help. We got our help but never in a way I had ever imagined.
Tonight at the local VFW there was a VA town hall meeting. Just as I advocate for H I need to help advocate for Chris. I know he is a big boy with his own words but sometimes he struggles to find them, or use them the right way. However tonight he stood up and spoke. He had his head held up looked the board straight in the eyes and spoke of his issues. I was proud. While yes I now tactics are in place by docs to ensure forthcoming and honesty and responsibility, there also comes a fine line of what is just needed and what is to much. That Friday was just too much. Enough was enough from the doctor who could never remember him, would eat his lunch while telemeeting with him, belittle him and not hold much faith in him.  The whole staff agreed it was too much also.
We spoke with a patient advocate who wants to read my letter, she wants to ensure that all of Chris's doctor visits will be handled face to face with reimbursement for travel since telemed is not a suitable treatment option, she wants to help fix the transcript that was filled with more opinion than fact from that day and we will be filling out a request to get that done. Just an hour meeting another hour of talking to two different people and big changes were happening. On a normal day that just doesn't happen. Not with the VA at least.
I met a woman, and through a strange story that goes with it, that lost her husband just a few months ago to PTSD. She stood tonight and delivered the most memorable story that no one in that room will soon forget. She baited those bigwigs, she had them all ready to jump through hoops to help and of course when the director offered to help her she dropped the ball in the calmest most composed manner of anyone I had ever met.... She said well he killed him self back in September. Jaws from those bigwigs hit the floor! That along with everyone sitting. Even the cameraman in the back just sort of look dumbfounded. However the presentation really made it VERY clear we have some big issues that need to be addressed. I really think they took that one to heart.
At the end we were asked to speak with the patient advocate and the director. We spent about half an hour with the patient advocate. We told her that this was our formal complaint on his telemed doctor. We were then informed no more telemed face to face only and travel pay would be reimbursed she would just have to talk to a few folks to get that hopefully in place, she gave us info to have his files fixed from the over stated opinions VS facts that were placed in his file from that day. Once meeting with the director I knew that he was really wanting to help. I come off strong but not too strong but I wanted him to know that this system is seriously flawed. He said in rural areas its hard to get the best care we are level III Dallas however is level I. He basically laid it out that he would help us get the best of the best out here but that Dallas is where its at. Ok great you say more trips to Dallas. No here is the screwed up part his care would have to come from New Mexico. Yep see screwed up. Dallas is its own sort of region and West Texas area has 33 counties covered and for most treatment folks are sent to Albuquerque. What disabled vet wants to spend 10 hours in a car to be reimbursed AFTER their trip?! Ya no one! However..... if Chris showed up in Dallas for care they can't turn him away. However it was hinted at it might be better suited if we aimed to go to Dallas at some point.
Throughout the conversation the director took genuine concern over both Chris and I. He said him and his medical team would sit down and find the best treatment plan for Chris and that if he was wanting to do inpatient they would help find a source for him. He then stated all appointments from here on out would be face to face and that telemed was never an option. He also stated he would be paid for those trips to Big Springs. He threw something into the conversation that just about made me cry. Respite. He is going to look into respite care. Between H and Chris there are no breaks, not with work, the kids and everything else. He wants to ensure we get some respite! He also said that the caregiver program would be something he would look into but not as familiar with yet since he is still new but he would get us answers.
He wanted Chris to embrace his new normal. We know all about new normal with our diagnosis of Autism with H. However this new normal means letting go of some stuff for Chris. The director asked him what brings him joy. Chris responses of shooting guns made his eyes go wide. He told him that might not need to be his joy especially with the issues lately. We mentioned airsoft and he sort of turned his nose up to it but I think in the end he will change his mind. He really wants Chris to let go of the past and take on what is now. Chris mentioned getting help before January when he leaves for school to train dogs. Again the response from the director was that this isn't an overnight change it will take time. I want to support Chris so I told him that maybe in April or next Aug would be better suited because of all of this. His care needs to come before his wants. I think he is seeing that.
This system, these people put in place to help our wounded our brave men and women who fought so hard with all their courage are now being silenced. Made to feel shame and worthless for the wounds they bare especially those no one can see. I know that the VA has been in some very poor light and that they feed us BS and lies. Tonight though maybe its the naive me, but maybe its not, I saw a man with real concern in his eyes reaching out to us and wanting to help my husband before he became another statistic. Another one of those 22 a day that end their life because of PTSD. So I have put my faith and trust in this man in hopes that in the next week or so we have some real answers and some real positive changes. I don't put all my eggs in one basket but tonight given the circumstances and how I was feeling I did.
I want Chris to find his new joy. I want him to know how good things can be. I eventually want to help others around me find their new joy. PTSD doesn't just change the patient it changes their family. It changes their joy. I want to find our new joy so that soon I can show others that it can be done.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


