Tuesday, February 26, 2013

That Time of the Year Once Again

February always is the hardest on me. I can withstand "Hell Months" because for our sixth year now,  I am used to the ups, the downs and most of the curve balls. Sometimes he throws me for a loop but I can recover pretty well. Valentine's Day I always thought was overrated and for the first time, my husband did something small for me which was monumental. On the 25th though, is our Wedding Anniversary. Every year since he has been home, he has ruined it to the point where I dread when the date rolls around. After my trip away, six days of just being me and coming home, I thought this year would be much different.

I thought perhaps he might have missed me just a little bit.

Hopeful, I longed to hear "I really missed you".

Instead, I got "I missed ya. There was no one here to bitch at me".

I always seem to be so colorfully described in my treatment towards him. Seems sort of unfair really when its really the opposite.  Sometimes I wonder if I am truly this ugly image that he sees in his head?

I have tried to explain that really doesn't say a whole lot and while joking, it seems that's the only way he can show any type of emotion is through joking. To me, its like saying "I love you but I hate you". "I like your hair cut but you look like something that got dragged out of the swamp". No matter what the nice thing is, it gets followed by something negative. It doesn't mean you told that person you loved them or am I just totally missing the boat on this?

It's been a fight since the 15th of this month and for ten days, it just seems everything was either my fault or not good enough. A small part of me just wants to say **** it, who cares about a stinking Anniversary anyway? The other part, the small and pathetic romantic in me, just wanted to see some sparks. After enduring these ten days, it seems that he would just find things to be mad at me about and I am not sure why. It is this way every single year. Always a week before, and usually a week after. I think in the week before I left, he said maybe four full sentences to me in an entire week. Then people wonder why I am starved for adult conversation.

I never ask for anything more than just his attention. It is what I crave more than anything in the world.

For some reason, that attention is focused on his smart phone, his particular TV shows, his buddies, the weather, or anything else that has nothing to do with me. The part that hurts the worst out of all of it, is the fact he thinks I am in the wrong for wanting to have that attention. Wrong, for wanting to celebrate another year married. This leaves me confused, not understanding the reason why I am being punished for something I haven't done. Sensible me, trying to remember that perhaps its military related that is the root of all this...there is nothing in February that we can pinpoint it to. It hurt to have messages from friends or my sister wishing me Happy Anniversary, and the one person I needed to hear it from, went to his class and never bothered to say a word.

I spent my wedding anniversary alone. I worked to keep from crying. I attacked my poor carpet in my home, steam torture style, with my Bissell cleaner. I dusted behind those nooks and crannies. I thought maybe I could turn the music up, sweat away any tears that might rise up and sit behind my eyes but it didn't happen that way. All I did was end up a crying mess and taking it out on the carpet. It is really clean though so at least that's one positive. I didn't even get a "hey, the carpet looks really nice!" which further ticked me off.

Seems too, when you are most down, not needing to cry, your favorite song comes on or one of those really sappy, mushy love songs about how much you need that person. I really would like to hunt down the DJ who was working yesterday as I was forced to turn off the Ipod, turn the radio on and dammit all, if he wasn't in on the game!

I give it all, am always here and I just can't seem to grasp why the concept of being there for your spouse is so hard. I sometimes envy other spouses who tell these wonderful stories about the latest, even if small, nice thing their wounded Veteran did for them. I know....we can't compare, one size doesn't fit all...I get it. Doesn't mean I don't want the same treatment though. I know most of us deal with no acknowledgement of Mother's Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries, or the likes. You would think by now, we would be used to it wouldn't you? Someone on my Facebook page mentioned that the point was that we made it another year and we were still married. Yes, that's true but, it doesn't mean having your husband walk away from you with no care in the world or doesn't even care how broken your heart is.

I didn't want flowers, jewelry, or anything more than just perhaps spend a little time with me. I think out of all the curve balls and the down sides of PTSD and TBI, this part I will never get used to.

On a more positive note, as I was talking with my good friend Warrior Chef today, I realized I bypassed my blog anniversary in January. Hard to believe it's been four years! Wow!  It's so funny because I look back from time to time and see how much I have grown, things I have gotten past or made it through, what I survived and what failures/mistakes I made. More importantly, how many people, friends, organizations and much much more that came from this one little tiny blog of me just telling what it's like to live this way. Would have never thought four years ago, that I would end up here but I am proud of this accomplishment.

