Friday, July 20, 2012

The Boy Next Door

I met my husband shortly after he left the Army in 2008. He had been out only a few months before he came to my door. That day is so special and is the defining moment in my life. He had been my neighbor... I had naturally noticed him, but it seemed he hadn't noticed me. Until that day he knocked on my door and told me that he wanted to kill his girlfriend and then kill himself. I had no idea what to do or say, so I just listened.

He told me he was an Iraq war veteran. He told me about the lives he had taken and the lives that had been taken in front of him. He told me his girlfriend broke up with him and he felt like he had no place in the world. I asked him if he could call anyone, family friends etc. (I think back to
that moment so often and wonder if I could do it over, if I would have called help for him?) In any case, that night help came. It came in the form of flashing lights and the SWAT team. I had been at work when I came home to find that I was not allowed to enter the property. I spoke with one of the officers and told him about my neighbor and what had happened earlier that day, he asked me
which apt was his... I showed him. I prayed and prayed that he was okay, that he would come out of that apartment alive. He had apparently barricaded himself in his apartment and was threatening suicide.

Earlier that day after I left for work, he had attacked his girlfriend.  After a few hours he finally came out of his apartment, I saw them handcuff him and take him to the ambulence. He looked in my direction and made eye contact with me. It sounds so cheesy but I knew at that moment my life would never be the same.  When he was released from the VA he came over and appoligized to me.
After that we were best friends. He proposed to me shortly after, I said yes. He was too amazing. He has problems yes but nothing that I couldn't handle. I had assumed the worst was behind him and five years later I think I was right. We have had many hard times, all including the storms of PTSD, but each time they seem to pass quicker. I have gone through all the struggles of "what is wrong with me?!", "what is wrong with him...can't he just let this go! why is this so hard? why does this keep happening I am doing everything I can to make him happy...why can't he just be happy?!?"

I have finally realized, with the help of  Family of a Vet's articles, article from numerous organizations including VetsVoice and talking with other wives of veterans that this is not US and it is not THEM. It is PTSD and it is WAR and it is NORMAL for them to go through this. I still have a
hard time letting go at times, but I believe telling my story is a big part of that. This is the first time I have done this publicly and have included the story of our meeting. I think people would think I was nuts to say yes to a suicidal, homicidal man. Yet I did and maybe I am crazy but I love him and I want to help make his life good, I want to help him see that life is not just pain and war, it is happy and full of love. I sometimes get caught up in the storm of PTSD and I forget that. That's why I have been reaching out more and more. I want to be positive and hopeful for us. It can be done and the more that time goes on and I adapt myself to this new way of life I find that it gets easier for the both of us.

Submitted by VetWife

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