Sunday, May 1, 2016

Falling Apart (and finding a way through... again)

If you've kept up with FOV (Family Of a Vet) in the last year you might have noticed that things have been conspicuously quiet in the last 8-12 months.
Something I - Brannan, founder of FOV - but more than that the chick who sort of eats, sleeps, and breathes this work and mission because somehow, amazingly and thankfully, this mission/passion/calling found me almost a decade ago and has become the most amazing adventure I could have never imagined - feel guilty about sort of 24x7 right now.
I'm not sure I could catch you up completely on our personal life - the rather chaotic mess of daily survival - that the hubby, kiddo, and I are currently trying to nudge our way through (and have been for well... probably more than a year at this point).

The short list: 
Our finally-found-deeply-liked-actually-could-get-the-hubby-to-listen primary doc at the VA retired and was replaced by a complete idiot (I don't use those words lightly and am not typically a "personal attacks" type of chick, but ohhhhhhhh my) who then so very helpfully told my dear husband who regularly has major paranoia about the VA trying to kill him via his Meds that leads to a constant battle to get him to take anything consistently that he (the hubby) was probably right that he shouldn't take his Meds. (I do think the doctor actually meant that no one should overtake medications... But well, noooooot how it "translated").
My mom, the person who sort of was the "fixer" in my world... who somehow, inexplicably managed to reach into tough times and soften them in ways I didn't fully notice ... took her trip to heaven after a lengthy battle with cancer.
My own somewhat under control neurological condition suddenly became a mess of anything but "controlled” and has netted me several surgeries, hospital "vacays", and a daily mess of trying to think clearly through ... Well... Almost anything.
Our amazing, incredible kiddo is approaching the "tweens" and has been struggling with depression and figuring out her way in the world amidst our... Uhm... Less than conventional world. 
The hubby's wonderful, amazing Vietnam friend - sort of our own personal mentor in this messy life after combat - died unexpectedly.
Shilo, my hero's so smart, so sweet, so perfect service dog developed a sort of major disorder. And with the hubby's struggles, my own sooooo less than able to manage all the moving parts challenges, and all the other chaos at the moment, we can't seem to get her well. We aren't consistent enough, we aren't on "top" of things enough. And so, because we love her, we are letting her go - back to the incredible organization she came from (and her trainer who will help her get well and then find her another family to help).
I could actually keep adding to that list for a few thousand more words, but you get the point. 
Basically, almost every piece that was in place that helped us manage this after-combat life has vanished in the last 12 or so months.
And I had so much more ... Well... EVERYTHING when I first started getting those pieces in place 9 years ago. But now I find myself in those quiet, dark moments struggling to see a way through... a way to get the hubby back on his feet, get myself physically well, nudge the kiddo forward on the path in front of her, and all the other endless broken pieces that seem to be endlessly swirling out of control at the moment. 
But the long and short of it... Of these lives we lead... Is that I don't have a choice.
I have to fight-pray-will-struggle-beg our way through. I have to stand, figure out how to put the "falling apart" back together again, and keep moving until I believe that's possible.
I know many of you will read this and completely get exactly what I'm saying. For us and for the heroes and kiddo's we live, combat never ends. Sure it looks different... Our battlefields and the wars we wage on them change almost as quickly as we conquer them. 
But loss is not an option. It's not in us, and if it ever was these lives quickly build a "never give up, never stop" thread into the fabric of who we are. And so, we fight. We fall apart. And we fight again.
Heroes and families - the literally thousands of them that I have met or talked to in my years in this work - are some of the most inspiring-unseen-unbelievable-amazing people any could know. But unfortunately for those of us in these "trenches" those qualities are far too often refined under strains and hardships we never imagined enduring yet somehow still have to find a way through.
And we will. I will. We all will. Somehow. Always. <3



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Love Letter Campaign ~ Here's to Us




I'm writing a love letter to my hero on a day when I am struggling to find my love for you. I dread the holidays and this one was no different. You pushed everyone away including God. Although it's been years since you came home from going to war I'm still waiting for you to come all the way home. This year I realized that maybe you are never coming all the way home. Maybe when you go to war to protect and save a country, you go to save it for the people you left behind, the people who haven't been born yet or made citizens but you don't get to come home and enjoy the peace and safety you fought for. You save it for everybody else but not for you. So I wait and I hope. I refuse to give up. Perhaps some day you will make it all the way home, if you do escape the hell that came home with you in your mind, I will be here, waiting.


Submitted By: Danielle B.


This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Love Letter Campaign ~ A Mother's Love





Dear Son,

Watching you grow up from a baby to a wonder young man has given me great joy. When you enlisted in the military as a mom, I was tearful and concerned. But no matter what time day or night I prayed constantly for you. You still gave me great joy. 

During the call of you being injured as I felt it already in my heart, I prayed that God would protect you and bring you back to me safe and sound. A prayer that was honored.

