Friday, August 16, 2013

GI Bill Transfer For Those in MEB/PEB Process:

1944 Photo Military Family Living On GI Bill Benefits Alone

Remember You Are Just An Extra in Everyone Else's Play. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

There are some things I simply don't talk about like politics and religion. It's not because I think my opinions are solely the right ones; it's just that it only causes problems and well, with times like these? Who knows who is right anymore? I spoke to our unit on another matter about two weeks ago and that person reminded me of the GI Bill transfer changes to spouse/dependents. I wasn't too worried as we were told those of us in MEB/PEB were "excluded" and from the beginning, this was one of my "hot topics" with our "don't get your undies in a wad, Mama" PEBLO that we originally had. However, I guess you could say I did because after being promised so many things that never came about, I learned to keep in check that hot list I had. For the past three years, we were told all the this transfer business would be done when the retirement or discharge process began. I checked into it anyway. That began a slurry of information that was completely different from, I kid you not, twenty-seven different people. That's not even counting the information received by our Federal Recovery Coordinator, Peblo and our Army Reserve Recovery Coordinator.

Now we try to keep the news at most, as a "general use only" because some stuff simply pisses and sets my husband off; especially when it comes to politics using the military as pawns in an everlasting game of the "sky is falling syndrome" that they keep playing. For many of my readers, you know that we have been stuck in the MEB/PEB for a very very long time. After perusing the online veteran and caregiver groups that are out there, I realize we aren't the only ones stuck in a hold, left hanging and most definitely....behind.

So after scouring the internet, asking tons of questions, harassing people by phone, and not giving up; I found that the rule was stated as this.

Eligibility Any member of the Armed Forces (active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted), who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and: Has at least 6 years of service in the Armed Forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval and agrees to serve 4 additional years in the Armed Forces from the date of election.
Has at least 10 years of service in the Armed Forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval, is precluded by either standard policy (Service or DoD) or statute from committing to 4 additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute.
Is or becomes retirement eligible and agrees to serve an additional 4 years of service on or after August 1, 2012. A service member is considered to be retirement eligible if he or she has completed 20 years of active Federal service or 20 qualifying years as computed pursuant to section 12732 of title 10 U.S.C.
Such transfer must be requested and approved while the member is in the Armed Forces.
So much confusion in all that stereo type eligibility instructions right? THEN suddenly, the date changed to September 1st, then to August 1st 2013. Confusion is what I think they like to spin. My question echoed much of what I saw others questioning. What happens to those of us who are stuck in this loop, haven't retired yet, can't sign for another four years, haven't heard back or even possibly started the MEB lengthy process, and for those of us who have wounded members in our military that are sitting ducks waiting with the same "don't worry 'bout it" response...what happens now? So I kept calling and finally called the GI Bill office at the US Army Human Resources Command in Fort Knox. After way more elevator music that should be allowed, I finally got a hold of a human that explained to me what all the above actually meant. "Pretty much, if you can serve and you want to keep your GI Bill benefits, you have to sign on for another four years of service. If you don't sign up before September 1st, then you lose your GI Bill". Hmmm. I asked then politely what happens in the situations where many of us are stuck awaiting MEB or going through it. "If you didn't transfer by August 1st, you all lost it".


The first thing I did was to keep from blowing a gasket and think of President Roosevelt probably rolling over in his grave over her very nonchalant, could give a rat's ass about anyone, attitude that she delivered. The callous remark of "Most of the wounded probably won't use that benefit so its saves money which is what is what the government wants". Allllll righty then (really hating that person even more). Well, I don't know about you guys and gals out there but, how does one know exactly what we will and will not use? We might need that benefit for our children, or what if a spouse wants to go? What if our Wounded Warriors, get through the healing process, and decide to tackle getting their degree? I decided to keep challenging as this just doesn't seem right and after fifteen minutes of arguing back and forth, she told me how to catch the last back door on those who are sitting and waiting so we won't lose our GI Bill.

