Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Momism: Cashing in the Blank Check

Hello, all. Today I would like to tell you the story of the Blank Check.  Most of you already know what that is because your loved ones have written and gone off to a war zone.  The price is nearly always high: they miss the birth of their child, they are injured, some make the ultimate sacrifice and never come home again. 
Can you imagine writing a blank check to someone and telling them to fill out the amount as they see fit?  It could literally bankrupt you.  That’s what a blank check in military terms means: it bankrupts a family emotionally. 

Living with a loved one who has PTSD, a brain injury, epilepsy, mood swings, it can and is one of the most stressful situations a person can be in.  Many divorces are attributed to it.  Not that it is the veteran OR the spouse’s fault, but part of a blank check that was written by a brave person who went off to defend his or her country.  Just as financial problems can ruin a marriage, so can a blank check to the government.  

In many families, there is no divorce because the veteran was a teenager or in his early twenties, single and willing to go off and do what he saw done in history books, defending the country and family that he loves.  In other families, there is a marriage but no divorce as the couples strive to identify the amount the blank check was written for and deal with its impact on their family accordingly.  

Have you found the amount your veteran’s blank check was cashed in for?  If you paid the ultimate sacrifice, please believe us that families of veterans who make it home from war have their own type of survivors’ guilt.  Sometimes, when I just want to go Mama on the system, I feel almost ashamed to because I know how grateful I am that my son came home alive.  

Surviving the war does not stop the check from being cashed over and over again.  There are days when only a small amount is taken.  We are grateful for those because we know they are few and far between.  There are other days when our entire emotional and physical accounts are drained in their entirety.  Arguments, epileptic seizures, flashbacks, memory loss, we never know just what the amount that day will be.  A pizza is put into the oven, then he walks out the front door and forgets about it.  He can’t remember a conversation over money and asks you why you gave him some one day.  He doesn’t remember where his car is.  He wakes up screaming that he has to get you to safety.  Then he gets aggravated with you, denying that some of these things even happened.  Not because he really is upset with you, but because it reinforces to him that he does have a physical/mental condition.  

If you are living in a family such as this, we want you to know that you are NOT alone.  Whether you are a spouse or a parent, you are experiencing what those of us in Family of a Vet deal with every day.  Understanding that the blank check is now a part of your life, with different amounts written out on different days, will help you to deal with it a little better.  It is okay to feel resentful towards the system, it is okay to feel anger and sadness and frustration.  Just understand that you and your family are worth it, that your veteran gave a part of him/herself and so did the rest of your family.  Recognizing that the war never truly ends for a combat veteran, that the family (you) here at home is still living on a roller coaster, can help you to identify the tools you need to get through those account-draining days.  

I see that blank check everywhere, in my son’s mood swings, in his nightmares, in the burnt pizza pan, the VA battle we went through and most especially, in his eyes.  Seeing a picture of him before deployment and those of him since his return, one can easily see the differences in his eyes alone.  
Join a support group, join us.  You are not alone.  Those blank checks will still get cashed, but having the emotional interest a group can bring, will help you get through those days a little easier.   

Submitted by Monica Newton

1 comment:

  1. Monica,

    I took some time today to read some of your posts and I believe that you are doing a great service. Keep up the great work you do.

    Thanks, Kymm