Now I have seen you go through the effects from the injury and still I pray. No demon that is trying to rise up shall and will not over take you. The tests you've had and the many heartfelt pain you've shared still reflects my memory of a mother's love. Reaching out, encouraging, praying and listening as you speak. Whether it's five seconds, five minutes or hours at a time this mother knows the importance of listening to her child
After all a mother's love for her child is still a joy.

My heart can feel your pain because you are and always will be a part of my heart. A mother's love!

Submitted By: Melodie P.


This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Love Letter Campaign ~ You are Loved so Much it's Bigger than the Sun




To You Mr Andrew Lloyd. 

The Hero's Hero..My Hero Your Families Hero.  My sweet face man, I live everyday with you knowing where your pain emanates from...and I love you More.  I by far am not perfect and we have our squabbles, but you my King my Fighting Soldier have met and filled every empty space in side me with you.  I was not around in the beginning, we hadn't crossed paths yet, but now i am here and I'm going to stay right next you.  Hold you the way you hold me.  We have something that people search their whole lives for the beautiful girls I love so much as my own, Our friends who believe in our love.  Our Families who know we complement each other to the T!  I love you my Lloyd I love you for everything you do.  I love you for the man you are to me and the girls.  I love you my hero.  We love you my hero. Forever.

I'll Never Not Believe in You, I'll never Not Love You!


This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Love Letter Campaign - 11/11/67




A Bronze Star V-necked my true love's chest,
Lodestar phantoms counsel R&R.
An attitude adjustment at a nations behest,  
Now nameless anxiety is the invisible scar. 

A Purple Heart tattooed Vengeful Psyche -
Lingering static stifles sobriety's light.  
An Orgasm is a thunder strike,
Naivety in love is an SOS, Right?

A Silver Star shines Villinously luminescent -
Lonely foolish children suck a solitary thumb.
And Love is California effervescent 
Now that Daddy daydreams in Kingdom Come.

A Medal of Honor Vivisected a soldier's neck - 
Lost on point in a rice paddy in Viet Nam
A splash down in a pungi pit -  a bitter reality check. 
Never forget is the epithet of this cryptogram.

Submitted By: Wife of a Vietnam Veteran


This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Love Letter Campaign - Different




To My Brandon, 

              I can't believe we have been married for almost 11yrs now. We have been through so much 15 years you serving raising four children. I still close my eyes and see the man who seen something different in me. When we met I was a single mother of two kids. Raising them on my own. Their real father walked out and it was just me. I began  to believe it would always be just me. No one would ever see me as anything other than a girl with two kids. I met you thinking he will be the same as everyone else no different. I was so wrong you came into my life and really seen me for me. I remember being terrified of you I just couldn't understand the warmth of your heart and the gentleness of you. I had never met someone like you. I always knew you were different. We dated for a month and you stepped up and took my kids as your own. I just was so amazed wow is this real. You asked me to marry you on my son's birthday. Which I never saw coming after a little over a month. But I knew you were different and I said yes. I was definitely a little  scared because then we got word you would deploy but it was a chance worth taking. After your second deployment I could tell you where not yourself and it scared me. You became so angry and shielded from me and the kids. I tried to talk to you but you wouldn't let me in. But I knew who you really were so I tried to always understand. But after years of fights and you trying to take your life I knew things were not OK. You realized you needed help and got counseling for PTSD. It was not easy for either one of us but I knew we had to do this to save you and me. We have come so far together and I realize every day how much I need you in my life because without you I would be different. You are such an amazing person and have so much to give I am so great full you picked me to grow old with. I love you and honor you and will always be by your side. You have faced PTSD and not let it over come us and because of that we are so different we are stronger.

Submitted By: Proud Wife of a Veteran


This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Love Letter Campaign - Love My Husband





I love my husband with all my heart and sometimes I feel like I can't go on. He is so mean to me, and I don't understand. I  am not allowed to get sick because that is when PTSD really shows up. Like now I am having real bad headaches and pain running down behind my left ear also my neck hurts so bad at times I just want to cry. I am supposed to be resting until I can see the neurologist next week but he acts like he doesn't care, if anything gets done in the home I have to do it, he doesn't take care of paying the bills and if I don't get them done he gets so mean. I am afraid to say anything at all at times and I feel like I am walking on egg shells and they are going to crack at any time and set him off. When he is sick I take care of him but it is not that way when I am sick I take of myself. Everyone at Church thinks that he does take care of me but I don't say anything to anyone. I got real bad at Church Sunday and couldn't keep my balance and he got mad at me I think some of the members saw the way he was acting but I could not help it. It is like he is ashamed of me, but I have got to try and hold on no matter how bad it gets because I do love him and I will take care of him as long as I can.

Submitted By: The Wife of a Veteran


This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.