Yesterday has passed, tomorrow will come again and all will eventually smooth out as it normally does. I keep reminding myself "thicker skin. Thicker skin." but it never really helps. That's just the softhearted person I am I suppose. If anyone knows where I might find that armored thicker skin, let me know will you?

So here's to another year married and toasting to myself for another year of writing. 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Year of the Snake: The Great Vegas Escape

We left early on Sunday morning all excited and ready to get there. Never getting to see this side of the United States, the drive was breath taking. My sister, also a walking jukebox, had two Ipods loaded and blaring. I think we sang all the way there and myself, I got caught up on some new tunes I hadn't head like Florence and the Machine, Paramore, and reconnected with some Totally 80's that we still remembered every single word to. The drive wasn't too bad as we got to see the mountains, the Black Canyon River, The Hoover Dam, and the Joshua Tree National Park which all were well, just God's gifts to this world I think. I actually got my kicks on Route 66 which tickled me to death. We ate Zots, the frothing, fizzy candy from our childhood along with some gummy worms. We passed funny small towns like "Nowhere" population 1 and El Mirage which we didn't see a whole lot, which made it even funnier. Their were parts of AZ and NV that I swear could have replicated Radiator Springs out of the movie Cars. When we finally reached Nevada, we had no choice but to pull out Elvis and start singing Viva Las Vegas! We laughed so much on the car ride, belting out some of the worst and best music of all time. I hadn't done that in a long time and bless my Brother in law, our driver, who had to listen to it all for six hours.

There was so much "eye candy" and as a person who pays attention to details, Vegas did indeed have every little nook and cranny filled with stuff to look at. We arrived at our hotel, the Hard Rock Casino (which by the way priceline has rooms for 39.00 a night and I had a suite overlooking the city). I loved it immediately! Who wouldn't mind walking into some place that the Valet takes your hand and calls you Ma'am, all while Aerosmith is playing as loud as it can! Then right above the entrance is this sign which just made it more appealing to us.

Come On In. Why yes, yes we will, Stevie Ray!

So it seems to me that Vegas has some sort of time continuum where time just stands still. We arrived about two and got our suite. Since the car ride was long, the tub was a two person and you always have to check out your rooms...we took some down time to rest and clean up. I have to admit, the first thing I figured out what that my room had windows that opened up, a Bose system that had surround sound even in the bathroom (they totally had me at Bose and Surround Sound) and a bed? A king size bed that had no C-Pap machine attached to it. No dogs, no husband snoring; a king size that was all to myself. I jacked that music system up, Adele's Set Fire to the Rain, was echoing through the room. I opened the windows to have the curtains blowing in the room with the breeze and after changing clothes? I got on that King size bed, with its thick, downy coverlets, bed covering and pillows.....and I started jumping. I haven't jumped on a bed in years but, it was something I have wanted to do for apparently no reason in particular. It was just that release I needed, I'll admit it. Who out there just jumps on a bed anymore? It was a side of me I needed to see for myself so I can now cross that off that 101 list. I jumped for ten minutes to different music then danced around the room. I laughed at myself because I must have looked like a deranged 30+ year old trying to be that teenager who uses the hair brush to sing in the mirror. After my jumping, I took the longest bath in my life. If I could have one wish, just one in my home of all the things that are out there. It would be one of those really deep, two person tubs. The kind that doesn't have a little round thing that automatically starts draining the water if it gets too deep. All of us could use one of those. I think it should be standard issue in this life of ours. Something about bubbles, deep water and just floating away does something to the soul I think. I dunked under water, I scrubbed, I soaked away the pain, the weight of the stress and the heartache. Somehow, after all that? I just felt normal again. My second wish is for Hard Rock Casino to send me the King sized cloud that they have in their rooms. I swear, you will feel like you were in heaven and man....did I sleep.

I took two hours to do my makeup, hair and get dressed. At home, this would be knocked down by an hour and a half, so I took advantage of the time. No knocks on the door, no doggie noses under the door poking through, no whining, no yelling....just music playing and me trying to figure out who the person was in that mirror. We all met up downstairs and explored every nook and cranny Hard Rock had to offer. The place was jumping even at that hour and there were so many iconic pieces on display, you couldn't help but stop and just lust after each one. Ok, well maybe its just me as I am that into music. If I ever met a musician in person, I would probably faint. Ha! Everyone was just so freaking nice. I mean, it was like being on another planet nice. No one there staring, no one to start asking dumb questions about why we have a service dog, no one grabbing my hand and freaking out. While I missed my husband terribly, it was nice to feel normal again. It was nice to be around nice people who although just worked there, really didn't have to be nice at all.

