Monday, December 22, 2014

#DearVA I had Some Good Conversations...

#DearVA,

I had some good conversations yesterday with Veterans through Facebook. The main point was Veterans who don't push to help themselves, and I do think that this is a problem. A Marine raises a good point, that the Veteran has to push and push and push and be their own best advocate.

Here is my problem #VA...

You allowed a young man to join the Navy. He doesn't have the life skills to advocate for himself. He doesn't know how. He tells you that he is suicidal, you push some pills at him, and assign a woman to talk to him who is not a therapist.

This is not acceptable.

The #NewVA needs to recognize that not every Veteran knows how to be their own advocate. Don't dismiss a Veteran by pushing pills at them. For heavens sake, when a therapist leaves, have a replacement ready for the Veterans who need them.

PM
Caregiver


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#DearVA,

Today let’s talk about missing. I spent so long missing my husband when he was sent overseas again and again and again. And when he wasn’t being sent overseas he was being sent all around the country for trainings and tests. In the first 3 years of our relationship we weren’t even in the same state 15 months let alone in the same city. We were married for a full year before we ever had the opportunity to live together. And when he came home, I still missed him because he had such a hard time being a part of our world. He was so accustomed to being gone and being a “geo bachelor.” Can you imagine what it’s like to be suddenly dropped into a house that is covered with kids things and another person’s work stuff and pets and all that comes with these family trappings? Can you imagine being accustomed to a very sparse existence with everything neat and tidy in it’s place (as you’ve been trained that they should be) and then find yourself in the middle of the calamity of school days and homework and toys and playdates and people who need your time and who need you to be flexible with your time and go at the drop of the hat because that’s how family life can be? It must feel like being dropped into some kind of Willy Wonka world where nothing makes sense because it’s not your world, it’s a families world… it belongs to many and not just to one. We still struggle with this. My husband is an early riser, long before anybody else in the house. So he has plenty of time to leisurely get himself ready, drink his coffee, read the news, etc. By the time the rest of the house is getting up he’s ready to go, go, go. He doesn’t always realize that everybody else is still getting themselves together for the morning and that not everybody has eaten breakfast, not everybody is ready to go, go, go. It’s really difficult to live in a home that feels like it has two different time zones. You always feel late or ridiculously early… and sometimes you just don’t even know which it is.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that my family misses feeling like a whole solid unit. We feel like a whole unit made up of mismatched pieces and shapes that don’t form a complete circle but more of an ever changing shape that has bulges and divots. This is something we hope that #NewVA will understand and address. We’ve been working at this for about 7 years and we still don’t feel like a circle or a square or just a family yet. #VA has not provided us with help as a family. There have been no offers of help for our children to understand what’s going on with Daddy. There’s no help for me, as a wife of a wounded vet, or as the mother of children who live in a household like this. Why is there no family services available? Or if there are, why are they not reaching out? We are tired and exhausted and have no idea how to deal with this other than to trudge on. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope it gets better… hope the grass gets greener or the trail finds a downhill slope that is easier to traverse than the uphill battle we’ve been fighting.

We miss feeling like a normal family. We miss feeling like a team all working towards a single goal as a family rather than all working towards the singular goal of being a family. We hate trying to explain to people that we spend a lot of time trying to seem like a normal family, like we’re not different. We hate having to explain why our schedules are much stranger than many families 9-5 schedules. Why we are often home during the middle of the day, why we don’t attend regular functions like the other families, stuff like that. #NewVA, do you know what it is to explain your life every single day? Do you know what it is to justify your very existence to the people that are supposed to understand and help you? Do you know what it’s like to continually “interview” and retell your story over and over again? We do. We miss feeling normal.

Sincerely,
100% Navy Wife

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