Thursday, June 2, 2011

Civilians in Need of Combat Education

How could such a positive day turn out so crappy….

We signed up to do this Memorial Day 5k since he did it last year and we were so inspired by it.  So we had been technically planning this for a year, but more officially a month and a half.  Last year was so wonderful in so many ways…watching my husband cross that finish line with his amputee friend and even turning around to go back for my Uncle was amazing.  Even realizing that one of the memorial banners of fallen soldiers there was one that lost his life in place of my husbands…was a negative then positive experience.

This year, he woke up pissed off as could be… I just tried to ignore his rants anyway.  We left the house later then we should have and he complained about showing up late, not feeling well, being tired, etc…but I got us there on time.  He was going to run the 5k with some of his fellow veteran buddies from the live-in treatment center he was at a few months ago and I was going to walk while pushing the stroller with our two-year-old.  His buddies jogged off and my husband didn’t follow when the race started…instead he walked with me…bitching at me all the way.  He stated that he only did this “stupid 5k for me cause it would make me happy” and “how stupid it was that our toddler didn’t want to stay in the stroller” and “how it was so hard for him to keep pace with my walking”.  I put our 34lb toddler on my back and pressed on anyway.  We met up with some of his buddies from the program after the race to get in line for our free omelet breakfast…While in line my husband had to go use the porta-potty for some much needed relief and a couple of  his buddies were in line behind me.  A helicopter was circling and preparing to land at the site for show at the event.  I looked to see how his buddies were handling the noise and it was obvious that one of them was struggling severely.  He was so tense and on-guard, not even his service dog could calm him down.  I was hoping my husband could make it out of the bathroom to comfort his friend but no such luck. Instead some firecrackers went off unannounced causing his friend to hit the deck and fled for cover behind the porta-potties.  I was worried about how my husband was handling the loud noises while in the ‘john’ but more concerned about his buddy.  Everyone in the crowd was shocked and giggling under their breaths about the reaction of my husbands buddy.  I was so angry at all of them.  I kept my composure and explained to those whom I could hear making remarks that the man that reacted that way only did so because of PTSD and most of them didn’t even know what that was.  At an event that is for our veterans…dead or alive…there needs to be some consideration and education!!! I just felt like the event was defeating it’s purpose…like the spectators were there for a show, not even realizing what our veterans go through.

Fortunately my husband was fine and able to comfort his friend when he was finished.  We got together with the rest of the group and tried to enjoy the day…it was obvious to me that his friend was still struggling, even with his service dog.  I just felt like a failure as a military wife…like I’m not doing enough to educate the world about what our veterans go through…but at the same time I became mad at our country for not doing enough for our veterans or educating our citizens about what our veterans face.  I left my cards on many vendor’s tables in hopes of getting some education out there but it still isn't enough.  I just don’t know what to do anymore…

I was still pretty hurt about my husband’s rude comments that morning and even me (who knows a ton about combat PTSD) couldn’t separate the PTSD from a personal attack.  I didn’t even think about the fact of my husband being reminded by seeing this memorial banner of the soldier who lost his life in place of him would bother him.  I was also consumed with my own pain from Fibromyalgia after that 5k…so I question my anger toward the uneducated, because here I am consumed with my own secondary PTSD and pain.  Ugh!  I just know that I am so grateful for our service men and women and wish our country could know and do more.  

Happy Memorial Day. 
~ Mrs. S

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