No I am not talking about the city dump or even my teenager’s bedroom. Those words were spoken to my husband Friday at his VA Telemed appointment. A medical professional had the audacity to sit in front of his computer, two hours away on a fancy version of Skype, and had the nerve to say that Chris was toxic, our marriage was a waste and that it would be best if I took the kids and just left him.
I had gone to this appointment with Chris in hopes to help him get the help he needed but instead got just the opposite.  The last few weeks had been extremely trying for Chris, and I like any good spouse in this situation would, was trying my damndest to him the help he needed.  I was already anxious over this appointment. I spent the 15 minute car ride to the VA writing out topics to be addressed. The 10 minutes in the waiting room seemed like eternity to me; however the couple behind me had been waiting far longer from what I could gage listening to their conversation. Finally we were called back and I began to relax some knowing that I was going to be able to express the concerns.  Chris’ vitals were taken, questions asked that were based on his PTSD diagnosis and then it was a small wait to be escorted to the room where we would be speaking to his doctor.
Once settled I realized to this doctor we were just a number to him. I had been to a previous appointment a few months back, but the doctor had no recollection of me and asked if I was his spouse.  I sat quietly as the routine mundane questions were asked to Chris. A few things started to rub me the wrong way but I sat patiently waiting my turn to speak. I mean I assumed since I was with my husband he would realize I would want to speak up. However Chris was unsure of an answer to a question, what his BP was 20 minutes prior to this conversation, and I knew it and answered.  I was told that Chris needed to answer it. Seriously! He was unable to recall the numbers and I knew them I see no big deal but then again I was not meshing well with this doctors lack of logic. He moved on to lecture Chris about meds he should have been taking but that he requested be on hold because he either A) wasn’t using them or B) just felt the need not to take them. Chris has been asking for a while now but was told by another doctor that his BP was to low and couldn't take them. Basically he made Chris feel like a liar and that he would fix it and he better take it.
We moved on to questions about home life. Finally a situation I was more able to speak on, or so I thought. He asked a few questions. I had started to tune out a bit as I was mentally preparing myself to interject my thoughts and concerns. At this point I wasn't really caring if he wanted my thoughts or not but I figured I took this time off of work I will be saying what I need to say. He asked Chris how things were going at home. Chris gave an answer that was barely audible and the doctor looked over at me.  Finally my turn to speak, my turn to voice what was on my mind and say what needed to be said.  Or so I thought….
Once his eyes turned to me I decided to just put down the note pad and speak from the heart. I told him of the situation that happened ten days ago. Chris hadn't slept in four days, he had grown distant and agitated but I neglected to see this as a pending trigger for a big blow up. I had been on such a high of months of no issues that I forced myself not to see that there was trouble looming in the distance. I failed to see it and it ended up ending poorly. It was a rough few days of words barely spoken, sides of beds left empty to reside to couches, and schedules rearranged to help meet the needs of a stressed out family. I was letting all of this just pour out of my mouth only to be told that our living situation was toxic, my husband was toxic. Our marriage was a waste. There we no real options but that it would be best to get me and the children away from such a toxic environment. My jaw dropped. I was told that he had half a mind to get CPS involved because this sounded so horrible. I was also blamed. I am sorry, how is my not being able to attend every appointment and express my concerns when they should be expressed to a lady runs on appointments only my fault?! I work full time, my job puts food on the table, insurance for all the kids and Chris, it pays the bills. I am sorry that I can’t just take a day off at the drop of a hat to do things. Explaining I worked as a preschool teacher and that there is a big process to get time off didn't seem to matter. He was so hell bent on making Chris and I feel worthless he was going to keep going with it.
I explained it would probably be best for Chris to go back into a PTSD treatment facility. He had stated himself that he things it would be best. I also brought up the point that Chris had said his other doctor or maybe it was this doctor said that it might be best to start tapering off meds etc. I said if this was the case he would not be detoxing at the home. He would need to be in an environment that was trained to help with withdrawal and patients that were not able to take their meds. A wife and four children was not that environment. He asked if he should go back to Waco. I told the doctor sure but he would prefer to try out a program he had researched in Denver. That was another mistake. While he said it would be great and he would support it he wouldn’t do anything to help the matter. He even lied about his knowledge on it to humor Chris and I. That pissed us off even more. Who the heck does that?? I gave up. I knew I shouldn't have but I had retreated to the back of the chair, exhausted and exasperated with the treatment my husband was receiving. Here he is a Veteran who served our country for 14 years and put his life on the line and this is the treatment he gets?  And we wonder why those with PTSD often opt to take their own lives. Well if they encountered doctors like this what hope or help do they have? Even if they did have family to turn to, why would they when they are told they are horrible people who are not worthy of having a family.
Friday it became my mission to put a stop to this unfair, unjust treatment. No one, no patient of any disability, disorder or disease should ever encounter such horrific treatment. This must stop and it will stop now! I have written a letter and plan to address this with the patient advocacy, send it to our congressmen, and share it with whoever can help. We tend to have to be our spouse’s voices when they suffer from PTSD.  This is a very taboo disorder. There is so much stigmatism still attached to PTSD, there is so much society doesn’t know and only grasps from what they have been exposed to. When our spouses encounter such poor treatment and then are forced to go be mainstream with society its not wonder they struggle to blend in and mesh. Society sees them as a mental case that would lose their cool at the drop of the hat. That they are unable to function in today’s society because they are so caught up in living in their flashbacks and war stories. Doctors like this do not help debunk society’s already tainted thoughts.

Today was a turning point. Today instead of letting this just go and hoping things go better next time we decided to take action. Tomorrow morning we will begin the journey of fighting for better treatment, better options. We will stand up for what is right and what he deserves. No one at all deserves to be treated like they are toxic…….. or waste………

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Plans change

 Wednesday evening I was scrolling the FB pages I am on before settling in for the night. I happened to pop in on a page and saw a post about a family needing to rehome two of their dogs due to their child's severe allergies to them. One was a dog that had already found a home with my friends sister and this 16 week old Shepherd Collie Mix was still needing a home. I know we had been talking about getting our puppy through TADSAW (Train a Dog Save a Warrior), however no one up here was able to take on a foster pup in our area and most with their foster families were establishing a bond and going to be placed with them. We had been told we could get our own dog and as long as it passed the temperament testing we could go forth with the actual training.
I ended up sending a message to the family to get more information to share with Chris, who was already asleep. I figured if I got the information first it would help base my decision  to even let him know about it to see what he wanted to do. After gathering my information I decided to wake him up and share the information I had come across. He was very interested and we set up a meeting for the following evening to see how they bonded. I was very excited and sent the message to our trainer to let him know what we were wanting to do. Its good to know he was supporting our new plans.
Thursday after gymnastics we headed over to Petsmart to meet the family and Hemi. The attraction was instant and we knew that this was meant to be. We were unable to take Hemi home that night due to needing to get a new kennel and other supplies. We all walked into Petsmart since we needed get one item for our GP and price out some items we would need for our addition. We would be picking her up the following evening. As we walked through the store Hemi was in a cart and when Chris was no longer in her site she jumped from the cart and ran to Chris' side. At that moment we all knew this was going to be his service dog.
The following evening Hemi was picked up while I was at a disability conference near by. Chris was very excited by it and you could tell. He took tons of pictures and videos of his new pal. I was greeted by Hemi when I was picked up and she was making herself comfy in the backseat with H. She was enjoying the car ride and glad to see me. We headed over to Petsmart for some socialization and training. She did great and we saw quickly things we can work on to improve. She loves to be right by Chris side so that is a big plus.
Today Hemi snuggled up at on Chris feet during a impromptu nap time in our sick household today. When he sleeps she is right up next to him. Eventually she will be trained to wake and or calm him Chris when he has nightmares. Chris slept very soundly having her right there. When he was sitting on the couch and was getting irritated with H being hyper she jumped right up into his lap and laid down. Chris relaxed and finished eating his lunch.
I am not sure when our official training will start but I am excited to start seeing this bond between the grow and blossom. I am eager to see the progress and the training to see first hand just how much this dog is going to not only change Chris' life but our families. I truly saw this past week that God works in mysterious ways and when we think that the door has closed that there is always another door, not always right away. but another door awaiting to be opened with maybe an equally as good if not better opportunity.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A time to adjust

