"The will is a beast of burden. If God mounts it, it wishes and goes as God wills; if Satan mounts it, it wishes and goes as Satan wills; Nor can it choose its rider... the riders contend for its possession.” ~Martin Luther King
“The burden of the self is lightened with I laugh at myself.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore
Veterans seem to want to view or label themselves with this word as well as spouses. Media uses the word flamboyantly, casually and easily. I figure and it's probably only because a) they don't "get" it and b) they apparently do not own a thesaurus. The VA uses the word "burden" to the caregivers under their general maintenance terminology, stress scores, and to judge whether they can or can not address their needs. Let's just be honest here....they don't know what our burdens are BUT at the same time, we don't understand their burdens as an overloaded system. We all know there are some shitty systems out there; we are up to what? Twenty-six VA systems now under fire? Yet, no one stops to think about the good people that do work there, do their job and care or how some are Veterans themselves. So back to the word Burden. As defined, it is "something that is carried: load, duty, responsibility, something oppressive or worrisome". "The bearing of a load-usually used in the phrase beast of burden". Also defined as "the capacity for carrying cargo-a ship of a hundred tons of burden". I can see why Veterans use this word to express their concerns about their health and home warfare taking its toll on their family members. However, that word needs to be taken out because its a negative, condemning, deflating word that brings even more of a load that you think you are placing on another person and it's also placing yet another label on yourself. Lord have mercy! We have enough labels as it is. So let's say no go, Ghostrider on the usage of the word Burden and let's leave it up to the Rolling Stones to sing about. (Lord help the young ones who ask "Who are the Rolling Stones?)
“Remember, the burden of sorrow is doubled when it is borne alone.”
I don't know about anyone else but, life burdens me at times. Sometimes the kids are too damn much; hovering around and asking "what are we having for dinner?" when it's breakfast time when they know that at the first cup of coffee, there is a line of "Do you have a death wish" written in imaginary ink clearly written on the very top of the mug and clearly across my face. Then there is "Mom, mom, mom, mom" and then "Dad, dad, dad". Bills when the eagle flies? Holy crap, burdening it is because you realize how much of a broke ass we are and it is worrisome. I have a female dog and, she got pregnant because the wreck happened. I had to put things aside like spaying because well, we didn't think our infantile Chihuahua would be such a stud muffin. Yeah, its an issue. Life happens. So does shit and Murphy's Law. Shit happens all the time to me and, that can be a burden. Dealing with the VA, Military, family, weird people in Walmart, the thought of having to You Tube tutorial on how to deal with newborn pups, and the scary, creepy guy at the produce market can often be a burden but, you know what? We deal with it. We are Military. There is a reason why the term FUBAR and BOHICA came to be. EMBRACE THE SUCK. What made you think being out, disabled, retired or anything else would be different? For the record? I have been frustrated enough to graciously admit that there are times where I want to stick a fork in the back of my husband's head and scramble his brains but God help me, I love him. There are times where my husband in anger has said "I wish you would just go to sleep and never wake up". Well, we have to watch what words we use in war because some can never be taken back and can wound deeply. However, in ANY relationship you can love someone and not like them. There are days where I get on my own nerves and piss myself off. Taking care of my Veteran would be the same as taking care of my children or elderly parent, or like my guys that I often take to the doctors just so they aren't alone. I have never used that word burden referring to my husband and, never will to describe ANY Veteran. It is a blasphemous word in our home, in our car and anywhere else that you can use it.
After being around Veterans and listening, watching and paying attention; want to know what I think why they want to lean towards the term of Burden? Because once you take away hope from a person? There is nothing left. Imagine having to lose all they did, coming home with beasts upon their back and demons chasing them through the night. Feeling lost, struggling living with a world that time didn't stop for them while gone? What is facing them is one door after another closing in front of them, hardships, financial struggles, guilt and so much more. Once you take that hope away, they are simply left for the birds of prey to pick apart. Does it mean it's the end though? Absolutely not! I am a huge quote and history buff (can you tell?) but, one of my favorite military members is General Douglas MacArthur. He once stated brilliantly "We are not retreating-we are advancing in another direction." I try to use the mind of a warrior and their way of thinking to navigate this life we lead and in all? I have learned a lot; a lot more than I ever got from anyone's book, words of wisdom or training. So how did our family navigate this life? We didn't retreat, we didn't throw the white flag of surrender; we simply went another route. We did it together. If your spouse, whether it be male or female, ever refers to you as a burden? Say something. "Hey, that word bothers me". If you say nothing, then they go on and keep doing it. If you feel you are a burden....it's a good day for an exorcism.
