Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Momism: Happy New Year!


Happy New Year!!! Can you believe in less than 14 hours it will be 2013? Yet, didn't we have all this end of the world talk recently? Did that bother you? It didn't me. It's called being optimistic in times of pessimism.

How does one stay optimistic when dealing with PTSD and/or a TBI in a loved one who has been to war? I have found 4 very good ways that have worked for me. I will be sharing them...one at a time, over the next month on here on Mondays. The theme will be Taking Time 4 Me.

Yes, me...meaning YOU. No, it isn't selfish to take some time for you. In fact, it can help you, your veteran, your family, your health and your life in general by doing so.

Maybe you are thinking, wait, how can I possibly take time for myself? Believe it or not, there are ways. Sometimes we end up being the ones who overwhelm ourselves the most.

Tune in over the next month and I will go over four things you can do to help yourself mentally and physically with the stress of being on a PTSD journey. For now, let me leave you with this:

On Facebook, there is a wonderful little picture going around of a jar. The phrase states: This January, why not start the new year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on New Year's Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year.

I liked that so much, I shared it as well. But I would like to add a suggestion to it that I am going to follow: Don't wait till New Year's Eve. Go over the good things that happen at the end of that month. Put them back in and add to them the next month. By reading them on a monthly (or even a weekly?) basis, you'll have that good feeling even more often.

Have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve this evening. Remember that it is normal for a combat veteran to not like being around fireworks. This mom would like to thank your veteran and you for being the wonderful and strong people that you are.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Love Letter Campaign ~ Happy Anniversary


I've been waiting this year for "the moment"... that instance when I suddenly got the perfect inspiration to write my love letter. Honestly, this is one of my favorite projects we do at Family Of a Vet each year. I believe with everything in me in the sheer power behind the love stories that live in our homes.

I know that's a funny thing to say... when you think about the challenges our relationships face. The divorce rate in PTSD/TBI households is much higher than the national average. As spouses (and caregivers) of veterans we have been proven to have a much higher level of stress and mental illness. Our homes are often caught in broken places - and yet, I still maintain (and will always) that there is power in the love that is alive in our families and relationships.

Why am I so sure? Because I see it every single day. I see it in heroes as the choose to enter treatment for PTSD in order to do the best they can for their families. I see it as spouses weather sleepless, difficult seasons to keep their hero and family going until a bit of light returns. I see it over and over again. People (and hearts) that CHOOSE to continue walking, side by side, through circumstances that are unbelievably hard. The choose each other, not when its easy, but when it takes everything they have... when it takes a heart/mind/body effort of epic proportions. They choose each other. They CHOOSE each other.

The last year has brought unbelievable challenges to our household. I am "dual" caregiving for a close family member who is battling several types of cancer at once. My husband had a nasty fall a few weeks ago, has had surgery on his "good" leg and is in a hospital doing inpatient physical therapy rehab. And, as always (or at least always in the last 6+ years) we continue to battle PTSD and TBI. Life, at the moment and over the past months has been "interesting" to say the least. But, it is in the middle of this interesting (exhausting, often mind numbing) current state that this morning I found my inspiration.

I was sitting with my dear hubby in our VA Medical Center in a therapy appointment and there with us sat a Korean War Veteran. Since we all had time to spend waiting, he and my hubby started exchanging stories. He told us about his time at war, about loss, about the struggles he had endured since combat, and then about his wife, about meeting her and then marrying her just 10 days later, and with teary eyes said, "You know, we could have quit lots of times, but this year we will be celebrating 60 years together. I guess we just decided we were both stuck and we had much rather be stuck together."

In that moment, almost in unison, my husband and I answered with what has basically become our household mantra, "Yep, I guess we are also just too stubborn to quit".

Since he came home from his last deployment in 2006, we've had lots of times to face the choice between quitting and continuing to walk forward. We've had days where we neither one liked each other much. There have been sleepless nights (and weeks and months). There have been "discussions" and, oh boy, have there been arguments.