I can't say too much on the subject of Active Duty except that you need to have it transferred and sign for another four years. According to the Army, you need to have that done asap and get it transferred. According to Fort Knox, you need to extend by September 1st but, I honestly didn't get that much info on Active personnel because we are no longer well, active. Your best bet to ask any questions is go to the direct source because for me? Even as much as I researched, there are just too many people with too many answers. Unless you know for sure the correct answer, you won't be able to tell which one is correct.  A Retention NCO officer *should* know the answers.

For those many of us stuck here in the "wait" here is how you do it. For those who were alerted by letter, email or anything that shows you are heading to the MEB, you need to find that notification. For new starters of the MEB, you should have gotten a packet that says you are being sent through the MEB and found to be medically unfit. Now, you will go HERE  to begin the transfer process. You will need to know your points that you earned through your service time and you can obtain that by going HERE or you can go through the portal that is listed in the transfer explanation by using your CAC, your DOD self service number or DFAS MyPay number at this SITE. You can also go through your unit and get that information as well. Now once submitted, you will more than likely be rejected because it's AFTER August 1st. This is when you will use the information you have on MEB/PEB or anything that shows you were in this process BEFORE August 1st 2013. You will submit these documentation papers to this address along with a letter stating that you were rejected for the transfer of your GI Bill but you are awaiting the MEB/PEB and were before the date and changes were made to the GI Bill:

Fax:  502-613-4533
Mail: US Army Human Resources Command
    Attn: AHRC-PDE-I (RM# 2-1-025)
    1600 Spearhead Division Avenue DEPT# 410
    Fort Knox, KY 40122-5401

If you have a PEBLO assigned, or an AW2, and you don't have anything to show; ask them to type something up stating when the injury occurred, when you were notified of the MEB proceedings etc. Hopefully if you have a good one, they will do that for you. If you have a bad one, well stay on them! For us, I was told anything like a welcome email or the cover letter showing "hey Buddy, we are putting you out". If what you send in is not sufficient, they will let you know and you can keep sending items in. Once you do that, you will then move on to the process of obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility. While there are no exclusions, there are still a few that can make that door open back up so you don't lose your GI Bill. Now this process is for the US Army but as we know, each branch has different addresses/processes etc.  I would suggest calling the GI Bill hotline 1-888-GIBILL1 and ask. Be aware though the elevator music is annoying as hell and there is a long wait. Here is what the Army sent me that explains about the transfer process and I am going to place this in a tab above as many of us (like me) just can't seem to get to the right place!

I am hoping you all will pass this along to as many Wounded Warriors that are stuck like we are. For many, they have already lost their education benefits and most of that was due to underhanded, unexplained, sneakiness to save a lousy dollar on the backs of all of our Service members and Veterans. What gets me, is they said "we are trying to get the word out to our servicemen and women so that they know to submit paperwork or that they would lose their education benefits after August 1." Hmmmm....Apparently not, because trust me, this was something my advocates, PEBLO and myself dug in to look for and no one else knew about. The sad part is, once rejected, many will think there is no other option and that's the part that they don't tell you. So if you were in the process and can show it, submit your documentation as you still have a chance but PLEASE get on it asap! If you have additional information, found any other information that we can blast it out there to help our military Veterans and their families, please feel free to leave a comment or email. Hope this helps someone.

 A HUGE shout out with much appreciation to our "Apple Martini" Hero,

The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Friday, July 26, 2013

Objects May Appear Closer Than They Seem

Excuse me while I dust off the keyboard here!
(shaking my head)
 Has it really been over a month?
Apparently it has.