We hit every casino that night from the Flamingo, the Mirage, the Luxor, Caesar's Palace, Bellagio and many others. We just walked and looked around. We played a few penny slots, winning some and losing some. We decided to splurge on one nice dinner while there which landed us at the Caesar's Palace to dine that the most expensive buffet I have ever seen. The Bacchanal Buffet could land you anywhere in the world and try different things, all prepared by Master Chefs. It was totally worth the price and I decided since I knocked a few things off my 101 list...might as well knock some more off. So I tried new things I would never get or stayed away from like Oyster Shooters,  Ceviche, raw oysters on the shell, watermelon cut up with cubes of Feta cheese in a balsamic dressing all tied with a small strip of chive. Crepes made right before you, lamb chops and so much more. 500 items from all over the world you could sample and honestly? I think you could eat there several times and never have the same thing twice! It was a gluttonous feast I will admit but just different and exciting. Some things were so beautiful you hated to eat it.

I took 25.00 to play with since I have never really gambled with machines. I did figure out which ones were loose, so took advantage of that, landing me quite a nice bit of extra spending money to buy t-shirts for my family and a few other odds and ends. I tried my hand at Craps and Black Jack because I have never done that, so adding that to my list. I got hit on by several men, which I will admit made me feel good. Sometimes I feel invisible to my husband so it was nice to have that reality check, that hey, you aren't that drudge, mom, caregiver, maid, driver and secretary at the house. I drank too many strawberry margaritas at each casino we visited (thank god the alcohol was free). We visited and walked around the Venetian Hotel which was spectacular in itself and brought many memories to my sister and I. We grew up as Army brats and traveled all over the world, Italy being our favorite. The inside is a masterpiece with its own skies, clouds and rivers with gondoliers and the operatic singers who steered, gave me goose bumps. We stopped for lunch at an outside but actually indoor, Italian bistro for fresh croissants and coffee, then we shared coffee gelato together. 

In between all that, I added to my 101 List with my ill gotten gaming money and finally got my first tattoo. At first, the artist said no to everything I suggested. I was either "too sweet looking", "too much of a softie" and it really irked me. lol So after asking me what I do for a living; just trying to get a general idea of who I was with this magenta and purple highlights...he agreed the best tattoo that I could get was an Ace up my sleeve and so we did it. For 30 minutes, I went between wanting to pass out (needle phobia) and crying but I never shed a tear. It represents all my hard work, victories that I did succeed and the many paper cuts I received while doing it. I didn't get it all done as I wanted only because I bled so much but we got a good start so I can keep adding on to it as I wish. Not sure because I lost count but this was most definitely on my 101 things to knock off this year. Nothing too trashy, not noticeable and if doing anything important, easily covered up. Did I mention that I have great respect for those who get these big suckers? Yeah it really hurt. I am such a wuss.

We visited Madame Tussards Wax Museum which was a ton of fun. I think out of all of it? That was my favorite. It is an interactive museum with props so you can take pictures and interact with the figures. It sits on the property of the old Sans Casino, home to the original Rat Pack. In the past year or so, it has been featured on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventurers, which both my sister and I are addicted to. So just the idea of going to a place that was haunted, was appealing but oh the laughter and fun we endured while there. Going back to my list, knocking off my second haunted place to visit, I boxed with Muhammad Ali, gave Johnny Depp a kiss and had my picture with my hand strategically placed in fun areas (hey, that's as close as I could get to the real thing. Cut me some slack. It's been a while ya know?). We danced with the Blue Men, sang along with James Brown and Prince, visited the dark alley with Michael Jackson, and played keyboard with Stevie Wonder. We sat in the crowds, cheering on Babe Ruth and drank champagne with many superstars like Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck. I even snuggled up to Hugh Heffner with bunny ears on. Ok, so yeah, they were made of wax but who cares right? It was just crazy fun! Overall? It was just a fantastic time, acting like goof balls and having no worries carried on our backs. I decided I am well into probably 50+ items on that 101 list that everyone keeps adding to. I might not completely suck at this one. I am also the first time, showing a picture of myself so knock that off the list. Probably not what you expected but hey, this is me. Take it or leave it.

