Sunday, November 11, 2007

Honoring those who serve

Today is Veteran's Day and it's hard for me to watch the news and not get emotional. I see all the faces of the men and women who gave their lives for the freedoms of others, and I can't help thinking how lucky my family is.

I come from a military family and married a Soldier. My dad served as a sergeant in WWII, and the Korean war. Dave has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and numerous other local deployments. I am grateful for the praise and thanks our Veterans get, but I want to recognize some others who serve. The families of our service men and women.

Being home is certainly the better place to be, however, it comes with it's own set of stressors. My experience was such that, I worried about Dave every minute of every day, but it was not something that I could easily share. I felt I needed to be strong for him, for Mason who was just an infant, and for everyone else who could not understand how I could do what I was doing. I didn't have a choice! Now don't misunderstand, Dave certainly chose to enlist in the Army, so from that point of view, yes, we did have a choice. At the point that the phone call comes to report for deployment, the only decisions you make are about finances, wills, power of attorneys, and fear.

I learned what true longing meant. It is one thing to miss someone, and it is a completely different thing to feel deep, painful longing.

Finally, I feel that families of deployed soldiers experience post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I have done some research and found that there is nothing regarding this for family members. I believe with all my heart that there comes a time after your Soldier returns, that all the suppressed fear and angst, comes to the surface and you need to deal with it. It was more than eighteen months after Dave's return that I started experiencing signs of PTSD. For me, when I could sleep, I was having horrible dreams about Dave being tortured as a POW. Other nights I didn't sleep a wink and I just cried. I didn't realize it initially, but the connection was always with the recent death of a local Soldier, or a group of Soldiers arriving home at the airport. I still feel some anxiety about all of this, but I now choose to concentrate on how lucky I am, how lucky we are, and that is the one thing I always have control over.

Thank you Veterans, and thank you to your families. They keep you connected to home, maintain your home life, take care of your family and serve this country by supporting all of you!

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