Things have been somewhat a fast and furious pace with lots of ups and downs along the way but, we are sort of used to that by now. I have been steadfast on my whole new motto of "Move Forward and Let it Go" but, it has had it's challenges of course. Mostly, its been challenging to keep at it and not lose my patience at the same time. However, with this Summer test theory of mine, I have seen some small changes; enough to make it worth the while. I make a step forward, I see him show interest. I make a bigger step, he inches forward just a tad. There are days where the leaps I make are quite huge and self rewarding but, he takes three steps back. So I have drawn the lines; keeping my stance and pace to the forward position. I am pretty damned stubborn, got a house full of stubborn boys/men and armed with plenty of time.
I found that by finding my own way, the rest is following and God knows its been far too long that everyone has been attached to my hip. I did realize in my break, that there is never really a thing as starting over. I think after five years as a Wounded Warrior Wife and caregiver, that is one major thing I learned. There are days where the past can be burned up mentally with the ashes scattered to the wind. With that, comes peace, calmness and somewhat a remedy to broken hearts, dreams and losses. Other days, its like looking in the side mirror of the car and seeing crap coming at you, larger than life and, you think "No shit!" while looking at the "Objects may appear closer than they seem" written at the bottom.
Now even with the Mistress drawing her battling grounds, mapping out her next moves, there were and always will be some days where I envision that joining the circus may become a possibility or simply running away. Starting over really shouldn't be in our word vocabulary with our PTSD and TBI Veterans. I think the only thing you can do is just keep going. I have learned that while there is no real "do-over" there is forgiveness but, that can often be a double edged sword when it comes to wielding it in a battle against the irrational behavior of my Veteran. There comes a point where you want to word vomit yourself especially when he has no battles to be fought, so chooses to fight you. Even when you have the retreat flag flown, mortar fire comes from all sides and there is no refuge. I have learned though that fighting back is pointless because that just gives him more ammunition and so I have learned to just walk away. Blow ups have been few these days but, when they do boy are they doozies. Then the rest of the evening you battle the tears and keep them from flowing, plaster a smile on the face for the kids so at least they aren't totally screwed up when they get older and just remind yourself that tomorrow is another day with a new beginning. It's extremely hard sticking to that move forward motto on days like this because you want to turn around and look. You want to look for anything and everything to defend yourself but, if you keep re-reading the same chapters of a book over and over again, you never get to the end. There are days where forgiveness is one of the most challenging things to learn how to pick yourself up off the floor and dust off your ass for the next day to come. Fighting off the shadows of resentment and heartache, one of the biggest battles to fight. After all, he isn't the only one fighting demons on his own.
Since I used my hair as hostage negotiations from isolating myself, I found that this method was really working for me. My stylist says its becoming quite the rage in my area and that's what they call it now, "hostage hair" after I gave my explanation. My kids call it super hero hair and you know, maybe they are right. I do feel like I have a boost of confidence and strength. (Now if I can just get the Wonder Woman Tiara I'd be set) After the mailman dropped off a package for me from Amazon, he asked my son whether I ever left the house. I was rather embarrassed and while I was leaving some, perhaps not enough if getting questioned by the postal service! I then decided since the purple highlights in my hair was once a month touch up, why not venture out and paint my toenails too. So I did. I have done it twice now, and I have to admit that it makes me feel better. I get the most outrageous color (currently sporting hot neon pink with black and silver polka dots) and it reminds me that not ALL of me is a complete loss. I still got some spunk in my cranky old ass! Too, I feel better when I get out and have a reason to look forward to going out that is just for me and me only. Going twice a month to the store to spend money on groceries with three kids in tow, isn't really much of a good time.
