Today is Memorial Day. For so many, TOO many, it is a day to not only pay homage to the fallen but to their loved ones, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, spouses, siblings. Those who died in combat or in another way connected to service to their country. Those who were fortunate enough not to but died after having served. To those, I send out my sincere condolences.
Today is Memorial Day. For others, it is a three-day weekend, a holiday, a break from the daily routine. It is a barbecue, a family get-together, hanging out with friends, swimming at a pool or fishing at the lake, shopping for sales at the stores. To those, I send out a sincere hello.
Today is Memorial Day. For some, like me and my family and SO many others, it is a time of in-between. Every day I am grateful and thankful my son came home from Iraq. He didn't come home alone, though. He came home with a physical brain injury and PTSD. I can never look at life the same again. I can't watch war movies and I realize they don't really end in happily ever after. Part of me feels guilty for the pain inside when I think of those who lost even more. It seems for the most part that only when someone goes through having a family member in a combat zone, living daily with injuries, only then can they understand or sympathize.
To those, I have this to say:
We lost a part of our loved ones but we truly are grateful they came home. We cry for those who never came home because we lived every day with the fear of getting that knock on the door. We look back at a time when he or she (in my case, my son), proudly took the oath to serve and did just that. I remember a little boy who would say “I love you tough noodles, Mom, cause that's the most you can love anybody”. I remember a teenager being protective of his younger brother and sister. I remember a young man who told me the morning of 9/11 that he had to leave for basic because it was more important than ever: for his country, his siblings and me.
They didn't abandon us in our time of need in this country. They don't need to be abandoned or forgotten now. They just need to be accepted so that they can seek help earlier and not feel ostracized for doing so.
If you haven't lost a loved one or had one come home different, I am truly happy for you. I honestly would not wish the roller coaster life those of us living with a TBI and/or PTSD affected loved one have and will continue to have. All I ask is that you take the time to understand what we go through without judging us or them.
If you are here and are experiencing life with a loved one who has a TBI or PTSD and you feel alone, get in touch with us so we can help you get in touch with someone in your area.
To me, it's not Happy Memorial Day. Have a blessed Memorial Day and give your family a hug today.
Submitted by Monica Newton