There have been times when PTSD in all its glory has torn at the fabric of "us" with everything it has.

There have been times where one or the other of us has given up, but the other has been to stubborn to let go.

We have warred, we have fought, we have had times where we are snippy and sarcastic with each other. We have hurt each other. We have hurt our marriage.

And, yet, we are still here.

Not only are we still here, but I can honestly say that today I love my husband more than I did when I married him at the ripe old age of 19. I can honestly say, with all these trials and all of these tests, that what has emerged is a love that simply IS... that doesn't at its core waiver on the bad days (even though I may not "like" him much), that doesn't want to run away, that not only stays, but stays willingly and reaches out to him with everything I can even when he is in a dark place.

What remains is simply (and amazingly) true love. A love that forgives, a love that continues, a love that sees his heart even when his injuries try to hide it away.

In January an article will be coming out in Mother Jones about our family, and Family Of a Vet, and many of the families involved. It's a hard piece to read because its a raw look at both our dark and happy places and a few months ago I called the reporter (the incredible Mac McClelland) in a panic about what showing the inside of our "crazy" life to the world was going to look like. Her answer, simple and wise as always, was that it was going to look like what it is... It was going to look like a LOVE story.

Our families are true love stories. They are stories about fighting, persevering, and continuing. They are stories about dark places that we don't allow to rip us apart. They are stories about making daily choices to work with everything we have (sometimes with one or the other spouse doing a lot of the "heavy lifting" on their own) to find each other again. They are stories about *choosing* each other, over and over again, when we could make the choice to fall. Of course they aren't Hollywood - they are far too inspiring for that.

So, here is my 2013 letter to my own dear hero:

My love,

On December 18th, we celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary and 16 years since our first date. We will be celebrating in a hospital. We will be celebrating in the midst of the current chaos in our life. But, honey, I can't think of a time I've been more proud to celebrate an anniversary with you.

I'm proud and humbled, that we continue to fight toward one another. I proud and grateful, that we are still standing. And, I am so incredibly proud to be your wife.

I am the wife of a man who has not only fought for his country, but has also fought for his family. A man, who while at times because of injuries languishes in dark places, always at the places where the rubber meets the road, refuses to give up on us. A man who continues to fight with me for "us." An incredible, beautiful, inspiring man whom I am so blessed to call my husband.

I don't know what the road ahead has in store, but I know that's okay because I will face it with you. I know in you and in my life with you I will continue to find shelter when the world is scary, a place to cuddle and cling on to when I'm overwhelmed, and a place where, even though its rocky at times, my heart, dreams, secrets, and worries are safe.

I will be here - on the good days, on the bad days. I will be here - still and quiet when you need space, arms and heart open when I can offer comfort. I will be here - to fight by your side, to fight for you, to simply stand for us when I need to do it on my own.

You, my love, continue to be not only WORTH the fight, but my inspiration and drive to keep stepping forward. I love you. Pure and simple, husband, I love you.

Love,
Me


This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Momism: Television Stressors at the VA

The other day, a support group friend in FOV stated concerns about televisions in VA hospitals showing traumatic situations. She most definitely was sympathetic about the shootings that happened in Connecticut but, just as I and so many are dealing with, she also had a loved one with PTSD who served in combat and she was understandably concerned about a possible stressor trigger occurring.

Remember the days following September 11? I don't even have to post a year, the date alone brings it back, right? Our children watched the attacks over and over in their classrooms just as it played again and again in homes across the nation. It was reported a few weeks later that seeing repeated coverage could bring on PTSD. I understand this.

I have also heard that jurors can deal with PTSD when hearing cases involving attacks on children, especially when photos are presented as evidence. I understand this.

If a television is on in a waiting room, why can't it be on a game show or a sitcom? Why must a veteran sit and watch something that can trigger a stressor. The irony is a lot of veterans are waiting to be seen or have a checkup for exactly what we are given lists to keep aware of as triggers and yet, the only thing ever on is news about the war or shootings or anger issues involving politics and/or religion.