 I will admit that I have taken some time off on the blog and Facebook, gosh, I am really behind. However, I have done some super and MAJOR changes in my home. I really never was bothered by the Caregiver Home Visits other than the foul mood for the day it leaves my husband, but this time? I am rather excited to see what she says in the changes. I feel a sense of accomplishment, I felt purpose and a desire to see what more I could learn and do on my own. Thank God for You Tube how to videos! I realized too, that although I love my fellow caregivers and wounded Veterans; it was seriously bringing on a huge flood of compassion fatigue. I was talking with someone the other day and he said "you have to learn to not get personal". Well, that's not me. I cry when others cry. I am a visual person so when someone shares their story, I literally see it in my mind. Unfortunately, many stories these days are so similar to mine that its like one of those cameras in your field of vision, constantly flipping my own memories of bad times that I try not to think about. I knew nothing else but to run away and, just take a break and figure things out. My husband used to tell me he saw pictures in his mind that were so clear they seemed real. Sometimes even a smell reminded him of something else in Iraq and there he was, mentally there. I now can fully appreciate his description and accuracy in it because it was becoming the same. In some of the caregiver groups online, and stories, it was becoming so hard for me to deal with that I couldn't shake much of my past burdens without them creeping right back up. Everything that I had burned in my mind, seemed to replace itself. That anger and resentment came calling and with a vengeance. So I just stopped and took my time to read some long overdue books, watched some old and new movies, played some cards, rearranged and cleaned, redecorated and re-purposed; just a whole lot of things that you think "Man, I have got to do this" but you never do.
I feel like a new person with a new home and that self accomplishment feels great. I know it takes time to get to this point especially for you newer spouses just going through this and I don't know if there really is such a thing as "hope" in the sense that many look at that term. I do know though that the saying of "Misery loves company" can be detrimental to the caregiver. It can also be detrimental to your Veteran as well. What do I mean about all this? Well, let's say you are on Facebook and some other caregiver makes a smart assed remark or perhaps another Veteran. Before you know it, you are angry and upset. Your mood directly affects your Veterans mood. Then when all is said and done, you are both pissed off and not really knowing why or how it all started! I have had to learn to overlook, not get involved in drama, and find my own peace in my own way and on my own terms. I didn't need therapy to find that or attend a class, I think you just get to that point where you are done.  
This brings me to another point. I was talking to a new and dear friend of mine. I realized that my husband wants to stay in his dark pit and he is ok with everyone being in that dark pit with him. Been that way since he came off that plane in 2007. I wasn't ok with it then and am not now. Matter a fact, I think that was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I was sick of drowning with him. No matter what I did to save him, he just kept pulling us all down with him. Hence, the move forward meltdown. In that though, I saw that if I was smiling, I would see just a bit of a smile on him. If I was working on something, he would pitch in or offer an idea. Little things. She made some valid points to me that really struck a chord. Since I decided to stop wallowing in the safety net of darkness,climbed out and moved on; it was really an option for him to stay behind on his own or peek out and see what it was that I was doing. I will take the peeking over the hiding any time. I see that as one tiny improvement and while not a vast monumental improvement, I see that as hope.
I think each of us have to stop for our own sanity and look around at what is toxic in our lives and how that can impact. Try little changes, cut some things out and test that theory. I wonder sometimes while reading some caregiver's stories whether they know that sometimes they can be just as impending to their wounded Veteran just like any other thing. Maybe that will piss some off but, it's the truth and while it won't improve all of it; it's enough baggage off of you to allow you to breathe. School will be starting in eleven days so gearing up for that. I am working on a few more projects I hope to complete by that time and then it will be back to my regular schedule. This August I plan to be more organized and not so last minute, blog regularly by setting a certain day devoted to nothing but pc work and hopefully, the PEB will finally come to a close by this year. I am ready now to close this chapter of our lives minus my husband's CAB and rightful retirement which seems to be not an issue so far on retirement. As always though, have to see it to believe it! Right now though? Time for an early bedtime and back to work on the house tomorrow. It's been a long day and bad night for the man. Thinking must be the rain and storms, so calling it quits for today.

