Sunday, 10 November 2013

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Bittersweet is November

“Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.”   Robert A. Heinlein
November 11, 1919, was the first anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended World War I.  Celebrated as Armistice Day, it was dedicated to the cause of world peace.  The day was commemorated with prayer and thanksgiving, filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who selflessly served our country.  In 1954, the word Armistice was stricken and Veterans Day took its place in history.  Each year, November 11th is a national holiday to ensure that ALL our veterans know how deeply we appreciate the sacrifices they have made in their lives with parades and speeches. Yet we owe them so much more . . .

I have seen it in your face
I am sure you have noticed it in mine;
that thousand-yard stare
that does not look out --
it looks in --
at the unutterable,
unalterable truth of our war
.   ~ The Wall Within

This may not be the best time.  My blog is heading in a direction that I had not planned.  But I'm on a roll and words are flooding my computer screen.  It wants be written . . .  
Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the 4th of July are the holidays that grab me by the ankles. My senses are on high alert, certain images bring flashbacks, and tears simply break loose at the strangest times.  My memoir, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shows my journey with the love of my life as we battle his PTSD.  It wasn't until years later, when I began to research this disorder for my book, that I learned I had PTSD as well . . . through association.  I now know that this is why I react to certain stimuli the way I do. The dreams are less often, but I can't watch a war movie or war news without tears. Nor can I sing patriotic songs without blubbering.  The homeless veterans rip my heart.  And I have yet to be able to thank a veteran for his service at the airport or out in public without stammering over the searing lump in my throat, tears embarrassing us both.
Does anyone else go through this after so many years . . . or is it just me?

I stood there one fall
ankle deep in leaves
and looked up at the night sky
through a hole in a ceiling of trees
wondering how much better the world
might look from up there.   ~ The Wall Within
Most of my days hum effortlessly with a plethora of activity tossing me from one hour to the next. My energy level soars as I juggle the shiny balls overhead.  But then comes November swooping down on me like an eagle preparing to snatch me away.
Each November arrives with poignant promptings of the past intertwined with the present, like a finely woven sterling chain around my neck. Veteran's Day is in November, stirring up vivid memories of love and pain from long ago. No matter how long, no one ever forgets!  My husbands birthday is in November.  The 18th.  In 2001, after years scattered with tears, I received an amazing GIFT on Lorne's birthday.  My youngest granddaughter was born!  Was it a coincidence?  No ... I know it was a GIFT to help heal my heart.  
Bittersweet is the taste of November.
Veterans Facts
There are approximately 23.2 million veterans in the United States.
These brave men and women who serve and protect our country come from all walks of life; they are parents, children and grandparents.  They are friends, neighbors and coworkers, and an important part of their communities.  Here are some facts about the current veteran population of the United States.
  • 9.2 million veterans are over the age of 65.
  • 1.9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
  • 1.8 million veterans are women. (For another post)
  • 7.8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33% of all living veterans.
  • 5.2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
  • 2.6 veterans served during World War II (1941-1945)
  • 2.8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953)
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • As of 2008, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • 5 states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas ( 1.7 million), New York (1 million) and Pennsylvania (1 million).
  • The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.
U.S. Census Bureau and United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Note: I was unable to locate veteran statistics beyond 2010.  These numbers would increase greatly with that information.  

The SADDEST question of all:  How many of these BRAVE and HONORABLE men and women live on the STREETS?  This must end!  We MUST take care of our own!

God bless America and the honorable men and women at her beacon call.


  1. You are a rock.... a mentor to me in ways I cannot describe. It is by the bravery of your husband & my son & the grace of God our lives across 1000 of miles brought us to each other.....we are blessed for having loved our men & becoming a part of a family that only 1% understand.

    1. Dawn, I'm so happy you stopped by. I know how much our veterans are part of your life. I too am blessed to have met you through our circumstances. It was meant to be. And thank you for all the care you give to our veterans and their families.

      Thank you, you too, are my hero! My goal is to bring that number way up!!!

  2. Hi Nancy! I know Veteran's Day is a tough one for you. I hope this adds a little drop of happiness in your day, knowing you are helping so many others.

  3. Becky, thank you for being such a dear friend and caring for our veterans and their families as you do. Your blog left me speechless and I can never thank you enough.

    Tried to post your link again, but it didn't take. Will have to share another way . . . xo

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