Almost two full weeks since our family has become one again. In some ways it feels like no beats were ever skipped. In some ways it feels like our whole world is out of whack and out of sync. With my military wife mentality still in high gear I just keep going on autopilot, easy him back into the routine, don't put too much pressure on him, keep the routine flowing and keep your patience calm and steady. However this is not a homecoming from a deployment or a year long tour in Korea. This was 140 days of mental help to teach and help not only Chris but our family learn to function on a new standard.
Like most spouses who gain their loved one back we paint a picture in our mind of what our homecoming will be like and what our life will be like again now that we are whole. We remind ourselves also that this is just a thought and not the actual what will happen once they are home. We however keep building up this dream in our head knowing we are just going to let ourselves down because it won't be the way we envision it. It is however what keeps us moving, it keeps us sane and focused on the end that is insight. It is the dream that saddens us and makes us feel like a failure when it doesn't go exactly as planned or doesn't even happen at all. Tv shows and commercials, movies they glorify it to us and we become jaded by it and it makes us feel so crappy in the end when its not that way.
Of course there is that happy reunion, sometimes a bit awkward at first but then the rush of emotions that take over and the relief that its all over and life can go back to normal. What is normal now? For those months of separation you each established a new normal because your counterpart was far away and unable to aide in the daily tasks that you once shared in. Now we must intertwined these two normals and make one. Sounds easy, right? Not so much. For four months I have paid all the bills, done all the housework, done all the errands, therapy sessions, birthday parties, sick kid duty, handy man, I kept it all going and only managed to drop the ball or lose momentum a few times. However with all that responsibility I felt empowered, I felt the strongest I had ever felt in a long time. After a while it was like second nature and the rhythm and routine was so clockwork it make me feel amazing.  Everything was now based on my time. I set the standard of when we left the house or did things so I knew at that very moment if we were late I had no one to blame but me, if we missed out I didn't plan right, if things moved smoothly I really did have it all together.
Now I incorporate my spouse back into this picture. I admit it was hard. I loved the empowerment and feeling I had from being the head honcho, the master, the one in charge. I loved stating to my oldest that these were the plans for the week and this is how it would be done and he rolled right along with it. Of course he is a teenager its not like he could do much to alter those plans unless some school function that pops up at the last minute would change them. My oldest complied, not always willingly but knew that I was the man, woman with a plan, and this is what was going to happen. It worked and things ran smoothly.
Now I share our vehicle again, I share a bed, a schedule and routine again. I am a creature of habit and often become a bit unnerved and unpleasant when things get messed with. I feel like my 3 year old actually. I get grumpy and bent out of shape. It's not my fault I prefer things a certain way. Don't believe me ask my spouse and my two co teachers. I am almost neurotic ha ha! I admit I haven't been too easy to mesh with. I was wanting him to bend with my schedule and not the other way around or even to compromise. I wanted him to fall into my terms and my rules. A bit unrealistic I know. I like simple and this to me was simple.
Don't get me wrong I am glad to have my other half home with me. It's nice to tag team with our kiddo and have someone else to help out around the house. It's been nice to have someone to share a lunch date with and run the errands for me I couldn't get to during the day. It gave me a new perspective on just how much I counted on my community and friends while he was gone.
These last two weeks I have not been me. I know I am getting used to it all but for some reason the questions of " are you glad he is home?", " Isn't it nice to have help again?", " Is he doing better?" make me squeamish in a way. Actually to the point I feel uncomfortable. Why? Because I am not sure how I feel right now, I am not sure if he is all better or at least better to a point that is helpful to him and us. I still need time to get a grasp on that answer. Of course I always gush and tell folks how wonderful it is and how nice its been and he worked so hard. Who the heck wants to hear my real answer? I am not negative Nancy I am a realist and just need time to process all that is going on.
I feel horrible to all those who stepped up to help because I have been so vague and distant. I know and feel I owe each and every one of them and I have no idea how to. I feel so much strain growing with those who stepped up for me because suddenly I don't know how to step up to them and show them how much it meant. I actually already feel the strain in some friendships because of it. Its not purposeful but my mental state has left me feeling so out of sorts I am still trying to process myself what all is happening. This is not as easy as I had made it out to feel when I become excited at the end of this journey. I feel I owe all those folks some sort of apology even my own husband because I myself am still trying to figure out what is going on, and where we go from here.
I know it is still so very early in this game to say exactly what will happen. I know there are plenty of kinks that need to be worked out and lines of communication that need to be either reopened or opened up. I know that bending more will help me help everyone. I know that time will help fix all of this I just don't know how much time its supposed to or going to in fact take. It puts a strain on ones own personal self and the marriage. I know its hard to accept and move on when things were told and promised to you that were going to happen never did and it could have helped improved the quality of the situation.
Throwing in the towel is not an option for me on any level. I don't quit, I hate quitting it makes me feel like a failure and that I am weak. I am strong, strong willed and tough. I see things through and makes sure that I push and encourage those around me to do the same. It still an adjustment period. It is still a time for learning and getting reacclimated to each other and our lives. I just need to keep reminding myself Rome was not built in a day and that in time, soon enough, things will be flowing as smooth as ever and I can look back on this and take from it things that will make a better, spouse, mother, friend and over all a better person.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Almost home

Here we are in the home stretch. 1 2days to be exact. This time I am actually allowed to broadcast the homecoming date without the worry of an OPSEC violation and hundreds of angry military wives storming my page because I am able to post an exact return date! Ahh it's nice not to be a military wife anymore! So yes 12 days to go and we are one big, whole happy family again!