Wishing I could remove the side mirrors off my car,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Move Forward and Let It Go

For the most of this year, it's been quite apparent I haven't been on Facebook or my blog regularly. For that, I am not going to apologize because it was important for me to take some time out. I posted about some accomplishments that I have made on my personal page and a dear friend made a comment that often she'd look to others to blame about not being there to help, so we are on our own and then things just don't get done. Her comment really made me think because we are both caregivers and busy but, she hit it right on the head. Have we become stuck in our own game of faulting others and then blaming others when we don't get things done? I think so. Sometimes, there were times where I didn't do shit because I spent most of my time angry because of others, then I would fuss about it on Facebook and, around the circle we went. Before I knew it, time ran wild. I spent the last five years putting things off, making excuses, finding faults in everyone else and realized I was running out of people to blame. It's a sudden realization that I think sort of smacks you  upside the head and you look back and realize how immature, that you had no confidence or faith in yourself, and didn't even try. There is no such thing as failure unless you stop trying right? I realized there is no end if there is no beginning.

So I have stepped a bit back from the blogging, Facebooking and other social media outlets for one single purpose and that was ME. While things have been relatively quiet with my husband and I; we have still had some minor bumps we can get past or sometimes we get past and we just stop looking to the past. Not really sticking our heads in the sand but, realizing that we can't stay pissed off at each other all the time. There are going to be lots of bad days, days where the hours will drag by until bedtime but, there are days where they are good. Also, I realized some days, it would break my heart all day long reading other caregivers and thinking "that was my life", "yep, been there and done that" and on it went.

Taking respite care in Feb really was the turning point for me. I got fed up with a lot of things. As many of you know, I took my plain old jane hair and turned it into a dark beautiful brown with magenta and purple highlights that have become the latest rave here in my area and most definintely given me some spunk in my steps I think. Holding my hair hostage that is making me go once a month to get touched up, was a way for me to not make excuses about going out. I had no choice. Call it silly but it works. I highly recommend doing something ludicrous that will hold you hostage until further negotiations can be made outside of the house.  Drastic yes, and maybe my method is not for you but let me tell you, it had to be done. I found I was making more and more excuses not to leave the house. Most of all, I learned that I earn money too from my caregiver stipend, so I still have the purple and magenta highlights that I have deemed my super hero hair.

I was happy because I decided on many things like stop stressing, stop blaming, stop looking for people to take it out on, and start making some things a reality. So I made myself a list. One that was a little more perplexed and had a lot of question marks next to it and then? I made simple check lists for every day that I decided to plan out my day. I was realistic with it and you should be too. There are some things I just could never do, like painting 17 foot walls in our home. I realized too, my family was somewhat taking over and even with them, mama had to bring the hammer down on some things  I didn't like the fact that when I stopped, everyone stopped or just left it there for me to clean up later. We had several home repairs, and since moving here...I had never been happy with our home. It was not a warm, inviting spot I wanted like our living room, especially since it was an awkward space. I wasn't happy with the same flat grayish paint in the home, the dings and dents in the walls from the kids and well, I could go on. So I decided to make some changes and dug my heels in, gathered up what confidence I had, and I just did it.

Since the last couple of years, I have had two large mason jars in which we dropped broken dollar change. Didn't matter how much we needed it, those jars never got hit. Of course, you get somewhere where you needed a quarter but, it was sort of like a savings account. I saved, cut back and tried to reduce much of our income by just a tad and was able to get some things done.I was quite surprised to see by cutting a few things back, saving change in a jar, changing diet and so on really put some expendable income back into the home account. With careful planning, existing items we had picked up, already owned or bought and never used; I read up on refinishing, spray painting and distressing, and revamped items. I learned how to caulk, wallpaper, spray paint (becoming quickly addicted and it's cheap too!) and paint, clean antique hardware, and other household items by watching you tube videos as well as home depot and Lowe's videos. I am more of a hands on watch kind of gal, so it seemed better than reading a book. Just fixing something, even something small? Made me feel like I just walked on the moon. Seeing a finished project that I had in my head come into reality? Priceless!

Now, here comes the honesty........

Was it easy?


Was it easy to navigate the cleaning, the scouring, the tossing of the old and bringing in the new; all while working with my husband who wants to stay two steps behind and three boys who are settled into the "well mom will get it?"

 Hell no.