Several years ago when my older son was in Iraq, my sister and I were at the Air Force base I used to live on getting some of my college transcripts. My younger son was a few hundred feet away getting prepped for a dental procedure following a sporting event accident. On the TV was, quite naturally, a 24-hour news channel that often had footage regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. At that moment, I had one of those “mommy” feelings and wanted to get back to the dental office at the hospital just across the street. My sister immediately thought it was me worrying about my older son after seeing the footage and I could have quite possibly assumed that as well but no, my mother's instinct kept telling me I specifically needed to get back to my younger son. We ran up just as it the hospital was being evacuated because of a fire in the basement. My son was on a gurney because he was under anesthesia for the dental procedure he was about to have.

I could have just assumed it was anxiety over the news. In fact, today, I can't watch war movies and unfortunately found out about a month ago that I can't even watch old reruns of MASH and I was a parent who stayed home and wasn't in combat. These movies and MASH are wonderful shows and I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about them but they can't help the emotions they bring up in me. So if it can affect me so emotionally, how can I not understand the triggers it could pull on a veteran?

I cried so much Friday. I prayed. I thought about 9/11. I thought about Oklahoma and Timothy McVeigh. I thought about my younger son's high school getting a call that thankfully turned out to be a prank a few years ago. We see the news and tragedies all day long and yes, we should stay informed...to a point. But what we need to consider in our situations as veterans and family members of veterans who are dealing with PTSD and maybe a TBI, is that we don't need to have them sitting in waiting rooms watching trauma. Suppose a trigger happens and they walk out because they can't deal with watching it? Then they get seen as failing to appear for an appointment. What if they get agitated and say something because of the PTSD and well, come on, the emotions and pain and anger we all feel hearing about these tragedies? Then perhaps security is called because they are “causing a scene”. Yes, this could be a possibility. Yet the trigger could simply have been because of a television showing some emotionally painful and traumatic news with a sign boldly placed nearby stating not to touch the TV.

If you feel uncomfortable watching such coverage in VA waiting rooms (or other waiting rooms), then politely and maturely write a letter (as my support group friend suggested) to the head of the center where you go and bring up your concerns and ask if the channels can be turned. If they deal with PTSD in their clinics and hospitals, they should be the first to understand what your concerns are regarding stressors.

As for Sandy Hook, all of us here at FOV will continue to pray and hold you in our thoughts.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Love Letter Campaign ~ Forever Love


Tim (My Love)

We started on this journey together, now what seems like a lifetime ago. As our relationship grew I began to learn about the PTSD and the major effect it had on your life, and now the effects it would have on our relationship and life together. You were always scared I would leave because of the strain on our relationship that PTSD would cause, but I have always promised you I never would. I remember the first time I really seen the effect of this disorder,and felt that distance,almost like a barrier between us and I couldn't understand why this was happening,why that passionate love you had always shown me suddenly froze,for just a short time. But I looked into those big green eyes and I still seen that love, I still seen that heart of gold! You are the man I am deeply in love with, and come what may, I will be the wife that stands beside you through good times and bad.

As we have continued our journey in life together, we have faced many bumps, but they only have made our love that much stronger. Most recently we found out about the TBI. I was so scared, I didn't know what to do, what to say. I knew I had to be there for you, I had to be strong and I prayed to God please give me strength! After all these test results you still continued to be sure I was OK, that I knew you loved me more than anything, and never hesitated to continue with our wedding plans.

Baby, I am here to tell you today that I am always going to be here. I will be right here beside you through the sleepless nights and all the bad dreams, just us holding each other. These monsters do not make me love you any less, fact of the matter is I love you even more, and every time I hear your voice or just look into your eyes I fall in love all over again and it becomes deeper and deeper each time. I can not wait to stand before God our family and friends and pledge our love for each other as we become husband and wife. Not many people are blessed to be able to marry their best friend,and I thank God everyday that He is allowing me to. I love you and cannot wait to be your wife!

