I woke up this morning and looked at my hubby thankful for another day. But this morning was a hard one because once again I woke up looking for his feet. You see for 12 years that's what we did. I like my space, do not get on my side of the bed. I am a "This is my space, this is your space" kind of person. Chaz has always enjoyed messing with me when it comes to this. I am not a touchy-feeling person. I wasn't a hugger until all of this went down. But the one thing I enjoyed doing was rubbing my feet on Chaz's. Weird, I know, but everyone has their thing and this was ours. It was our way of connecting without him truly crossing over into my space.
When I got the report on January 22, I knew these days were over. When they told me he could lose his arm, God and I had a little talk. I told him now look they took his feet, let us keep the damn arms. Obviously I was heard. Sure his right arm is fused in an almost 90 degree angle, but it's at a great angle for snuggling with me and the girls. I am so thankful God heard my pleas for Chaz's arm.
But as I am thankful for what I have then comes the guilt comes right behind it, what about the guys who lost the legs and arms? What about those wives, kids, and others who will only know artificial hands and legs for the rest of their lives? I guess they deal with it like I have. I guess they too are just so thankful that their soldier is still here with them that real or fake doesn't matter anymore. Their soldier is still with them and that's all that matters.
My grieving process for Chaz's physical appearance all ended when I saw him smile at me for the first time on January 26th. I could see in his eyes everything was fine. I can still remember looking at his whole body for the first time. I can remember being there when they pulled the wound vacs off. I remember all the fancy words the doctors used to explain things. I also remember telling him, "I could give two craps (of course, I used the other word) about those legs. You are still here with us and those Lt Dan legs will work just fine. Legs, nor your physical appearance does not define who you are." I remember the peace that came over him. As if, I'd leave him because he lost his legs, they are just legs. But he needed that reassurance, he needed to know I was not going anywhere. (This is of course, excepting the times I had to travel back to TN to take care of the girls.)
I also remember someone saying to me that I was delusional and that I was avoided dealing with the problem. I also remember saying, "Nope I am very well aware his legs are gone and thanks for reminding me. I am tracking that my life has been turned upside down. But here's what you're not tracking. I have two little girls and a husband who are watching my every move. I have to deal with this head on and not let it defeat me. I am not confused, I am blessed. I am sorry you can't see it that way. I am sorry you don't have enough faith to get through this, but I do. I cannot tell you how to heal, I can only tell you dealing with this head on is working for me. You'll have to figure out your path on your own. I will not judge you for yours, so do not judge me for mine." The lesson from this is, never ever doubt an Army wife who the Army has already put through hell.
Everyday the biggest problem I have is knowing there are other families dealing with this exact same thing. Some soldiers are less severe than Chaz and some are way worse off. But my heart breaks knowing that there's another person out there on this insane roller coaster. I wish I could take all this away from them all, but I know God has to put us all through our own battles. I can only pray the other families are half as blessed as Chaz and I are. If every other family only has half of what we have they will make it though this storm just fine. I also pray that if they don't have faith that someone blesses them with more enough to get through. Chaz and I are lucky because our cups are overflowing with support, faith and love that will never end.
So today say a prayer for those families who are on this roller coaster. Pray their cups will overflow. Pray that they will get past the grieving and more on to healing. Pray that this will all end and we won't add any more carts to our really long roller coaster.