I originally posted this a few days ago on my personal blog, Southern Girl's Stand, and have now decided to share it here because of the amazing response I received from it... I am sure many of you can relate to my feelings. Being able to relate to someone when things are tough somehow makes us feel human again and in a "better" place because we know we really aren't alone.....
We have officially survived the first month and few days of Kev's retirement. To lay it out there, it has been exactly one month and six days since Kevin's retirement began and to be honest, I am still struggling to process it in ways that I never thought I would.
Let's take the main factor of it all... My husband is 31 years old and *MEDICALLY* Retired from the army. People, do we realize why one would become medically retired? It is all really beginning to hit me like a ton of bricks just tumbling on top of me. I have known for quite awhile the serious extend of my husbands injuries, but there is just something about having to face the facts and to put it simple, accept it all. Kev was MR due to the injuries he sustained while deployed to Iraq. In our worlds, many of these issues seem so common, yet when I look out into the world that I once knew...they are far from common and truthfully, I feel the distance between myself and family/friends because they just don't get "it". I know to some that one thing may sound absurd, but to the ones living this life after combat, it makes perfect sense.
I wish I could just make a detailed list of all the changes that not only Kevin has been through and will continue to go through, but also the changes that each one of us in our house has had to endure. Too many times I have already heard comments on "how nice" it must be that Kevin does not have to work or how "great" it is that he is out of the army and yet, to avoid the "drama" or misinterpretations, I typically just change the conversation. In all honesty, I want to shout back to these people that I would much rather have Kevin in the army full time like he was and working all the time if I could have him back as he was before 2007. Yes, I am blessed that my husband is still alive, but he will never be the man I married. Don't misconstrue what I have just stated, because he IS the man I love and the man I am IN love with, but when it comes down to it, he isn't the man that he use to be.
Too often, I also have people tell me that to look at Kevin, one would never think there was something wrong. Sadly, I find myself trying to keep the giggles from seeping out at this. Really? That is the first thing people think? I have a laundry list of health issues and all the time hear the same thing about me. When are people going to open their eyes and realize that just because someone doesn't look like they are sick or doesn't look like they have a disability that it doesn't mean there is nothing wrong with them?
Tonight I am just feeling out of sort and simply alone. It is 1:30 in the morning, everyone else is in bed, I can't sleep, and even though I have friends I could call I really just don't want to try to explain why I feel the way I do when they expect me to be okay with it all and to be excited that we no longer have the worries or concerns of the army. I want my friends to tell me it's okay to be angry for what we are going through, it's okay to be completely pissed that even though my husband returned from war, a part of him died over there. I want them to tell me it's okay to in a sense "envy" others relationships because they carry on with life because they have never had to live through the hell that war brings. I want to see people appreciate what they have more and quit taking it for granted because their loved ones have to work late or whatever. I want to be told it's okay to get upset, it's okay to be frustrated, and you know what...it's okay to even shed a few tears now and then. What I don't want to hear right now is "Be glad he's home", "Be glad that he will never deploy again"... and so on. Yes, I am glad for these things, but I would do it all over again if I knew Kevin would come home unwounded...
It just breaks me to see him on days when he can barely walk. It breaks me to see him snap over things that seem so trivial to most. It breaks me to see him no longer find happiness and joy in the simple things in life that he use to. I hate seeing Kevin hurting mentally and physically. I hate seeing him struggle with simple tasks and daily routine. I hate the permanent changes. I hate people simply not understanding or even trying to understand. I despise how people that promised they would stand beside us through these times and would always be here don't even bother to pick up the phone anymore.
So, yes, I would rather have lived through another 11.5 years of Kevin active duty army and retiring at 20 years other than seeing and living through my husband becoming severely injured in Iraq (multiple times) and being permanently changed.
Proud Wife of an OIF Wounded Veteran
FOV Communications Liaison