Once you realize as a family, or as a single individual that you can't focus on the "can'ts" but the "cans"? You are going to be able to lift any burden or weight that you have. I think it's a cop out excuse because in war? Hell yeah, that was burden. Every day, walking in moon dust, and wondering whether this was your day to die? Burdening. Trying to get through the day of warfare, death and troubles all while trying to block out thoughts of home, family and safety? Most definitely a burden. Here you are though....home and, it's time to unload some of that weight. You aren't dealing with this by yourself and by calling out your best energies with a little help? That's the only way you will ever be able to step away from that word. If you feel you are a burden as some Veterans wrote in, in regards to how they feel they are on their families....what CAN you do to help out? Let's take a moment to chew on that shall we? Let's look at what you can do. Can you roll and match the ungodly amount of socks? Pick up your glass or newspaper and put it away? Unload the dishwasher? Listen to your spouse if she is venting? How about taking the trash out or reading the kids a good night story while your spouse takes a bath? How about stepping in and saying "hey, let's talk a while or play some cards". Little things can make huge differences. The only way to battle the feeling of burdening is to see the reason, compromising and working as a team. I know you Veterans see that reason too. If you didn't, you wouldn't think you were a burden. For the spouses? You need to learn how to use the right words. Be smart, educate yourself, research, trial and error, realize that when a man's ego is deflated and all is taken away? The problems become so much larger than they really are. As for the VA, well I know many read this blog. Let's hope they take the hint.
So how did we get around these stigmas, labels, terms, "media sensational duct tape words" to stick and trap America's readers for ratings? I embraced the hell out of them. Veterans use the words "expendable", "trash", "cast away", "used up", "broke dicks", "no good for Uncle Sam", and so many more. I hear so much of this not just online through social media or emails etc but, in person too. It's sad to hear those words of someone who just needs the way to change their thinking and coming from someone who had the courage and the guts to sign that dotted line. Not everyone chose to take that job. The Media recently referred to our children of families like ours as "Collateral Damage". Yeah, at first my head began to spin just slightly. However, I started thinking about that. Collateral Damage....it's the damn sad truth. More labels, more titles, more stigmas. We have wasted so much precious time fighting them. Why not use reverse psychology? "Hey, don't blame me for forgetting; I have brain damage!" Bet many of us have used that joke or heard it a time or two. Better yet "Hey haven't you heard? I'm crazy. Got VA papers stating so". Am I feeling the nodding going around the room?
We used our sense of humor which ALL of us have still in us, we just forgot how to laugh. If you have been through the sewage system of life and all that floats, pass us by; the should haves, the could haves, and the crap that we waded through......you have a sense of humor. So we created that family motto I previously blogged about and, we use it daily. I put a sign in my bathroom that states "Changing the Toilet Paper Roll does NOT cause brain damage", we created teamwork by splitting chores among the kids and my husband and I. It may be small tasks for my husband but the word I haven't heard from him in a long time? Is the dreaded word, burden. I use the heck out of a fridge magnetic/dry erase board for my husband because he needs to do things for himself. If we do it all for them? You are impending them just as much as the rest of the world views us as useless. Make yourself a plan of warfare, sink that battleship, learn to focus on the goal and set your path based on those goals and those only with the knowledge you are NOT in this alone. Laughter is truly the best medicine, music is therapeutic, changing the way you think about things is just well, amazing and most important of all? Sticking with it to see it through together, as a team. Burden is merely a word that you can either use by mouth, or use by example. Which will you choose?
We Chose This and Proudly So,