BUT, I dug my heels in. I chartered my course, I mapped out one thing at a time and no matter how much stress was going on, I put forth the stress and worked it off by doing projects. Through it all, even when I doubted myself, I found out that I could do a LOT more on my own without anyone's help. I realized then? I was just using the blame game on family members and outsiders as an excuse. As mentioned in the last blog, my new motto this year is "Move forward and Let it Go". That meant for me to stand up to my family, my husband, and everyone else and stick with it. When things got bad, I repeated it in my head. As I tossed out the old, I let go of some old lingering resentment. When I revamped something old we had and made it beautiful? It meant change in my life. My master bedroom is romantic, warm and sexy which appealed to my husband. I noticed the more I stuck to my guns, the more I saw my husband inch just a little closer. Some days, things being out of whack because of painters being here upset him. We thrive on precision, things in their rightful and normal place, and patterns. While this was the hardest part of it all working with him on bringing in changes, and perhaps caused some moods...I am extremely thrilled of my accomplishments, and of his.

So I am putting it on the record as of today...I am proud of him. I have backed off a little, giving him more chances to make his own decisions, cutting the old apron strings which is needed. I am and will always be there to jump in at a moment's notice but, I want him to feel that same sense of accomplishment. When he said "I really really love the living room", I sighed a breath of relief. He loves it! More importantly, he pitched in. Perhaps my thinking of lead, follow or get the hell out of the way finally may be reaching him. Maybe by my letting go of things are letting him see that I am trying more and that I haven't given up on him or my family. We have decided on some small long overdue projects to do together, realistic ones and time frames that can be adjusted. For the first time, in five years...he admitted there were things he just can no longer do and that's ok. Hell, there are things I can't do! So we have knocked out the bathroom minus the decorating, knocked out the master bedroom, revamped the little ones room, and redid and arranged our living room.

Out of all this?

It's for once, starting to feel like a home.

I think I am going to have my new motto made into a sticker that you put on walls and place it on the wall. I also stopped and spent ten dollars and bought this one to put into the house where everyone in my family can see it every single time they walk in. Here is my new family rules......

Keep calm and carry on, Say I love you, Trust in yourself and keep your promise. Those are my favorite.

As of this Summer it's been hectic. I have stepped away from some responsibilities of my volunteer work but, I needed to do this. To my favorite organizations and closest friends? I am sorry I haven't been there to do much but, I needed this time for me. Thank you for understanding and allowing me this time. The exhaustion, the soreness, and the push of adrenaline to get it done has been tough to deal with but, rewarding. Sure, I am going to have bad days and so will my husband. My kids are going to have bad ones as well. But you know what? That's ok.

So am now going to watch an oldie but goodie movie with my family, kick my feet up and enjoy the time while we have it. I think by August or September, the PEB will be alerting us of retirement and all of the rush will  begin again. However, I have in this time, learned to choose and pick my battles in which is something I think we ALL need to learn. It's hard to get in a rut, living a certain way and then changing. If you stick to it though...there are rewards in the end. This Father's Day was really nice and for the first time in a long time, I saw my husband smiling and playing with the kids outside. While I was manning the grill, I smiled and thought "Yes! It's working! Keep moving forward!". I am going to keep this up and see how much more I can learn and how much more comes from it. I am sure we will have some set backs but, we have already been to hell and we can't go any further down than that. Bad days I will blog but, I thought this positive stuff was needed as well because I needed to show myself that I still believe in myself, in my family and in my husband. It might be a long walk to the top of the hill but, I am willing to take the challenge. 

Carry On and Keep Calm,

If you haven't heard this song....Listen. It's my favorite and one I sing all the time. It is also my theme song for my husband and I currently. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Outsiders, Insiders and The Harsh Reality Of It All

