Not the Same Man I Meet Five Years Ago

A common topic between Caregivers of wounded warriors is the men or women are not who they remember meeting and marrying.  This statement is very true in my own marriage.  My husband and I meet a little over five years ago and he is not the same man I met that October night.  He is also not the teenager his family watched join the Army and go to war.

I will never know who he was before the impacts of war changed him.  I will never know that easy-going, funny, loving, not afraid of anything teenager that joined the Army at eighteen.  I will never know the joyful, joking and prankster that I fell so deeply in love with five years ago.  Why you ask, because of what he witnessed and the missions he had to conduct while in Iraq.

The man who returned is forever scarred with horrible flashbacks, nightmares, depression, anxiety attacks, short term memory loss, etc. that torture him on a daily basis.  The man I fell so madly in love with, now has a hard time showing affection or even holding a five minute conversation.  Often times, he cannot even tell you what he had for dinner, much less if he took his medicine.  War is something that we will always battle and will always be a part of our daily lives.

Each day I wake up not knowing what the day holds.  Things that do not seem like such a big deal to civilians set my husband off and that shapes how our day will go.  By just having someone blow a car horn at him, his blood pressure and anxiety went through the roof.  He was ready to get out of the car and beat the driver up.  Something so simple, yet so damaging at the same time.

We struggle every day with our new “normal.”  Each day the word “normal” has a different meaning.  Communication does not come as easily and I have to push for family time.  We are extremely thankful for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and the relationships we have formed because of this amazing organization.  They not only saved my husband’s life, but also our marriage.

Even though I did not know my husband when he served OUR country, I still consider myself an Army wife and I am so grateful for this life.  The struggles are difficult and I have had to learn to fall in love with the man my husband is today.  We are stronger because of everything we have overcome and I know we will continue to grow each and every day.

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