Our VA here has been very good to Kevin. I'm pretty sure we have the best neurology doctors in the country. The caregiver support coordinator here is fabulous. The nurse that comes to do our home visits is beyond fantastic. I looooove her. Really everything here about our downtown VA is great. The problem for us lies within the VBA and the claims process.
We waited well over a year for Kevin's original claim and that was with help. That was even with it FINALLY being expedited because I was sick. OVER A YEAR! I watched a strong man crumble, a man who had given all to a country that turned its back on him. A man who was once a strong, brave, good man turned into a beast. A man who had to put his sick wife and two little boys off to the side so he could do what his government and country asked of him. A broken man physically, mentally, and emotionally.
There are things worse than death. Coming home a broken pile of mush and suffering through hell and pain for the rest of your life because the real YOU was left on the battlefield, a world away, is worse than death. That’s the man who stands before me. I know what it feels like to die. To have your body shut down. The pain. The emotional pain of knowing you’re going to die. But that pales in comparison to the man who stands before me. The man who is losing his mind, the lesions from his TBI eating away his brain. The nightmares of hell, of being hit with a rocket and watching his best friends blown to pieces. Not being able to sleep at night, but not able to get the images out of his head when he's awake.
At least I have an end in sight. Where is his? For some it’s suicide. For some it’s going insane. And for some it’s trying to make the best of it. Making the best of it means to keep going. To keep going with no benefits, no way to provide for your family. That in itself is enough to make someone go mad.
For over a year we waited. We were homeless. We went days without eating just to make sure our boys ate. It made us sick to think we would be taking food out of our sons’ mouths. That’s what the VA does to hundreds of veterans and their families when they let them fall, and in some cases purposefully push them, through the cracks of humanity.
Picture a young veteran and his wife sitting in a rundown "house" with a leaking roof. Children sleeping on the floor. Parents sleeping on the floor. Their belongings in storage because they have nowhere to put them. The wife is very sick, she's battled cancer, but she's working as a waitress to feed the kids. The car broke down and with no money to fix it she walks six miles a day to work in January in Kansas. They have waited and waited, but no benefits. They have no food, no utilities, no way to pay for Christmas gifts, no hope. The VA offers no hope. They both just want to die. But they can't. They have little boys who depend on them so they keep going. I guess people at the VA don't think about that. The members of congress and our president don't care about that because they don't have to live like that. They don't lose sleep.
We STILL don't have our benefits issues corrected. My husband is being paid as a single veteran with no dependents even though we have been married for 15 years and our children are 12 and 14 years old. What the hell! The way our veterans are treated is deplorable! There actually isn't a word on earth to describe how horribly our veterans are treated.
My cancer is back. I was given months to live. Sadly, I will die before my husband sees his benefits. Then he will be told, “Sorry, we can't pay for your wife as a dependent because she's dead." This is crap! Just crap.To learn more about the State of Heroes and Families project, please visit our main site or visit any of the following direct project links -
Why This Started: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-why.html
The Statistics: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-statistics.html
Our Stories: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-stories.html
What We Hope For: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-hopes.html
FAQ About the Project: www.familyofavet.com/state_of_veterans_families-faq.html