I have been asked a lot these last few weeks about my feelings on it. Am I ready? Is he ready? Is he doing better? Do I think he is better? There have been tons of questions. At first they didn't bother me but now I get slightly overwhelmed at the thought of how much of a change this is going to be. I know its going to be a trial and error period of learning how to make us a cohesive family again.

Driving home tonight I looked at my oldest and said "It's going to be strange don't you think?" Sean looked at me for a second and I think he was thinking honestly of his response. We both have grown used to this life. It wasn't hard to get used to because chunks of his life has been spent with me being on my own and us doing our own. I think he has always like it that way. I mean don't get me wrong he loves Chris but of course he has his bond with his momma. However through these last few years the stepfather stepson bond has been a bit hard given all of these circumstances. However I think things will be going a lot smoother now.

I know I have grown used to doing everything on my own, except for when I truly need a second person to jump in since cloning has not been mastered or made legal to do yet! No I am not saying I don't want my husband home, it will just be strange to have another person in the home to count on to do things. However to lessen the burden I will hold my current responsibilities and let him just get reaquainted with home life and keep him to things that are low stress and easy to maintain. He is going to be a bit busy bonding with his H man when he comes home taking him to apts and therapy. That will be good for him. However he will have his own apts to keep up with. Plus school.

It will be strange having someone next to me in bed. Someone that isn't 3ft tall and is convinced that the bed is all his! It will be great to divide and conquer evening events such as trying to be two places at once. It will be nice to make dinner for more than two and not have so many leftovers that hardly get touched! It will really be nice to have some help tackling laundry and other household chores!

Looking back this time really doesn't seem as long as it has. This has been so full of ups and downs keeping me so busy I haven't had time to stop and dwell on much. I know in times of deployment they say keep busy it goes fast. Truly this is the case because it seems like just yesterday was November and we were just entering all this. I am in  a way glad this all happened. It really gave me time to see who I am, who we are, and what are made of. I pushed myself, and put myself out there in ways I never thought I would do. I saw people rally around us to show their utmost respect for what we are enduring. I have seen people turn their back and shy away for reasons I am not sure and its just ok with me. There were people who I had never met stand by our side and provide help in ways I had never dreamed. It does prove the military no matter what sticks together to help all.

He is almost home. The end is near. It is clearly in sight. April 5th is going to be a big day for us. He might have missed all the big holidays and events but having him home is all that matters. This year when we walk for our son in our Autism Walk there will be so much more behind it all. We will be walking as a family, a whole family. Our first event together as a whole family from when this all started. He will be home in time to celebrate Ella's birthday, Sean and Hannah's birthday also. While he missed mine its ok as long as he was home to be there to celebrate the kids birthdays. He will be home in time to see Sean graduate from middle school and prepare to embark on his first year of high school and in JROTC. I think JROTC is what is going to really help Chris and Sean bond and grow together.  That and Sean has stated he clearly wants to go to A&M so I think that sealed the deal.

I guess now that this is almost over. I need to go back and finish the two blogs I started but got too distracted or too emotional to complete without getting sad or angry. I will of course continue to write about our journey once he is home and our lives are back on track. I think keeping up with the progress will be a great thing for those going through this to see. It is possible and we are going to prove it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Prayers, scared and hope

I know that it has been said that some of God's greatest gifts can be unanswered prayers. However, on Tuesday late morning we got the answer to our prayers. The VA called and said "we will take you. Please call this number and set up a time to come. A packet is in the mail. Please fill it out prior to your arrival." Short sweet and to the point. Within seconds Chris called set up his arrival and got the ball rolling.

Wednesday January 29th our life will take a new turn and open a whole new chapter in our lives. Chris will be residing in Waco at their VA hospital to take part in their PTSD program. It has a three and ten week program. The three week is more of a intensive learn what you have and how you can cope program. Basically if you feel you are all good, or show no desire to progress to further knowledge etc they sen you on your way. They take those who show drive, motivation, perseverance, dedication and initiative into the further seven week program.  While we would be happy to have Chris home in three weeks we all know that staying the full ten weeks will be best to get the most out of it. That and we know he shows those traits of what they are looking for to further carry on in the program.

Tuesday evening I picked up Chris, despite my feeling ill and decided to prepare him a home cooked meal. I had plans each night this week to pick him up bring him home and just make sure we all got our family time in before next week. We need it. Chris and I went to the store by ourselves. It was strange. For two months I had been schlepping the kids with me and racing to get in and out. This time I didn't feel so rushed. It might have just been the grocery store but it sure felt nice to be doing something with my husband. He needed to see civilization he needed to see the outside world before he leaves.

I have never enjoyed cooking for my family more than I did that night. The sounds of father and son in the living room reading books, playing games, sharing laughs it was what I needed to hear. Chris spent the evening looking for things he needed, entertaining H while I cooked. It felt like a family again. I don't want to get to comfortable. I don't want to get to settled. I just pulled myself out of a funk I don't want to find myself back in it.

Each night this week we have picked up Chris as soon as I have gotten off work . I think the hardest night was Thursday. H had a huge meltdown at gymnastics and it was just to much for Chris. He asked for me to take him back and I felt hurt. I kept my mouth shut but I honestly wanted to scream at him "How dare you!" I kept my mouth and texts shut until I was calm enough to discuss it in a more civil manner. However I still feel a bit of pain from that. He can't handle H's meltdowns, it makes him anxious and angry. He has to learn, he has to start coping. This will have to be one of the first things he does when he gets to Waco.

My response was blunt and honest. I don't get to leave the meltdowns, I don't get a break. I am the one who has to help him through it. I would love to get a break and say "Hey can you take this one I really need to step back." Chris knows he needs to work on this. I have left it as it is and know that he still has a way to go so I am not going to continue to make myself upset.