Float like a Butterfly right?
 For two days, and two nights in Vegas I could just be me and I was me. I'd forgotten how much fun I was and that I wasn't just this drudge, robotic machine cooped up in the house. I rested not only my mind but my soul and to me, that is what I call respite care. While this blog in particular sounds more like a report that you would read on the Travel Channel or the Food Network, it was because for once....I wanted something to be written that didn't have PTSD or TBI intertwined with it. That's the point isn't it? I wanted to share that sometimes you just got to get up and go, let the wind carry you away and go find yourself. From here on out, its been decided I will no longer make excuses. I will not feel guilty for doing things for myself. No more will I be forced in a hostage negotiation with my hair just so I can release myself from the house. That support group I wanted to start in my area will be started in the next two months I hope if all goes well. I will start taking better care of myself and dress up, even if its just to go to the store. I will paint my nails more often, wear eyeliner and learn to laugh and dance more. Even if in my own home. I didn't realize how starved I was until my soul was fed and I felt alive again. I don't want to lose that feeling. I just want to be me again and stay that way. I don't need a therapist giving me advice, I don't need someone to cry to because I am past all that. Recreational therapy is where it's at ladies and gents. Acting like us again and being who we are before all this meteor of military crap hit our homes. I want laughter to make me fall apart at the seams; not damn stress. I want to hurt from smiling so much, not from the pain of dealing with all  of this. Somehow, someway I will keep this up. Finally, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do a radio interview, along with an interview by CNN. I decided there is no reason to just blog as I have in the past. So I can cross those off my list as well, leaving all but FOX news to cover! LMAO!

So to turn over a new leaf, here is a picture of me. I rarely have any pictures of just me or any that I wouldn't warrant the post office's Most Wanted wall. This is me. The real me and all of me. Do something crazy just for yourself. Doesn't have to be a trip or anything outrageous...just something to make you smile. Get dressed up for apparently no reason at all, do something outrageous with your hair and wear it like you stole it! Paint your nails a funky color and add some glitter just to make your step a little lighter. Pull out some of your old music that used to make your ass move and just do it. Who cares if the kids see it? They love when I dance around and follow along! Laugh like there will never be anymore laughter again and wine, it always helps when you have lots of wine!

 Just me-see? I do have a face!

 So back to the grindstone it is for me! Your loving, newly tattooed, purple toe nailed, pink and purple haired, bed jumping fool I am..........

Friday, February 22, 2013

Year of the Snake: Shedding of the Skin (Part 1)

I normally don't pay much attention to the Chinese New Year, meanings behind the differences between the Ox, the Rabbit, the Dragon or the fact according to the Chinese, my husband and I aren't compatible with each other. Although fascinated with the entire celebration, the closest I have ever come to education about any of it was through reading those paper menus with all the Chinese horoscopes/zodiacs on them in restaurants and what I see about the New Year's Celebration in movies. I do know from all the History classes I took, Native Americans associated the shedding of the snake's skin with rebirth.

Rebirth was what I longed for the most.

I have fought with "where do I go from here?", "What path am I supposed to take?", and the ever haunting "Is this is it? This...the rest of my life?" This has been an ongoing issue with me and really my husband too. So here we are, in a stand off in the OK Corral looking down the barrel of life not knowing who was going to pull the rug out from under us first. In our mid 30's, you never really think this is where we would end up. I imagined 401s, retirement, social security after 65 if it was even there anymore. We imagined retirement traveling in a motor home, possibly fussing at each other to eat more fiber or cheerios, and bouncing grandchildren on our knees. But this? I wonder if all of us are going through this after the fifth year mark? Is it the 5 year itch for our lives so to speak?

These past six months have been a struggle for me. One Facebook fan (Z) wrote to me and asked "You ever have those days when u feel emotionally porcelain, the slightest thing goes wrong you can smash someone's face, yet u feel tears welling up behind your eyes? My skin feels like its literally crawling over my muscles." I thought this Veteran's comment was dead on cue of how my husband felt but, even I felt that way and could relate so much. Some days I felt fractured, emotionally pulled away from my own mind and body and just so tired of it all. Other days, I wonder how I don't keep from smacking someone. I began to start resenting a ton of things, anger seeped through my pores and I just wanted to walk away from it all and never look back. I think all of us have felt this way at one point or many other times in this life. I worried that I was facing a mid-life crisis, early menopause, or hell, I even considered possession. (Sorry Horror Fans, I am completely demon free) I just could not for the life of me get my shit together. I needed a break.

