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?


  1. For all of those who I couldn’t save.

    Memorial Day Tea.

    I got up quite early, brewed a hot cup of Tea.
    Closing my eyes, I relax, snuggle in
    Rocking and rocking and sipping my tea.

    Rocking and rocking, faster and faster.
    Then red and green tracers, they flash in the night.
    Screams of young men, who are dying in fights.

    A shrieking scream, from the choppers transmission
    The deep roaring throb, of the powerful engine.
    Down on the deck, we flash thru the trees.

    Hot blast’s of wind, as I stand in the door
    My Machine gun is tracking, the green tracers flight
    It's kill or be killed, on this hot moonless night.

    There's young marines dying, they need me right now.
    So we fly low and fast, we don’t want to be hit.
    But deadly green ribbons are surrounding my ship.

    The red and green flashes, they light up the night.
    We circle the LZ, drop down, join the fight.
    Those deadly green ribbons, they arc up to meet us.

    The closer we get, the more fire we take.
    Our ship shudders hard, as the bullets tear thru us.
    We bank hard and flare, I’m shooting, God help us.

    We’ve landed fast, and we’re in their sights.
    The mortars creep closer, as I run to bring in
    My Brother Marines, whose lifeline is grim.

    The chopper is rocking from the blasts of the mortars.
    God that one was close, did it damage the rotors?
    It’s our third hot mission, another bloody night.

    The last man is in, he's screaming and dying
    There’s nothing to do, I’m shooting, he's dying.
    Then suddenly its quiet, were out of the fight.

    Doc calls for help, there’s so many bleeders.
    Bullets and blood, they cover my floor.
    I'll clean that up later, I’m covered in gore.

    One’s grabbing me screaming, his eyes clouding over.
    I can’t stop to grieve, his buddies are calling.
    This one’s head is a mess, I got to stop crying.

    Then suddenly softly, some one touches my toe.
    And I quietly awake, to that sweet smiling face.
    My wife softly says, are you doing OK?

    And for the 1000th time, I sigh and say Yes
    I'm home in my chair, all snug safe and sound
    Rocking and rocking and sipping my tea.

    The war is still there, it’s locked in my head
    Just waiting for me, to think back on the dead.
    Rocking and rocking and sipping my tea.

    By Bob Jones
    Cpl USMC
    Med Evac Door Gunner
    HMM-163 Khe Sanh Tet 68

    Written by my husband 2014. He suffers from PTSD

    1. Geri, This is wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing. I know your heart and feel the connection. I cannot find you on the internet and have no way to reach you. Please contact me at, if you see this. I'd love to talk with you. I pray you see this ...