This weekend we will begin our quest to prepare him to leave Wednesday morning. We leave bright and early and its almost like dropping him off at Basic or for a deployment. I have a lot of mixed emotions about it all right now. We are both very upset that it has take so long to get this far. We are both upset that no one did their part to report a Veteran needing PTSD help was at the facility. We are both upset that its so hard to get short term disability to help us because he needs this help and its not a overnight or a three day fix it takes weeks and weeks to help. I do believe though that while yes he should be on his way home if this was all done the right way this did in fact begin to save our marriage. This time apart, this time for him to learn about himself and for me to focus on things I had let go and put off.

Tuesday night Chris will come home and sleep in his bed that he has not slept in for two months one time before we load out the truck the next morning and take our three hour drive to his place of hope. This is our last hope to help him, to help us to help our family. We are willing to make the 10 week sacrifice if in the end this will help us all.

Just hang on

So we hit the two month mark. We have also hit the stall out no one has a clue what to do mark. Last week we should have had our information on going to the Waco VA hospital or any VA hospital last week however between being over booked with screenings and not having his records it got pushed to the following week. So tomorrow he should be getting a more definitive answer on when and if he leaves and where he will be going. He has been told he was penciled in for the 30th of this month however he has mentioned that if tomorrow doesn't go as planned he will speak with the VA in person at his apt on Wednesday.

Now that he has moved to the partial program he has more freedom and the abilities to things when he is not in his classes. We have taken advantage for the most part of this. Friday night we headed over to Seth's for a few hours to just relax. Since Chris has not been able to get a real haircut and hasn't been out laying low was more his style. However Saturday despite some rough patches I wanted to show him just how much we want our family unit back. We picked him up and took him to Chuck E Cheese and him and H spend two hours bonding over tokens and video games.

I can see it in his body language and his tone that he is losing his hope and his faith in the system that has been failing him over and over these last few weeks. If something isn't said or done soon I can see that this whole time would be a total and complete waste. Why won't they help him? Why do they make him wait? Why has no one seen he needs more than this place has to offer?! He is not some guinea pig that they can just use to see how to treat a PTSD patient. He needs REAL help and REAL intervention! Not some guessing game of maybe or maybe not this will help. 

We had once agreed while in the PHP program he wouldn't come home as to not lose his motivation and to not confuse H. I keep seeing his face and his lack enthusiasm and I have to do more. It's not fair and it's my job as his wife to figure out what to do. I need him to feel more human again more like the man he once was. We even took him to get a hair cut just to see if something would click. I guess it did just a little. He needed to see the old him the man with a "high and tight", clean shaven face and his Aggies hat. Seeing that man might just give him hope to hold on. 

So now we wait. Hurry up..... and wait. We play the waiting game again. Holding on. Clinging to that list bit of hope we both hold in the hands of the VA. Are they going to see what we all see? Will they think he is another Vet playing the system? I sure hope they see a man who has lost himself in a facility for two months that has little to no ability to help him stay afloat. All we have to do is just hang on.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Old sayings, new meanings

If you love someone let them go, if they come back it was meant to be. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Out of sight out of mind. These are sayings we have heard for ages. They are generally used in matters of the heart. It's always meant when those matters of the hearts have struggles that time and distance usually clear up those matters and time will heal all wounds. If it is meant to be, it is meant to be. I can recall times when Chris and I were apart that all I wanted was to be right back in his arms that it was painstaking to have to not be around him 24/7. I know that the whole he was in Korea I just wanted him to come home because I missed having him right there with me. Usually in the military life when we become separated from our loved one it's all we can do to think about the day we reunite and how simply amazing it will be. We never hear about the awkwardness, the uncomfortable and uneasy feelings that plague us with that reunion.

I don't know if out of sight, out of mind help has hurt or helped us. I mean we aren't completely out of sight of one another we have the opportunities twice a week to visit for an hour, generally its more like 40/45 min since the front desk usually runs behind and they don't seem to care that we don't get that full hour with our loved ones. I guess they feel the time we get with them is enough and that we just didn't matter. I think prisoners get more time to visit with their family than these folks who are in there to better their lives and help face the demons that have haunted their lives. Regardless that distance, that lack of sight cause strains and resentment to all these families. I know I love Chris but I can feel the distance, the strain and the awkwardness when we are together.

I can tell myself how excited I am to see Chris, that I am so thrilled to have that time with him. However when I show up I feel as though I am conversing with a stranger. A person I know but don't know well enough to divulge my feelings to. I go home and feel guilty because I know I was different than I had expected to be. I feel bad because there is a wedge that has placed itself in a spot it doesn't need to be. The distance has not made my heart grow fonder. Its made it more strange and awkward. Why?

During most of this time apart its has been very out of sight out of mind. I haven't found myself sitting around pining away about the return of Chris. I have found myself going full speed trying to do what I can to keep busy, take care of anything and everything maybe to avoid that thought of Chris that makes me sad and makes me want to change things and have him come back now.

However through all this we learn to take these old sayings and interpret them into our own means that fit us the best way we can. These things aren't bad but just a new way to see them and use them in our life.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


In life we face many situations where we must do without or sacrifice. A family who has little to no money to feed the whole family will sacrifice their meal to ensure their children can eat, a military spouse will often sacrifice their job or career to move with their spouse, a special needs family might have to do without certain luxuries or outings because its just not possible. It happens all the time however some are just more obvious than others.  How its is handled is also a big deal also. 

When we are younger and not as mature making a sacrifice might not be something you want to do, it might make you angry and resentful towards others, you might even be resistant to it since you are giving up your wants and needs and placing others in front of you. However as we grow and mature we realize that is what we do as adults who have grown and learned, becoming mature beings who learn that our needs aren't always as important and needed as others who are close to us and that we love dearly. We grow jealous though we think deep down "It's not fair!", "Why do they get it and I don't?" As long as we keep it inside and don't verbalize it, its all ok. Right? 

As I have grown and learned sometimes as grown up and mature as I believe I am, I feel that I still can be resentful and jealous. I tell myself all that I have done, I have worked for and given up and I get passed up again or I must give up things yet again for someone else! I hate feeling that way but sometimes when you sacrifice so much you begin to almost feel taken advantage of and passed over and not worthy. It's a horrible feeling and I often wish I never felt that way. Lately I find myself feeling it more and more. 