I have plenty to keep me busy; much more than I can actually handle but I found myself not following through or my attention just wasn't fully in it. This part of it aggravated me more than anything as I am usually pretty on top of things. My brain was on overload, I was sick to death of records and conference calls, and even hearing the words "Medical Board" or "Independent Medical Review" would be equivalent to me, as someone raking their nails across the chalkboard. The kids were stressing me out, my husband has been in his usual mode of hot and cold, then shutting me out completely. To be honest, I felt like I was living alone when I had all these people around me. I was starved for just well, people.

I hated looking in the mirror and not knowing who I was anymore. I started to feel like the drudge at the house. You know that scary, non-made up face, that usually terrifies your children and husband in the mornings? Yeah...that would be me. My clothes? Let me tell you that I have put Salvation Army on high alert for rejection and no matter how cutesy my t-shirts and house pants looked...I don't think they would be making a video or writing a song about me like they did "Thriftshop". I would always sound so confident and sure of myself over the phone, all while donning a 1980's t-shirt and a pair of flannel house pants. I felt like I wasn't noticeable anymore, not sexy, or hell even close to attractive. For whatever reason, this year's impending **hack, cough, hack** 38th birthday has been weighing heavily on my mind. Our eight year wedding anniversary on the 25th, has been bothering me too. For whatever reason, every year since he has been home, our anniversaries got ruined by the PTSD beast. I got kicked in the ass pretty hard when I couldn't even keep up with my fellow bloggers on the "Positive List" as I mentioned in my last blog. It's rather pathetic when the most creative thing I could come up with was "this list positively sucks ass". It just felt defeating all the way around.

If you read other blogs, follow around on Facebook etc...you will see some Caregivers to Wounded Warriors testing themselves with 101 things in a 1000 days challenge or something like that. I ignored this because I couldn't even list three things a day on my list of positivity. I would be scared I would set myself up for disappointment if I did try this 101 things. I know there is nothing I can't probably do once I put my mind to it. I have, come this far on my own, and that's something to be pretty proud of. Yet, this nagging, wander lust of life and unfulfilled emptiness kept eating those steps forward. I found myself making excuses of why I couldn't do this or that. I created obstacles from guilt of leaving my husband behind to go do things on my own. Then there was the "why the hell am I having to do this shit on my own anyway?" eating at me. The idea of doing things on my own also bothered me terribly. I mean, we spend most of our time with our family members and Veterans, yet we feel so alone when we are with them. I just could not see myself going to see a movie by myself. I think that would be rather depressing in itself right there.

After a good cry, a long talk with a friend who reassured me I wasn't losing it completely; it was decided I would act upon the Respite care program under the VA Caregiver Program and go out west to see my sister. My sister was so excited and being the girly girl she is, I knew I could not be in better company than her with her spontaneity, goofiness, and  a sense of humor of that of a professional comedian. I longed for laughter and I mean belly busting, almost crying, pulling muscles you didn't even know you had, laughter. How long has it truly been since we all just laughed? When was the last time we selfishly did something for ourselves? I bet it's been a long time just the same as it has been for me.

Plans made for travel taken care (Thank you Air Compassion for Vets) and bags packed, I took off and I didn't even let the door slam shut before my car was backing out of the driveway. I don't know what I was running away from but, it occurred to me on the plane, perhaps it was me I was running from. Once on the plane though, my gut hurt and my heart started to pound. I felt guilty, lost without all my family and had a dual argument with myself about being selfish and not feeling guilty about a damn thing. I knew everything was put into place, everyone would be ok but still, I felt like somehow I had let my family down. Why did I have to feel guilty when I am allowed to do something for myself? Why couldn't I just once say screw it, do it and then have no remorse? Maybe its in the Virgo nature, maybe its in our new normal of a life, perhaps it just me. At the same time though, the still sane part of me knew if I didn't take this break, I would be letting them down more if I ended up losing my sanity. Due to a storm that hit the East, I got put on standby but it was nice because I had time to think, clear my head and have a cup of coffee without the words "mom, mom, mom" or "do you know where I left my hat or what are we having for breakfast/Did I even eat breakfast?".  Due to the stand by, United Airways placed me in First Class as an apology and for the first time, I smiled. I realized, I might just be on my way of starting that 101 things in a 1000 days list after all. Prior to my leaving, I finally conquered the Nano Ipod I got for Christmas in 2011. That was a task in itself for a technologically challenged person such as I. So there was another crossed off my list.