Submitted By: A Military Wife To Be

This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Love Letter Campaign ~ My Dad - A Retired 30-Year Veteran Who Never Said A Word


I guess I can use this to vent; to express my true inner emotion concerning the loss of my father who died at the young age of 64 from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Cancer w/Sepsis Bacteria. We were told it was from radiation. I thought "radiation?" What radiation. Then I remember way back when I was younger, my dad did mention that he was stationed in Tianan (sp?) Island during WWII. He then mentioned they received orders and were shipped out to Nagasaki. They remained on the ship off the coast (don't know how far off the coast) and went in two weeks after the bomb was dropped. OK--so far so good. Now we are in the 60's. My dad just made E-7 (I laughed because my dad's record shows when he was a young lad his rank went up and down sometimes). He was right at 20 years. After his promotion, he received orders for Vietnam. My mom was scared and I remember her telling him that he put in his time and he could retire. My dad responded that the military has taken care of him and his family and he couldn't just quit. (BTW-he retired after 30 years service). He first went to Cam Ron Bay (SP?) but then was shipped to a place called Phan Rang (SP?). He came back after 13 months and we were assigned back to Germany. My dad retires in 1970 and gets a job at the Mannheim PX in Mannheim, Germany. On Memorial Day 1988, I receive a frantic phone call (I'm in the Army at this point since 1972)and my mom is crying. Said my dad went for a hernia operation and was bleeding like a "stuck pig" so they could not operate. She said he was not doing so well. I must add at this point that I can't remember my father ever being sick and missing work. I immediately flew to Mannheim and noticed my dad was losing weight and not to energetic--for my father this was unheard of. He said he was OK so I flew back home. I got another call and flew back over. This time, I took him to Landstuhl, Germany where the U.S. military had a hospital with MRI equipment. My dad went in and they thought it was something to do with the liver but weren't sure. He got worse after that so we had him admitted to the military hospital in Heidelberg, Germany. They tried to tell us he had a bad liver. I didn't buy it so I had him medevac'd to Walter Reed. His groin area was swelling up like a basketball and he was losing weight quickly. Come to find out, in Germany the doctors had mis-diagnosed him but it was too late. He had Non-Hodgkins w/Sepsis Bacteria. He was gone in 10 days. We buried him at Arlington National Cemetery. I was the Chief of the United States Army Intelligence Command Army Attache Management Division at the time. One day we had a Colonel who was in-processing and I was reading his records and found out he was in VM during the same period my father was. I asked him if he ever heard of Phan Rang (SP?) and his response caused me to almost fall off my chair. "Oh Yeah" he said. We dropped Agent Orange all over that area!
weeks on end"

In the end, and after much research, my mom and I found out that not only did my dad die because of Agent Orange; but the possibility of lingering effects of the radiation from Japan might have occurred. We were told that radiation from Japan could affect a person 50 or so years afterwards. I wrote many senators and congressman about this but no one responded. The radiation did not only kill my dad; it began the slow depression and death of my mother. My mother was the most out-going woman I've ever known. After my dad passed for 24 years until her death a few months ago she became a recluse; developed dementia; never went to the hospital for check-ups; and eventually passed away from the onset of severe dementia and Stage IV Ovarian cancer. It affected me and my kids as we were all close to my dad and mom. Although I served 21 years in the military I fault them for not informing the men and families of the possibilities of exposure to radiation, chemicals, bio-materials, etc so that preventive care and monitoring could take place. The military takes care of their own up to a point as long as you don't make waves. But, after saying that (so why did I leave the sentence in this write up? Because I write as I think), I am seeing this country taking care of the soldiers and families as well as having great respect. Remember the soldier didn't create the war the politicians did. The soldier fights the wars so that the politicians can sit back and watch. I blame them as well for the loss of both my parents not just my dad. My dad never said a word about this except for the few sentences that I mentioned above and he never complained nor ever blamed anyone for his situation. When he found out he was dying, he said "I've fought enough battles and I'm ready to go." He winked at me. My mom asked me to ask my father, while he was laying in bed, where he wanted to be buried. I did not want to do this but I did. Tears were flowing down my face like a waterfall when I had to ask him. He never talked about his war battles nor, if he ever had any, his internal battles. He never said a word. I'm 60 years old now and I miss my dad and my mom big time.