58 days now I have changed my train of thought and line of thinking. I have put all my needs to the back burner and focused on my children and my husband. My needs do not matter, they are not the important things right now that need my utmost attention. For 58 days I have seen my husband tucked away in a hospital that has done almost nothing for him while running a household on my own. Ensured that everything was kept up. For 58 days I have developed a whole new life for my family and adapted in ways I forgot I was capable of. For 58 days my husband who sat tucked away in a crappy facility, became jaded and angry, he became jealous and resentful. For 58 days I became angry and resentful, uncertain and full of doubt. I blame myself because this is what I wanted for him and told him this was the only way things were going to be ok. 

Sacrifice is a HUGE part of marriage and adulthood. How you are able to handle it, make or breaks the situations you are placed in. At the end of my fall semester in college I realized I would be needing to make yet another ultimate sacrifice towards myself and my family. I am giving up my last semester in school so that I can ensure more time for my children and lessen the load of stress to make sure I can fulfill all my obligations and not worry about deadlines, grades and graduation. Part of me though feels a bit of relief. I have gone full force for three semesters now and I can use this time to relax and spend more time where I am needed, which is my home. 

Chris has made the ultimate sacrifice and given up his family and his job to put himself in a program to deal with his PTSD. He knows how hard that has been on us but he also knows he is no good to us unless he can work through all this. He put aside his own personal thoughts about being in a place like where he is and do it to help our family and to of course help himself. He gave up his job, his freedom to take the steps he needed to work through a past that continues to haunt him daily and most often with no warning. 

Now we take this next step, put aside our feelings we might have that won't be conducive to helping us work toward the common goals. We have dreams, hopes and plans for our future and for each others futures. We must do what we can to support those equally and make sure we push each other towards them. We will sacrifice again our own personal gain to help our counterpart remember their dreams, plans and goals. There will be days they return the favor. Its give and take. Sometimes its give, give, give, give. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The visit

For the last 40 days my children, his step children and our son H have not seen their step dad/dad. While the older ones are understanding of this and just want him to get better the youngest has had so much to internalize. Yes he is 3 but from what we have gathered he has internalized more of this than we expected.

It took me a few weeks to realize that H had more of an idea of what was going on than I gave him credit for. A few weeks back my friend Connie took H to his therapy appointment and while they talked in the car H suddenly blurted out that "daddy was in the hospital, he got mad and tried to take me from my mommy." "He hit the fridge and scareded me." When my friend told me this it broke my heart and left me in tears. What has been done to my child? Why did he have to experience this? Why oh why did he have to recall that day in it's entire detail?!

I called "Uncle Seth", our family friend but the kids call him uncle Seth. I was sobbing when I told him what he had said today. I felt so horrible that he has been internalizing this since day 1. Seth was in shock just as I was. Chris was left with the memory of his child having a look of fear and shock on his face and my son was left with the memories of his dad trying to snatch him from my hands and leave because he was so disoriented and unaware of what was going on around him. This suddenly got much larger than what I was planning on dealing with. Now not only was I having to rally around my husband and support him and help him get past the pain he was dealing with, I now needed to consider how to get H through the trauma he had experienced that Saturday morning.

When Chris originally moved to the PHP or Partial Hospitalization Program a few weeks ago we had tossed the idea around of him seeing the older kids but not H. With him having Autism we feared this would be detrimental to all that he was having to deal with already, such as schedule changes, school being out, his sisters being in town, the whole shebang. We decided that I would still be the only one who would see him until we had family sessions. He wouldn't come to the house and we would carry on as we had been so that it wouldn't further complicate things. This only was an issue for a few days because he relapsed and had to go back into the hospital because he just wasn't ready. I was surprised they had put him there in the first place after having flashbacks, and breakthroughs during his sessions. H was still believing that daddy was in the hospital and that he was getting better that he needed rest and we could visit him soon.

Once we hit the five week mark H slowly stopped mentioning where his daddy was. He was learning to live life with just mommy and his siblings. Uncle Seth had stepped in to help with therapy runs, saving us during crazy ice storms and just pinch hitting when I needed another set of hands to help us out. Seth along with several other friends had begun to rally around us and do what ever it took to ensure we had the help and support we needed. However as thankful as I am for this help and these friends it doesn't replace the fact that they are all standing in for my husband who should be here with us. However him receiving the help and treatment he needs is far more important now. We just didn't anticipate 40+ days of limbo and no answers. Its unnerving and frustrating.

Friday we got word that H and I could be given a special visitation. They treatment team said that it would be good for both H and Chris to be reunited after being apart the 40+ days. I was hesitant to this because I was worried of the repercussion of what would happen once we left after the visit. Saturday afternoon Chris called with the details that we would meet in the morning on Sunday for an hour. I agreed to the morning because this would be easier to have the day to process what was going on instead of having to wait all day and then come home and not have much time to adjust to the events that just happened. I didn't tell him till Sunday morning we were going to see dad. I normally prep with social stories and prompts but for this I was winging it. I honestly had no idea what to do for a situation like this. Its not one of those things that comes up daily.

I wasn't prepared for the reaction today when I told H he was going to see his dad. I was telling him that we would get cleaned up and showered and once we were done we were going to see someone special. He smiled and said " Uncle Sef?!" I replied "No, we are seeing daddy!". When I thought he would perk up he got very upset and said he didn't want to go and he didn't want to see him he wanted to go play at uncle Seth's house instead. YIKES! Now I started to doubt myself and wonder if it was my fault he didn't want to see his dad because I had been so adamant about keeping them apart while Chris was in therapy that maybe I was doing more harm than good. I texted Seth in a panic. I was so overrun with guilt I was hoping he could provide me with answers. After a few moments of frantic texts, him reassuring me he is recalling details about the last time he saw his dad and that we were all nervous it would all be ok.

After some fighting and meltdowns I got H in the car. The ten minute drive seemed to take forever. I was assured by Seth that this was a normal response given what he had been through and hopefully things would be fine once we got into the groove of things. We walked in the reception area and Rose knew we were there for our special visit. She collected our information, gave us our name tags, collected my belongings and tried to make small talk with us. After a few moments she lead us to the other building. H began to get clingy and quiet. I was truly scared on how this was going to play out. I also just prayed that H wouldn't bring up the reason why he was there etc. That would add insult to injury at this point.

