Monday, August 8, 2011

We Are Not Victims

As we get out and explore the world around us. We often notice people looking at us with pity and sometimes even disgust when we are walking around the town. We also have noticed that we are in an uncaring world. People here in DC/MD do not have a lot of courtesy. Which is such a crazy concept when you are from the South and everyone greets you and smiles and even will hold doors for you. Let me tell you it is so much fun trying to hold a crazy heavy door and wheel Chaz in at the same time. This happens a lot because the doors are not wide enough to allow him the elbow room to wheel himself in. A big part of this war of a wounded warrior's wife is convincing people to give a damn. But why should they?! Why should they care about any of these guys?!

That is probably the one thing that drives me crazy. You constantly have to convince people to give a damn about these soldiers. As long as you stay in a military community you are good, leave that comfort zone and you have to sink or swim.

People have their convictions and will stick by it. They oppose the war, so they don't care about the wounded or dead. Or the war doesn't directly effect them, so once again they don't care. But let me tell you once that war hits home, when someone they know or love is hurt all the sudden they are involved. But why do they wait so long to give a crap. I know why, because we are selfish individuals and we focus on what's in front of us and we get caught up in our little world and we don't have time to care about anything else. I have to admit I have been guilty of that myself from time to time. Even right now I am guilty of that. I am so busy right now taking care of my family, I couldn't tell you what is going on in the outside world unless you told me. Right now my world is all about raising children and caring for an amputee. I can't be involved in our PTO or Girl Scouts or Humane Society or anything else right now because I have been called away from those activities to care for my wounded soldier. When I can I do reach out and help other families. Would I change my life, heck no! The only thing I would do is end these darn deployments. I don't want to meet anymore new wounded warriors, there are enough of us already!

Our first months with Chaz being an outpatient. I was at constant war trying to convince the WTB to give a damn. It was a daily battle and it was so frustrating. But now, a few squad leaders later and thanks to a few meetings and threatening words, we are finally getting taken care of. Things are finally falling into place. We have fought and fought this battle and finally we are winning. We won the internal war just so we could begin an external battle. I am thankful that the Army has this transition set up. I am thankful for the soldiers who have gone before us. I am thankful for all their trial and errors that have made this transition easier for those of us going through it now. I truly hope that our battles also can make it easier for someone else in the future. To the WTB, Chaz is just another wounded warrior, but when you go out and about, Chaz is the exact opposite. Many people have never seen an amputee. The life we are living is such a crazy dichotomy.

Our favorite expression from others is the pity smile. You all know what I am talking about, we've given a few, I know I have. My personal favorite is when we walk around with our friends and they get overprotective of Chaz. I have had to calm many of my friends down and convince them not to say anything. My one friend asked me how to you walk around with him and not hit people. I always say you can't fix stupid, you can only pray for it. Another thing I always say is we are victors, not victims. (Thanks Joel Osteen). We are God's children. He may have put us in this war, but we are in it so we can come out victorious and serve as a witness of God's greatness to others. It is really hard for others to see this. They are too busy focusing on the what they see now, they can't see what is coming. I know there are great things in store for us. I just have no idea what those great things are, but we are excited to see what they may be!

People just don't get it. Yes my husband no longer has legs, thanks I'm tracking that. His right arm is fused at an almost 90 degree angle, thanks again, I'm also tracking that. Yes we have a long road ahead, wow Captain Obvious, I never knew that one, gees what are we going to do?! People absolutely amaze me. Yesterday a man got mad at me because he had to go around us because I was holding the door and Deryn was pushing Chaz out. I looked at him and asked if he had a problem. He looked at Chaz and walked away. One thing I dare anyone to do, is pick a fight with a wounded warrior's wife. We have enough anger in our bodies that the results will not be pretty, let me assure you!

I am not asking anyone to stand up and do anything extreme for these guys, but if you can go for it! You know what I want you to do. If you see us or a family similar to us, hold the door and smile. You don't even have to say anything. But I do ask that you pray for all of us and more importantly tell your friends and family about us. Tell your friends and family to pray for us. Don't let these guys become an unimportant cause. I know there are so many important causes out there, but these soldiers need to rank up in your top ten.

Please remember our soldiers followed orders issued by your government, which is ran by the officials you elected. You want to be mad, focus on the elected, they issued the orders. (FYI Obama is not the only person to blame. The President can't do anything without Congress. True fact, look it up.) Want to get upset about something? Get upset that these guys are just following orders and their lives are radically different because of it. Our soldiers believe they are called to serve our country and because they are following that calling they deserve our respect. So when you see a solider thank them. Thank them for running into the fire, rather than running away. Our thanks is the very least they deserve.


  1. Couldn't have worded any of this better. You speak for all of the wounded warrior's wives/girlfriends in this. I had the same problem when Bren was here! This guy was waiting for a spot just sitting waiting for a car to leave (no one was even in the cars to leave) so we drove around to get to the handicap spot and the guy was so mad at us. Waving his arms around yelling and what not. So when we got the chair out of the trunk, we made sure the purple heart was face the guy & once Bren got out the car Dave (Bren's friend who also came} said, "Yeah, I bet he feels real good about himself now." Not to mention when we go places and people star, I find myself staring them down and giving them the whole 'do you have a problem' face.

  2. Where in TN is "home" for y'all? We'd love to be able to meet y'all and give every one of you a great big hug! I give all my heroes "random drive-by hugs" periodically on facebook, but it would be such an honor to get to thank Chaz face to face, and to give his family a hug. We're about halfway between Ft. Campbell and Nashville. We are serious about supporting our deployed troops, our wounded warriors, and their families. Currently we have 23 Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen in Afghanistan and Iraq that we send care packages to, and have sent care packages to several spouses awaiting their loved one's return as well. Pity? No. Respect? Absolutely!!

  3. Ignore the few ignorants 'cause us here in 29Palms support and love you folks.Much love and a "BIG HUG!!!Official Hugger of USMC(TROOPS):)


  4. My dad always tells me to try and "not let the turkey's get you down." It's hard to do but he always told me that if you look at some of the ingnorant, uncaring people literally as turkeys it makes it a bit easier to overlook their ignorance. You are right--you are not victims--you and your family are SURVIVORS. You are in our prayers and my family in Alabama's prayers as well. Lots of hugs to you!

  5. Dawn McKalips WaltersAugust 8, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Oh Jessica, your blog had me laughing and teary eyed all at the same time. Your eloquence surely would touch the coldest, most self-centered heart. If no one else has suggested it let me be the first - turn all of this into a book. You, Chaz and your daughters continue in my prayers.

  6. I was just talking the other day with my son about your family...he said.."she should really write a book" Jessica~ my daughter goes to Tulip Grove Elementary, so I have been praying for your family from day 1..when an office worker told me about Chaz's accident!! When I think that you, Jessica can not possibly amaze me more, you do. You all have an inspiring strength and faith that is simply undescribable. Bless Chaz, Bless You, Bless those precious girls..but most of all Bless the example that your "new normal" is setting for the rest of us. ~Kelly Sullivan~