Submitted By: G.M. Rominger, Sr.

This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Momism: Reverse Flashbacks


Flashbacks are a big part of PTSD. We have witnessed them in our family a few times. A dream where he thinks his brother and sister are in the Humvee with the Tigris River on one side, innocent Iraqis on the other and insurgents in front coming towards them. A taillight out and understandably, an officer pulling him over only he takes off when he sees the lights because he has to get his people to safety. Never even had a traffic ticket up to that point. We now know the lights set off an epileptic seizure due to a TBI. Thus began our journey into the world of PTSD and TBIs.

Sometimes, though, we see reverse flashbacks. A football game, a Rangers baseball game, a TV show, a conversation. Some can be painful but when they allow us to see the person he was before combat, it makes us stronger. It makes ME stronger.

Another thing that helps me deal with PTSD in my family is writing in journals and scrapbooking. I have a journalistic scrapbook I am putting together for my grandson about his father as a child and a teen, about 9/11 and how it changed not only our country but our family and what being a combat soldier is really all about.

As I put this project together, I again see reverse flashbacks. I see them in pictures of a young boy, whether he is playing at home or at a sporting event. I see a young man with children in a war zone. These children are clustered around the soldier with smiles on their faces. It brings back memories of a phone call where he told me walked a little girl into a school for the first time in her life. I see and understand why he came home so protective of his little sister, why he and so many of our veterans can not sit in a public restaurant unless they are facing the exits.

I have stated before that if I could have talked my oldest child out of going into the Army, if I could have kidnapped him the day he left for the Middle East, I gladly would have. While I do not regret having the precious grandson I have, I do wish he could know ALL of his dad, the past as well as the present and future. Through this project I am working on, I hope to give him some of my own reverse flashbacks.

If you have a grandchild, or even a child of a veteran in your home, I would encourage you to do the same. It would be a precious and priceless gift for that child and, as I have discovered, it could be quite therapeutic for you. It can help to reconcile the courage and strength of the soldier who went to war with the veteran who now suffers from PTSD and possibly a brain injury.

We don't always understand war. December 7 just passed and many of us were not born yet when Pearl Harbor was attacked. We are now living our own moments in history and our children/grandchildren are living with the outcome of September 11, many of whom were not born yet, either. We are finding out firsthand that they aren't only historical events or good movie plots, they are active life-changing situations hitting right in our own homes.

Reverse flashbacks. They can be quite healing if we allow them to be. They can also be priceless gifts to the newest generations in our lives.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Love Letter Campaign ~ To My Best Friend



To My Best Friend,

I remember 6 years ago chatting online with this guy. He was funny and charming…and a hopeless flirt. But I could hear a note in his voice when we talked that I couldn't identify. The first time I met that guy, he was all smiles and oh so respectful. And every time he looked at me he had a twinkle in his eye.

After a while, he and I went our separate ways…physically…but we stayed in touch. We talked about everything from the differences in organic foods to what routes to take when driving through the Rockies. I eventually learned what that note in his voice was…it was the sound that I’d heard my entire life and never learned to identify…the sound of a soldier that had seen too much. This man, this soldier, became my best friend…the one person on this earth that I could say anything too without fear of judgement…the one person on this earth that I knew I could count on if I ever really needed anything.

