Over the course of those years, I've gotten to know quite a few bloggers sharing similar stories. One, in particular, has always had a deep impact on me: Living with PTSD & TBI. The author, Uncle Sam's Mistress has a talent for clearly and emotionally depicting how difficult life is for someone deeply in love with a veteran with PTSD.
Over the past few years, we've gotten to know each other tangentially through our respective blogs and through Facebook - sharing posts, insight and a kind word.
I began to grow concerned that I hadn't seen a blog post from her in a while, as I know my readers have been for me these past few months. One of my greatest regrets is that I couldn't see past my own challenges to check to make sure everything was OK.
When she posted her latest blog post, From A Stigma to A Statistic, I sobbed. I sobbed for the loss of her husband, I sobbed because of the profound and heartfelt pain she expressed through her words, and I sobbed because PTSD had taken another veteran too early. I did my best to let her know through comments how deeply distressed I was for her loss, but don't think I ever found the right words.
So that's why I'm writing this tonight.
Dear Uncle Sam's Mistress,
I've been reading your blog for a long time and I've always admired the heart and humanity you pour into your posts. When I read your latest blog post, the depth of the devastation that PTSD has brought into your life hit me like I had been punched in the gut.
Words cannot convey how deeply sorry I am for the loss of your husband. You captured the stress, fear, despair, and heartbreak so poignantly. I shared your post on Facebook and found out later that my mom had read your words and she started crying immediately. We could barely talk about it because it strikes so close to home. She knows how close I've gotten on a few occasions in the years since I came home and the thought of what you are going through breaks her heart.
What your family has gone through has been constantly on my mind since I read your post. It's caused me to take stock of my life and how I am doing. It made me realize that I wasn't doing as well as I would hope.
And I don't think I would have seen it as clearly if it wasn't for your latest blog post. I have struggled mightily the past few months, despite recognizing how poorly I was handling my separation and divorce from my wife. In the past, whenever I have gotten to the point where I was able to acknowledge that I am struggling, I have been able to somehow find the strength to reclaim what I had given up to my PTSD.
This time was different. Until I read your blog post, I didn't realize that I hadn't improved. Things hadn't gotten worse, but they hadn't improved either.
That realization scared me to death.
Because of you, because of your unbridled courage in sharing your story, I've turned a corner. I've started to push back against the darkness. It made me realize that one of my strengths has always been in telling my story the way you tell yours: unflinchingly, with courage and fortitude.
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to tell my story. Thank you for reminding me that I have the courage to live for myself. Thank you for having always had a kind word when you could tell I was struggling. Thank you for letting all of us into your life.
It may be small comfort, but I wanted you to know that I am here for you. All you have to do is ask. Message me on Facebook. Reach out through my website. You've given thousands of readers the strength to carry on - now it's our turn lend you ours.
God Bless You and Your Family.
In Grief and Solidarity,
Max Harris, Combat Veterans with PTSD
Let me come in where you are weeping, friend,
And let me take your hand.
I, who have known a sorrow such as yours,
Let me come in -- I would be very still
Beside you in your grief;
I would not bid you cease your weeping, friend,
Tears can bring relief.
Let me come in -- I would only breathe a prayer,
And hold your hand,
For I have known a sorrow such as yours,