First class treated me quite nicely with plenty of drinks, so by the time I got to my sister's, I was completely relaxed and very very tired. Literally, I shed about 30 pounds of stress just getting off the plane. I felt free, felt alive and excited about the six days I would be gone from home. There were no plans, no appointment times, no meetings, no interviews, no mandatory sight seeing; it was just absolutely whatever the wind blew our way. I slept, as the NyQuil commercial advertises, like before I had children and all the rest. My third to add to my newly list of 101 things to do, was to change my hair. I might get it done twice a year, more if I have upcoming events. Much of the time, you will see the tons of gray peeking through. There is something fun about going to the salon and getting dolled up. My sister made me an appointment, complete with eyebrow waxing, hair mask and extensive treatment and coloring. So the decision was to have something fun, spunky, and something that would force me out of the house every 4-6 weeks to make me keep my hair up. There was my first step forward into doing something for myself and after this choice, I really have no alternative to let it go. After consulting with the most enthusiastic beautician I have ever met, I went with a dark brown, magenta and violet highlights. Not too punk rock, not soccer mom friendly and definitely not Sharon Osbourne but just enough to say WOW. I love it. After the colorist checked for skin tones, and what would work well...all I could think was "let's do this!". Four hours later, I felt like a new woman and man, the compliments kept coming from all over the place. It was strange coming home with it and not getting the compliments I was getting out west. All I heard was "wow, I have always wanted to do that but didn't think I could pull it off". Yeah well, neither could I but I just did it and you only live once.

If they only knew it was a hostage situation and my hair was the negotiator to get me loose from my own prison.

After that, it was nails and toenails which are now purple to match my hair. Then on to makeup with things I normally don't wear like eyeliner, eye shadow and lipstick. I even splurged and bought me some lip gloss that has snake venom in it, that makes your lips plump. Weird I know but it is after all, the year of the snake right? We sat in a hot tub, downed more glasses of Moscato D'Asti wine than I care to really admit to anyone. We watched the craziest, dumbest but hysterical movies I have somehow missed like "Drop Dead Gorgeous", "House Bunny" and finally (my teen son was so very proud) "Zombie Land". I slept some more and didn't have to worry about cooking, cleaning up, or doing anything more than just breathing. On Saturday after sitting out under the stars, with wine and a fire pit going with my sis and brother in law...it was decided we were heading to Las Vegas the next morning. I envy my sister and her spontaneity to just get up and go somewhere like that. Only six hours away, it was mutually agreed and let me tell you....I floated up the stairs due to excitement....or the wine. Take your pick. Late night packing with the couple of items my sister placed me in, some crazy jewelry, a few dollars in my pocket and we were ready to go!

That night, I cried myself to sleep. Guilt hit me badly although I know it was unneeded. I guess being around my sister, her friends, and just being out in public was out of the norm for me. I missed it terribly. I also wanted my husband there. I wanted him to feel that excitement of heading to Sin City for apparently no reason, no plans; just get on the road and go.  I wanted him to live a little like I was doing. I also cried because it was nice to see myself in a mirror and say "Aha! There you are!". It was nice to have a reason to get dressed up, even if just to ride around. It was nice to blare the music in the car and sing along, nice to ride without having to worry if someone on the side of the road is there or "isn't there", or someone cussing because of someone driving too slow. For six days, I could be just me.

You don't really realize how much this life can suck out of you until you walk away, even for just a short period of time. You don't really realize how far you have fallen until you walk away completely and look back at what you left behind. It scared me to think of all I left behind was going to be my only legacy. Every day a mass confusion of phone calls, paper cuts, forms, military related medical board stuff for my husband and then dealing with the three kids on top of it. For a short while, I was me. Not mom, not caregiver, not secretary, not advocate, not anything but just me.

I will write part two to this because I don't want to bombard you but, my point is this.....sometimes you just have to get lost to find yourself again. In this life, we may not realize it but yes, due to guilt of our wounded veterans we tend not to do things for ourselves. Loneliness keeps us from doing things on our own and we seem to find excuses or reasons why we can't do other things. We tend to overlook ourselves, not take care of ourselves like we should and we have no reason to get dressed up or do something spontaneous because we have learned to push all that back. So I decided this year, although the start of 2013 hasn't been kind to me, this would be my shedding of the old skin and my rebirth. I would embrace the few moments I had, try some new things and make plans for new ones. That's exactly what I did...........

Kill the snake of doubt in your soul, crush the worms of fear in your heart and mountains will move out of your way. ~Kate Seredy