I eventually had a beautiful son with my best friend. Granted, it wasn't necessarily planned…but my friend taught me that sometimes the best things in life aren't planned. Over the years I learned a lot from my friend. I saw what war could do from a grown-up’s eyes, when I had only ever seen it from a child’s. I learned a lot more patience…both with myself and those around me. I learned, from my friend, that just like love can come in many forms, it can be expressed in many forms. And I learned to listen to that little voice on my shoulder that I had ignored for so long…the voice that told me that my friend wasn't just my friend anymore.

On June 16, 2012, God truly blessed me. On that day I got to marry my best friend. I stood before God Himself and man and promised that I would always love my friend…now my husband. I promised that no matter what got put in our path, I would stand next to him. I promised to carry him when he fell, and to let him carry me when I did.

It’s not been an easy road with this man I met and became friends with, then married. There have been fights…some much worse than others. There have been hard times when there wasn't enough of this or enough of that. There have been times when we disagreed. There have been just as many tearful and stressful nights as there have been joyous and loving nights. But, when things are tough…when my best friend talks in his sleep, or has a little too much to drink, or lashes out over something that could be easily resolved, or even when he says nothing at all…I remember the words I repeated the day we married: “And for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother’s house and the two shall become one flesh.”…ONE FLESH. What hurts him…hurts me. What joys him…joys me. I know that no matter where Uncle Sam or even God Himself takes us in this life I will always have, at my side, my best friend…my rock…my provider…my light…my strength…my husband…YOU.

I Love You Husband...Me

This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Love Letter Campaign ~ Can't Thank You Enough...



I can't thank you enough for all that you have endured so that I may walk freely down Main Street in Lisle, Illinois without the fear of repression from some unknown enemy...

I will never be able to repay you the debt of gratitude that I owe you for sparing me the harsh ordeal through which you so valiantly triumphed....

I know that your life will never be the same...

But I also want you to know that I APPRECIATE the fact that you endured so that MY life might retain the same freedoms and rights that those who came before you secured for the people of this nation.

If nightmares keep you awake at night, PLEASE know that my prayers are with you that you might enjoy peace in your dreams...

If aches and pains of invisible wounds haunt you by daylight, PLEASE know that I will forever be indebted to you for your sacrifice of suffering...

I wish you feel pride as you walk down your own Main Street, wherever you may find yourself in this great land: YOU GAVE THIS PLACE TO US!

And, whenever you see the flag fly, I want you to know that I KNOW all that you have given to me...

I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU.

I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE SACRIFICED FOR ME AND MINE.

May Great Spirit bless you with peace and long, happy days free from worry and filled with abundance and prosperity for as long as you shall grace this earth.

Submitted By: Words just aren't enough to thank you for your sacrifice, an American Mom

This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Love Letter Campaign ~ Still So in Love With Him




I made the biggest mistake of my life the day I broke up with him.

Back then I didn't know how serious it was to become, I had almost no knowledge about what PTSD was at all. I just figured oh okay, he is handling everything well, I have to respect his wishes. I just didn't wanna fight with him, and it was all so new to me, so I just left it alone. And then the attitude he would get would just surprise me because he was never like that with me in all the time we were together, and then the bad attitude would rub off on me. And that would eventually lead to that fight that ended our relationship.

Thinking back now, I wish I had known why he was acting the way he was, it could have saved our relationship, and all this heartache.

I thought I had started seeing the signs of the PTSD, well the little I knew about it, and I told him to go get help, but he insisted and insisted that he didn't need it. And more and more things just weren't the same anymore. We had the perfect relationship once upon a time, never fought, we had nothing to fight about. And then this came full force. It completely blind sided me, so I can't even imagine what it did to him. Because now he wants nothing to do with me.

Here was this man that i felt the most safe with, the person i loved more than I loved myself. The person I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with. It was always us, and now he is so angry with me because I made him worse. How could I do that? Why then couldn't I handle it, and now I think I can? Why do I wake every single day and feel guilty?! I love him still. I always will. I need to be with him, I want to be with him. But he says no no no, over and over. And I do not know how to let go still.

Submitted By: Hope

This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.