The reunion was awkward at best. I was on pins and needles and H was all over the place with emotions and behaviors. I did what I could to remain calm and even tempered. I let Chris and H do most of the interactions since I would be going back Monday for my own visit. Sadly they had us meet in the cafeteria that was full of stimuli for H. The buzzing of the lights, the clanking of the dishes as they prepared for lunch, the soda machines and the smells of the food being prepared. The visit was off to a rocky start.

Over the course of the hour I could see H relax a little and Chris too. H started to settle a bit and actually show affection and attention to Chris. It was brief but it was something. I could see the hurt and pain in Chris face but I believe at the same time he understood. The hour passed quickly and I could tell Chris was sad that we had to leave. Once we returned to the reception area to gather our belongings H kept saying that "daddy was staying at the hospital." He wasn't upset he seemed to just be stating facts I guess.

This has been an emotional day for sure for all of us. H did handle it better than I expected. He has only mentioned it a few times. When we went to Seth's to pick up Sean he brought it up but it was brief statements and nothing more. As the evening has progressed the less it has come up and it seems to be a non issue. When Chris called tonight he took the phone and spoke for a few seconds. However H is not really ever interested in talking on the phone as it is.

These last seven weeks have been the most trying on us since H's diagnosis with Autism. This has had a huge impact on the family. Our dynamic has completely changed and while we are adjusting and doing fine as soon as Chris gets through treatment we will go through another big transition of the homecoming integration. It of course will be well worth it once he is here but these things often cause huge setbacks when it comes the progress H makes. Our focus for now will be to keep H on routine and schedule the best we can. We both agree despite where Chris ends up the process, once ready, will include the work with H to help him comprehend and understand in his own way that daddy will be home it will just take time.

Friday, January 3, 2014


Driving back from the halfway point picking up my son, Chris calls to do his nightly call. He was still on a high from the information earlier and had even more news to share with me. I have to admit as angry and frustrated as I had been with him and the whole situation over the last few weeks I could feel myself lightening up and feeling relaxed and happy also.

We discussed the strong possibility of a family visit on Sunday and I was thrilled. I had no idea my teenager was paying attention to the phone call with his step dad. At some point he took one of his ear buds out to I guess listen to the news and I guess use it to strike up the conversation that would really make me feel proud and impressed by his maturity. Chris and I chatted for about 20 minutes and out of the corner of my eye I could see a small smile spread across my son's face. As soon as the conversation ended, Sean didn't skip a beat. He proceeded to pry on the progress and update of his step dad. Part of me was thinking he hoped that the news wouldn't be good and that would mean longer time for him to be gone and the stress of the house be at bay as it had been for the last 7 weeks.

I was very honest with Sean, he is 13 and very intuitive and insightful. I decide to seize this opportunity to discuss the progress and plans as this of course very much effects him and is part of our home life. He asked when Chris would be home before we even left the parking lot of DQ heading home. I told him at best by my birthday which is the second week of March. His eyes were big and he was surprised. I told him I would know more later this week so he left it at that and went back to is iPod. However as soon as the phone called ended with is stepfather I decided to be more forthright with the information since I know he really does want to be included in all this. Up until this night I had not asked Sean his thoughts, opinions and comprehension of our situation.  I have usually kept it generic and figured he didn't want to be bother by the details just relieved that the tension and stress of him and his stepfather was a non issue for the time being because he was not home.

When I told Sean of the VA hospital and it would be a 6/8 week program he was shocked. He had no idea that PTSD required so much intervention and treatment. He said he honestly missed Chris and the house was just not the same. He felt the house was sad and quiet and that is just not how our household works. He has really been hoping for good progress so Chris could come home and our new life could resume.

Sean after a moment of silence, boldly asked me " Has Chris ever been hurt over there?" Normally I would find a diversion topic or sugar coat this but, this is a kid who plays violent war games and does lots of reading on these types of things, there just comes a point and time when you have to be honest and tonight was that night. I told him yes he had been in combat many times and not only had to take the lives of others but he had to see the lives of his brothers taken before his eyes. He had been injured in a roadside Humvee accident that required the jaw and face to be reconstructed and screwed together in places. He also had to have surgery on his shoulder and knee. Sean was quiet and taking in the information. I told him the biggest battle he is facing is called "Survivor Remorse."  When I explained that Chris saw many of his brothers killed in combat and had to take the lives of others in order to stay safe it really made it more real I believe for Sean. This just wasn't a video game this was real life with real deaths. I could see his expression changing to a whole new direction. He just shook his head and after a few moments said that sucks. No wonder he has been so angry.

A few moments later he looked over and said he recalled reading one of those meme's on his ifunny's and it said that instead of thinking that real heroes where helmets and throw balls that we should honor those real American heroes that wear combat helmets and risk their lives for us to enjoy those athletes. For the first time he got it. He said how sad it is that we idolize those athletes and often those true heroes are forget and left out. They aren't compensated enough and it was wrong. I explained this will forever be a hot topic for lots of people and we all agree but if our athletes were paid out of the same pot of money our military was paid out of, of course this would be different but our athletes are paid by the fans and the endorsements so for every jersey, shoe, t-shirt and game day ticket you buy it goes to those athlete's  paycheck. I said "Until our service members start endorsing those types of things this is the way it has to be." It was at that time he really grasped the whole concept and realized it was very unfair. I told him a majority of our service members qualify for government assistance, such as food stamps, wic, free lunches/reduced and head start. He was shocked because those are things reserved for low income families.

I told him that veterans are often forgotten and tossed to the wayside once their time in is complete, however there is hall of fames for our athletes who not longer play. Life doesn't always make sense and he agreed. When I told him our family would be getting involved he was excited to chime in with Wounded Warrior Project. I was please to hear him say that. He is excited to see what we can do with them and hopes that these resources will be helpful to getting his step dad into a place where he can learn to be happy and enjoy his life again. He agreed a deployment ain't got nothing on this. He said this was much harder then when he was in Korea or any other time we have had to be apart. It made me proud, it made me smile to know he was getting it. He was finally able to comprehend the deeper meaning as to what our family had not only been battling the last 40 days but for the last four years.