A few days ago, I received a few emails and one comment I published in regards to my last post. The comment stated "And, PTSD or not, no one should ever be treated like a non-entity or made to feel worthless! I think you definitely need to start thinking about doing what's best for YOU now. I'm glad you've had these times in Las Vegas and NYC in recent months-- but it feels as if your happiest moments (your only truly happy moments!) are when you are WITHOUT your husband. While I admire your conviction, sticking with him for so long, I also hope you can be happy yourself. And it may not be possible, if you are still playing caretaker to someone who, deep down, doesn't even appreciate your worth. No matter what you decide, though, I wish you the best". It was a good comment and I appreciate this person's open and honest opinion. "Playing Caretaker" was sort of unfair when what I am is a caregiver providing a service that an otherwise disabled Veteran would be unable to do. Another email stated "I don't know why you put up with all his shit then whine about it in a blog for others to see. PTSD is just an excuse, trust me I know from my first ex who was a Gulf War Vet. You aren't being supportive to other families or wives when you don't show positivity. My husband (now) has cancer but, that's a medical condition and I wouldn't leave him because that's different. I write but I show God's plan and ways to reach others in a positive manner. PTSD is just a bullshit way of saying I served but, I am now lazy".


So in between the painters, the kids and my husband's up and down moods; I focused on these two particular comments to keep myself mentally busy and really think about what they said.  When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place where I could say what I wanted, say what or how I felt at the time of my writing, and share our family's story in the nitty gritty. Whether positive influence or not, sometimes that's just not the way life is in some of our cases. I won't make blanket statements because there are many who are showing improvements. Sure, I could say a lot of things positive and never really talk about the bad stuff. However, I feel this is where some are going wrong and in the process, losing soooo many others out there who are afraid to speak up, not understanding what's going on or maybe even just feeling alone. There are times where I focus on things that I am going through that day or an issue I am trying to work out in my head. Doesn't mean there aren't any positives that happen at all, they are just slim. That's the point of this blog. There are many blogs where I have pointed out encouraging things, sweet little things he has done, hope, gains and losses. I bared it all. It is the most difficult life to live especially when the outsiders don't "get it" and you no longer fit in. The "insiders" (meaning family and relatives/friends) are struggling to understand and cope. Sure I could spin some positivity on a whole lot of things but, would that really be the God's honest truth?

I don't get the chance to write everything out. I wish I could. After thinking about the first comment, perhaps I need to include more positive things that my husband does. Not out of defense because of the comment but, because the comment made me think that perhaps I was being unfair by just concentrating on my own feelings and point of view. The negative things I write it all out, and then cut it loose like a balloon. This is my therapy and a way for me to express what so many others are thinking or going through. It is a way to make me happy and have the ability to read and find answers within my own questions. Sometimes I think by not having that bouncing board in my husband may lead me to think I have no self worth. Or maybe his lack of attention and his distance, makes me feel less of a person. I am working on that. I do agree though that maybe I am wrong by not stating "Hey, he made it to the VA and back without getting into a pissing match with someone". Sometimes when I can't talk things out in my head or with anyone, I focus that on my writing. I try to be open but, I haven't really been fair to my husband and need to say some more of the little things. So for instance, this Mother's Day was my first holiday that he really tried. It was the best one EVER and the nicest since he has been home. He made a big to do on the invite to my favorite restaurant. Wouldn't let me order because he knew what I wanted, ordered for me and we talked for a long time. Since we are working together on our home and starting over fresh, all while agreeing that each thing we do; we cut some emotional baggage loose in the process. Our new motto with my entire family currently is "LET IT GO". We spent four hours in Home Depot getting ideas, choosing tile and just shooting the crap. I forgot to blog and with no internet until this morning, it's kind of hard to get on here all the time.

Yes, I have, like most military born children...the "wander lust" when it comes to travel. New smells, things, sights, the whole nine yards. Am I happy for that break? Hell yes! Do I feel happier when I am alone? Yes and no. Yes, I need the break and a change from the same old thing day after day. Does it mean that I don't wish my husband with me there? No. I called my husband every step of the way and sent pictures by phone. He said he wanted me to have this break and be happy but, I missed him every single step I took. I don't know sometimes honestly (to the person who left the first comment on the blog) whether it's just coming home to him, or if it's coming home to stress, worries, Army paperwork, and the same routine over and over. Conviction in staying with him is my decision because I do see some light at the end of the tunnel on some days, we have good times albeit rare but, there are things I couldn't walk away from with him. I didn't think that comment was fair but then perhaps, maybe I am not being fair in my writing so I am glad this was said. There is a difference between conviction and wanting to move forward and change the same old routine up just a bit.

