Friday, July 6, 2012

Post July 4th Thoughts

There are those days when one can accomplish mountains of work and do so with little issues, even when things are beyond chaotic at home... Then there are days that no matter how hard you try, you feel so disconnected from things that you need to be working on that you end up with no other choice but to step away...or not even begin working on what you need to complete. The latter one has been me today.

Today has been, well, one of "those" days. I can't help but to wonder if maybe it is due to the holiday passing in the middle of the week. Not like it can disrupt our week during the summer this year. No one works outside of the house. The kids are not in school. Yet, somehow it managed to turn the ending of the week into crumbling pieces. It seems we have been a bit on edge and quite possibly overwhelming in a sense. Things have been nonstop from everyone's brains forgetting simple tasks or things they have remembered for years, yet managed to forget today. The kids are acting OUT. OF. CONTROL. And by that I do mean seriously CRAZY! To top it off, it doesn't stop there...even the damn dog has been running wild today. I feel like I live in a zoo! Why is it that these things only happen such as they are all at once. It's like the old saying goes, "when it rains it pours"...I think that quote takes new meaning to me now.

Kevin has been more kept to himself since the 4th. I hate the way holidays take a toll on this house now. I miss the way things use to be. I miss the easiness in life, the smiles, the laughs, the joys out of simple things. The 4th has really messed with a lot of our veterans this year, just as it does every year. Fireworks don't even have to be set off for the apprehension to just take over and for me to find myself walking on a bit of eggshells hoping that moods simmer down.

I can't help but to think about what life was like before Iraq and how easy it was to take advantage of the luxury of being able to enjoy things, only now to feel a bit bitter towards the holidays because of what their true meaning is and how little people really think about it. What gets me the most about this holiday is that Kevin and the many men and women that are living this hell after combat are the ones that fought for our freedom. They are the ones that have enabled Americans to live as we do, yet they can't even celebrate it. How horrible is that? It's just not right. As fireworks exploded across our nation just a couple nights ago and people celebrated with alcohol, cookouts, swimming, friends, family, and even strangers - our nations heroes were hiding out in their houses, taking anxiety medications and praying for the night to just end so the flashbacks would stop, the current reminders would just disappear, and they could somehow pull out of the bad spot they were in. Yet for many of them, when Thursday morning rolled around they had taken steps back instead of forward. It's like a domino effect - you push one down and they all start collapsing. Well, this is what happens with our combat veterans that battle PTSD. It's not magic, they can't just pull out of the "funk" or "episode" they are in because a new day has started after living through double hell of nightmares and flashbacks.

Wives such as myself haven't slept much, we have walked on eggshells, and we have watched as our husbands have stayed in bed the day after the 4th just trying to get through it. We have been a witness to what war leaves behind as we scramble to pick up the pieces, all the while knowing that no matter how much we scramble, the pieces will never just be picked up and placed back together.

As much as I want to be pissed at the people running the firecracker stands, the people shooting them off, and the people forgetting the reason we are all so free - I can't. I can't for the simple fact, just years ago Kevin and I WERE those people. We were the kids out shooting fireworks. We were the ones loving the amazing firework display that downtown Atlanta puts on every year. We were the ones sharing the excitement at my moms house as everyone got together, because that one day we knew that family and friends would reunite. What we didn't realize was the brutal truth behind war and what the veterans return from war with until we lived in the shoes. So, I can't be mad at the ones enjoying it. I do however, wish there was a way to better educate people on things. I wish someone had educated me on the truths of war - NOT the book version in school. That doesn't account for anything when it comes down to the individual we are speaking of.

All I can do is hope and pray that as the years pass, the holidays become a bit easier. I'm not holding my breath, but I am hoping that family and friends find it in their hearts to understand why during holidays (especially July 4th) we will always opt to stay home, alone. It has nothing to do with them, but everything to do with there is no way I am going to get my family out in that mess and risk my husband falling back more steps. I'd rather stay home, with the tv loud as it can go drowning out the outside world. A few days - or maybe even a week later - things will fall back into place and we will be able to be around people again. Time and understanding is what it will take...

As everyone was enjoying the 4th of July, I pray they each took the time to remember our true heroes and all that they have done and sacrificed as well as their families. Every combat veteran and their family have given more than most realize for our country's freedom and no matter how many bad days there are, the good will always overpower the bad. We will always come out with a smile on our faces and honestly, many would do it all over again for the sake loved ones.

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