Just when I had given up

The last few days I had lived in a dull, numb state. I had prepared for the demise of my marriage and the lack of a father figure in my child's life. I was down but not out. It was the bottom of the 9th bases loaded and all I needed was the grand slam to get me back in this game. I pulled out my wild card and threw the Hail Mary pass! I had no idea the things I did yesterday were going to have such a huge ripple effect on the news I got today.

As I prepared for my day this morning I gathered up the few belongings for Chris to leave for our friend to pick up while I was at work. The conversation last night left me feeling slightly hopefully but nothing to put all my hopes into. I had a insightful conversation with Chris probably one of the most in depth conversations since he had been gone. He was so confused and hurt by the whole " no information" deal that he decided on his own to set up something with Dyan, himself and myself. I knew at that moment one of two things, either he honestly had no idea what was going on and Dyan was lazy or mistaken or that Chris was not very bright and was about to incriminate himself with the evidence that he truly didn't want me to be apart of the treatment process. He also had expressed deep interest in getting pass on Sunday to see us. That one I was very leery of because I was not sure how it would affect H and all that he was going through.

Anyways I gathered the items and placed the pack on the back porch for Seth to retrieve as soon as Chris called to tell him he would be moving to the PHP building. I put his phone, laptop, toiletries and his checkbook and bank card. I didn't feel like places our joint card in there just to be on the safe side. Not that I think he would but I have to still look out for my family for now. I would wait patiently all day for Seth to send me the message that he was in route to tend to Chris.

The day passed and no contact from Chris. Seth confirmed with me no new information was out there. This worried me. What if he had a outburst, what if something happened and he was stuck there even longer? I gathered the kids up after work to head home and load up the truck so I could take the girls back to their dad's. I had to make a quick stop for gas before leaving the base and as soon as I sat in the truck to talk to the girls about their day, Unavailable came across my phone, I quickly answer because only one place I know of lately calls me with that name and I assumed it was Chris asking me to bring his stuff and come in for a visit. I was actually feeling myself getting irritated thinking "he has to be out of his mind thinking I am going to bring his stuff after driving three hours he is out of his mind." He asked me if I wanted some news about what was going on and I nervously said of course. He told me Waco asked for his DD214 and that they needed to verify his benefits and by mid week next week the process should be in full swing for him to head to the VA hospital there!

I almost felt this was a dream honestly. 40 days of hell and then magically answers start coming in. I strongly believe my calls to WWP and NAMI had a huge hand in all this. I think once Dyan knew I was seeking advocates to help with not only my rights and our families rights but the rights of Chris they began to see we were not going to take this lightly. I refused to let this go to the wayside and pray that eventually someone would realize this was not the place Chris needed to be and he would finally go somewhere to get help. Those 40 days might have been harder than any deployment but they were all worth it now in the name of getting help for Chris.

Today my husband is in the process of getting the much needed VA treatment he needs, landed a job once he is home and ready for work, we get a special visitation this weekend with him per his treatment team and my oldest truly comprehends and dictated to me his thoughts and feelings on this whole deal. It was like a miracle occurred. I finally felt hope again, all the doubt and anger was lifted and I felt that we would really be a family. While yes there are still some lingering questions on what was going on, I have put those things out of my mind and chosen to focus on the good that has come from today.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The walls come crashing down.

Its never easy to have to deal with a loved one being away. It is heartbreaking and sad to deal with the unknowns and uncertainty that lies within that. Its even more disconcerting when you  are blatantly left out in the cold feeling completely detached from your own reality.

It was mid afternoon and the kids were in the living room. I was home sick from work but I honestly believe now it was stress and anxiety that caused me to be so sick to my stomach. I was angry and unsure of what was going on but I still refused to give up hope that he still wanted me by his side and needed my strength and support. Just 24 hours earlier I was told Chris didn't want me to receive notifications and or updates on his care. I was baffled. I told the office to tell him we were getting divorced and we were done. It was like being punched in the gut, slapped in the face.

I am not sure what came over me but as I scrolled the pages of FB it was like a sign to see the page for the Wounded Warrior Project. I figured at this point if any organization could offer advice, guide me and help me it was them. I suddenly felt compelled to continue to try and help the man who had just pushed me out. Maybe, just maybe he is not in the right mental state and told them something when the wrong meds were in his system. I spent the better part of an hour on the phone with some very helpful folks with the WWP and NAMI I believe it is called. NAMI is an advocacy organization that can help families get the information and help that they need. She gave me some great advice and also listened to me express my concerns over the place that Chris is currently at.

As I was making this call I looked through our kitchen to see the kids playing together knowing that they know something is going on. It was like Deja Vu. However this time it was slightly different in the aspect that it wasn't my father on the phone talking to places to help my mother and myself and my siblings in the living room it was me on the phone and my kids playing. It was a very sobering moment. It was a moment that I realized history was in a way repeating itself. I knew that look, the expressions on my own children's faces. It was that look of keep busy, do what we can to help and don't ask questions. It was the whole something big is going on we aren't suppose to know but we sort of do. It was at that moment it hit me I had one last ditch effort to fix all this and if this was not a success it was just not meant to be.

I got off the phone and called Seth. We were both surprised that we had not heard from Chris because he was due to move to a new program today and we expected a call to being his belongings and to see me and or Seth. I told Seth of my plan. It was the sure fire way to see if in fact he was being held hostage so to speak or if he really wanted to leave me out of all of this. Tonight when/ if he calls and has not moved to the new program I am going to ask that he request a meeting with is treatment team and for me to be there with them. This way I can be informed of the treatment plan and we can get to the bottom of all of this. If he seems leery or won't comply I will be convinced that he really doesn't me to be apart the process. If he agrees then I have some shred of hope that something some how some way will work out for us.

In about 20 minutes the moment of truth will come so to speak. When and if he calls I will ask him to let me help. I will try to keep the faith and know that he still loves us. This is unchartered territory for me. I can't put my kids through the hell I endured as a child. Its not fair to them. I will hold on to the last bit of hope I have while the walls around me all come crashing down.