On the other, I am really very very sorry to hear your husband has cancer. I will keep your family in my prayers along with many others. I am not going to get into a pissing contest over who has it worse than others, because to me that's like comparing taxi cabs to airplanes. It just can't be done. PTSD I do believe you need to educate yourself on and maybe understand some more. Then you have to add in the Traumatic Brain Injury before you start throwing the first stones. I have been around some patients with medical conditions that ended up killing them. My mother's untimely death was due to cancer. Towards the last six months? She called me every name in the book, cussed like a sailor, and was so mean that I swear that wasn't my mom. She was angry. Not ready to let go. Didn't want to accept this was it. I didn't get to hear "I love you, or I know you are going to be ok and it's my time to go". Nope. In some ways, I see my mother in my husband some days. I didn't leave her then, so how is this any different? My husband is not willing to accept, let go and understand that this is our life. Brain and Spinal Cord Injury specialists explain that he is not able to accept it because his brain is in just one set mode. That portion I must come to terms with. I don't understand why outsiders think that TBI and PTSD is not an illness/injury and the first thing they say is "leave him/her".  So you are saying sticking with it  should only be reserved for those in other circumstances? So I am not positive enough, not giving the people who live our lives enough positivity, I get it. But, if I left my husband with cancer, everyone would be horrified. If he had a heart attack...God forbid. With this....this is one of the most common statements we ALL hear when living with PTSD and TBI.

I feel damned if I do and damned if I don't here on this subject which is why I am writing this one out. If I share my experiences, positive or not, people think I am just trying to become a martyr and putting myself in a precarious situation. "I need to leave and get out before it sucks me in". I got sucked in a long time ago but, there are a lot of things I don't write about like setting boundaries with my husband. He doesn't acknowledge me but, he doesn't acknowledge anyone else either. His sensitivity or lack of, is not just towards's pretty much towards everyone. It's not for lack of effort, it's just the way his brain now works and because no one did anything about it? The specialist said that he will continue to be this way and get worse. There is no implants, no chemo, no radiation, no magic pills to take it away. Why do any of us stay with this?

Because we still hold on to hope that the war will end at home and they will come home.
Because like you, you have hope they will get better. 

Silly notion.


Still... hope is what keeps us alive and we see those sparks like suddenly out of nowhere wrapping his arms around you. Or on a good day, filling my head with stories and funny comments. There are days where I don't want to move because I am afraid it will take away that single moment, that I will loose that one bright flicker I have at that very moment; a single glimpse standing still in time. It's not conviction, it's love. It's hope. It's fighting for what we believe in and I have three boys who look to me for so much more than just being mom. That few minutes? Makes it worth it. Reality setting in these last couple of days, I think if he wanted to be gone. He would be gone. If he didn't somewhere love me, he would have left a long time ago. Everyone has issues when you live with someone, especially in marriages. I don't think anyone has a "perfect" picture postcard even without any problems hitting their relationship.

Maybe it won't work out. Maybe it's not meant to be. Maybe I am setting myself up to failure but, it doesn't mean I still can't keep trying though and hanging on to hope. Doesn't mean I still can't go for days to see that one smile or hear his laughter. I just need to write more about it and will do so. I won't give up on him but, I also haven't forgotten myself either. This year major changes have been made and I have dug my heels in. This has led to other issues but, it's for my happiness and it's my time. It is also one of the most difficult things to learn how to do in this life now and one I am trying to teach myself. I am moving forward with my children with or without him BUT, I see some sparks coming to the surface and I hope that by leading....he will find his way to follow. If he doesn't? Doesn't mean I can't. I appreciate the comments because it gave me a few good reasons to stop and think about a few things.

There are still parts of us that I don't let all out in the public to see,