I was unaware of this Presidential Decree until a few days ago. Thank you, President Obama. This day of appreciation is long overdue. I can't even begin to explain all of the ways my wife has been there for me over the last four and a half years. What I do know is this: I wouldn't be happy and successful if it wasn't for her. I love you, Dani, with all of my heart. Thank you for being my hero!
Ok, so what does this mean for everyone else? So much attention is put on the war-fighters that often the general public forgets that this war is fought at home by military spouses as well. If a service-member is worried about what is going on at home, they aren't focused on their mission - distraction leads to devastation. So many spouses out there fight the war by assuming the stress and responsibility of every aspect of home life that they normally share with their partner. They are, in many cases, incredibly stressed out. When they talk to their loved ones, though...Everything is going GREAT!
For most, there is a huge sigh of relief when the spouse returns home and adjusts. They pick up where they left off, work at getting to know each other again and carry on. For some, there is no relief. Their loved ones return home, broken in mind, body and spirit. The spouse is left to pick up the pieces of a shattered memory of their loved one and get to acquaint themselves with a whole new person. PTSD has left an indelible mark on our society that will not be forgotten or ignored. It can't be. After a decade of sustained conflict, thousands of spouses have been shouldering the burden of caring for a service-member. Up until last year, the recognition warranted for their heroic efforts have been largely ignored by our society. THIS MUST END.
Granted, spouses have each other to turn to for support. They also have (thanks to the internet) incredible support forums to learn and share their experiences. We have Veterans' Day. They now have Military Spouse Appreciation Day. I don't care if no one in your family has ever served. You still understand the sacrifices that military families make, day in and day out. Take the time of your busy day and thank a military spouse. It's amazing how far a simple 'thank you' can go. And for all those service-members out there with a spouse either at home waiting for your return or supporting you as you adjust to civilian life, take the time out of your day to reflect on all that your spouse has done for you. I felt guilty for not having said the words sooner. My wife knows I appreciate everything that I do for her, but I still can't believe I have never said the words.
Thank You, Spouses, For Everything You Do! We Would Be Nothing Without You!!!
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.