Monday, 26 May 2014

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Remembering

War has gone on since the beginning of man's creation. And will continue until the end of time. This necessary evil brings death and pain not only to its victims, but also to the warriors and their loved ones covering our small planet. It's not the way we'd like it to be - it is the way it is. 
~ Nancy MacMillan, author

On Memorial Day, we honor all the military personnel who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country and freedom. These brave warriors rest in peace not only on American soil, but approximately 125,000 are buried on foreign soil.

Our country is split by war. Each of us longs to live in peace and harmony, but how can this be attained without welcoming terror to our shores with open arms? There is no easy answer.

Memorial Day still ignites an ember I thought had diminished with the years. Yet, memories from the past flood my mind. If I dare close my eyes, I see my husband's handsome face, the twinkle in his eye, and his crooked smile waiting for me as though he never left me behind.

The yearning to step back in time is powerful. If only I could relive just one day of happiness with him. That would be enough. But I'm lying to myself. I know I'd want more. Then reality, like my guardian angel, steps boldly between us with hands on her hips, shaking her head and I know this can never happen ... at least, not in this lifetime.

I share personal thoughts today that live in too many hearts. Yet how do we stop the insanity of war? I may never be whole again, but my life without my husband, the love of my life, is still worth living. He is the reason I now have a mission - Public Awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To share with others who wonder, exactly what PTSD is all about. I have found peace and joy in this new journey I travel, since I found the Lover of my soul ... but there is still this longing like a familiar song, playing over and over in my head ...

The day I finally FACED reality was the day I went to visit "The Moving Wall." I know now, that up until then ... I had been living in a daydream.

"As for all I can tell, the only difference is that what many see we call a real thing, and what only one sees we call a dream."   ~ C.S. Lewis 

I had been writing "Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, my memoir, for many years. In doing so, I was still spending time with my husband, the high-highs and the low-lows, through my thousands of words. We were still connected. Most every day I would be at my computer by 4 A.M. with my morning coffee, and begin writing or rewriting until I had to get ready for work. For sixteen years, my husband was with me through every step of this process. My muse. Need I say more?

On September 29, 2011, I was attending a writing/publishing class in Santa Barbara the same day "The Moving Wall" arrived at Chase Palm Park. Was this a coincidence?

An excerpt from: "The Moving Wall" - An Experience I will Never Forget!" ... October 3, 2011

I followed a sidewalk to the street and headed toward the monument. A photographer toting a heavy camera passed by. Towering palms scattered the patchy green grass. The sight of The Wall off in the distance, the sky and the ocean it's backdrop, enfolded me like a loving grandparent I'd never met. I felt timid, yet I knew I belonged . . .

They walk as if on hallowed ground. They touch the stone. They speak with the dead. They come to mourn and to remember, memory mixing with grief, making an old ritual new, creating in this time another timeless moment.                  - 25th Anniversary Commemorative

In the distance, the long narrow black wall appeared to rise out of the ground where people stood like toy soldiers set in groups of two or three. Flags of many countries rose high against the hazy afternoon sky, furling in unison. A large khaki tent stood guard off to the right. As I drew near, the black panels began to reveal meticulous white lettering. Snapping flags overhead muffled the soft murmurs of family members, some clutching framed  photographs to their chest, as they stood solemnly talking with counselors near The Wall.

It was surreal . . . until it hit me.

The avalanche of names washed over me. Dear God, so many names. Too many names. Each called from the wall. I could hardly breathe. 58,226 names including 8 women. The Vietnam war. They all died in battle. This was all that was left of these warriors who were part of us, never again to feel the sun on their faces, or taste the salty air from an ocean breeze.

A train echoed from afar. A lean-muscled man riding a bicycle pulled up. His fluorescent green jacket and trimmed white beard reflect off the shiny black wall like a mirror. He straddled the bike as his eyes eagerly searched the names. One woman wandered a distance from the wall. Maybe fearful as I was to get too close. Afraid of being swallowed alive by the reality before us.

(This entire post is accessible in the sidebar of this blog under 2011).

“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” 
        ― C.S. Lewis

Take time today to remember these brave men and women who gave their lives for our country. They deserve so much more. We have freedoms in America that many only dream about. These brave warriors stepped forward to fill the shoes of generations past who fought for these same rights. Let us honor them today, they were each someones child who had dreams of their own ... and please pray for PEACE in all nations.

                        What memories does Memorial Day bring back to you?