Marshmallows

Sometimes life’s Hell. But hey! Whatever gets the marshmallows toasty.
~J. Andrew Helt

As we live this crazy new life, we would like to share a few thoughts with you to help you understand the way it is here.

We do not know the future.  We do not know if Sean will improve, or stay the same, or make adaptations.  We do know there is not a “cure” and no one is going to “fix” his problems.  He is getting treatment to help him maintain.

No matter how many times he asks, I will never be able to explain to him why this happened, or why is he not the same.  He is grieving a loss he does not understand. 

I may not work, but I do not have it easy.  This is not a vacation.  I work hard every day to run our household and take care of Sean.  We have many appointments and phone calls and records to search.  Also, please don’t ask  me when/if I plan to go back to work as I do not know and that is extremely difficult for me.

While Sean will be glad when his MEB/PEB is completed and he can retire from the Army, he will be terribly sad because he never wanted this.  It is heartbreaking for him. 

Injury and illness is rough on the whole family.  We would all like to think of kids as resiliant and able to “bounce back” in the face of adversity, however, they suffer along side us, many times silently, not waiting to add to the burden.

Sometimes I need to vent or rant without unsolicited advice.  I  need to be able to share my feeling of frustrations, and Sean is not able to be my support as much as he used to be.

Yes, it could be so much worse!!  I am thankful for my husband every single day, even if I may not show it.  That being said, telling me it could be worse is little comfort.  Likewise, telling Sean he is lucky and it could have been worse does not make him feel better about his struggles.  We are doing our best to come to terms with life as it is now.

If you want to help, your offers need to be concrete.  Everyone says, “Oh, I wish there was something I could do,” but that leaves us hanging.  It’s hard to need help, and even harder to ask for it.  Please make offers concrete such as, “I would love to make dinner for you some night,” or “I want to take Sean fishing on ____.”  It feels more like an invitation.

There are days Sean wishes he wasn’t here. . . saying you’re glad he’s alive won’t take away his pain.

We are not in this for a paycheck or to live off the government.  He does not use the fact that he is a wounded warrior to get special treatment.  Sean has earned every benefit he receives after 24 years in the Army and three deployements.  He gave up his time and so you could have yours. 

He would trade everything to be able to serve again.

Just because we seem to have adapted, doesn’t  mean we are doing well.  Our relationship has suffered a huge blow, one I’m not sure we can restore to its former self.

We are stronger than we ever imagined.

Attitudes and awareness are changing.  Since Sean was injured in 2006 at a time when little was known about battlefield TBI, much has been improved.  There is more information readily avaialble than when Sean was first diagnosed with TBI and PTSD.  You can help keep this momentum going by raising awareness.

Our days frequently don’t go as planned and new fires pop up.  Guess we’ll keep the marshmallows handy.


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