I have always believed the little guy needs someone to help them fight. I am famous for playing Devil's Advocate. I like to flip things around and make people think. It is so hard for us to come out of our tunnels and think about others sometimes. We so often get caught up in our daily lives and totally forget about others.
I joined organizations in high school just so I could give back. I joined Girl Scouts as part of a family tradition. It was Girl Scouts that taught me to leave the world better than I found it. I was in Beta Club, National Honor Society and Key Club, plus a few more, just so I could give back to the community. Then in college I joined Ambassadors so I could travel around and share our school with others. Then I joined Kappa Delta so I could help give back to Girl Scouts and help kids.
In the Army, we are in our little bubble. We automatically take care of each other when something goes wrong. I can't tell you how many times one of my friends' husbands fixed our fence or helped me do something to the house because Chaz was deployed. But this wounded warrior stuff is so different.
First you have to fight to get every bit of information you can on your loved one. Then you have to fight to find out what organizations are out there to help. You can never let your guard down. You never know when your soldier will slip through the cracks and then either his medical care or part of the paperwork doesn't go through like it was supposed to. You also can't let people in too closely, because some of them are out for themselves and they want to use your family. You learn very quickly who cares about paying it forward and who's out for themselves.
This road is so incredibly hard. I told Chaz I understand why the wives leave. I am not saying that it's right and I am not going anywhere. But in all honesty we are asked to do way too much. We are asked to give up everything we have known and do things we have no knowledge of doing. Chaz was discharged to my care and technically I joined the Army. I am responsible for his meds, I am responsible for his Army/VA paperwork. I am responsible for getting him to his appointments. In addition I have to make sure our bills our paid, our house in TN is taken care of, and making sure our girls stay happy and healthy.
For over 12 years, I handled all the household things (bills, repairs, etc) while Chaz focused on his job. I didn't want him to worry about house stuff. I wanted him mission focused. I wanted him to always be on his A game so his was ready to lead his men in to war. I wanted him in the best mental shape possible so he would make it back home to us. But now I have to help with the world I never dove into before.
Someone asked me once "How was your marriage before his injury?" Our marriage has always been great. Chaz and I communicate very well. Before we got married, we sat down and planned out our goals. We have 2, 5, 10, 20 and 40 year goals. Of course they been readjusted over the course of our marriage and those 2 and 5 year goals have pretty much been tossed in the trash for right now. We have just a few goals right now, heal our family, build a house that's suitable for Chaz's needs and move on with our happily ever after.
Someone else asked me the other day, "How do you do all of this?" My answer is I seriously don't know. I wake up everyday and I look at my hubby and kids and just go. I know this is God's plan. I don't know why we have to endure this, but one day we'll look back and understand it. For right now we have to keep moving forward. Everyday I wake up and walk in faith knowing this is where I am meant to be. I still have my happily ever after it's just been altered a little.
Someone else asked me, "Why are you fighting so much? Why don't you just let the Army handle it?" Well if I waited on the Army to do things, Deryn wouldn't be here (we had to wait for the mid-wife to come to work so I could deliver her). The Army has a few things to deal with everyday. You have to remind them that you exist or they will forget! Do they do it on purpose? No I don't think so. I think the Army is ran by humans and we humans tend to need reminders.
So why do I fight? I am fighting for the wife who was married for less than 2 years, has a new baby and is so overwhelmed and confused, but loves her hubby so much she is willing to fight to make it work.
I fight for the mom who has 5 kids. She raised them all alone because their Dad left. Her son was injured and she gave her youngest 3 kids to her sister so she can advocate for her injured son. Her oldest child is serving in the Navy. She was just fired from her job because she has been away too long.
I fight for the girlfriend who just graduated college and got her first job. She left that job to come heal a boyfriend who just discovered an IED. They are deeply in love. She knows that first dream job will now have to wait.
I fight for the mom whose son was shattered by an IED but they saved him. He is a triple amputee. His wife left during week 2 because she couldn't take it. The son has been an inpatient for over a year.
I fight for the soldier whose wife couldn't deal with his injuries nor the Army and just left with their 3 kids. He has no idea where they are because she, nor her family won't return his calls.
Now you have 5 more glimpses into why I fight. Wouldn't you?! Don't you want to make sure these heroes are taken care of? Wouldn't you scream to be heard so these others could also receive? Wouldn't you demand to make it better? We have a great system in place, we just need to iron out a few wrinkles.
Chaz and I are so lucky. First, Chaz's injuries could have been so much worse. Second, he and I know the military system really well. Third, we have zero tolerance for BS. Fourth, we love to pay it forward to others. Combine all these together and the drive to succeed and we can really be a blessing for others. I know that most people wouldn't do what we're doing. But we're not most people. We want to serve as examples for our daughters. We want them to also want to make the world a better place. The best way for them to learn is for us to show them.
Want to help us help others? Tell someone today about some of the stories I mentioned. Tell someone that our wounded don't give up. Tell someone how amazing they are. If you can send a card or a care package and send it to them. If you can, donate to Fisher House, Hero Miles, Operation Troop Aid, Operation Second Chance, The Yellow Ribbon Fund, or Our Military Kids. We have worked with these awesome organizations and we stand behind them and what they do for our troops and their families! Most importantly pray for us and support us. You don't have to support the wars, but please support our troops. They are just doing their jobs. Trust me they don't want to be overseas anymore that we want them over there. But they have bills to pay and want to take care of their families. So please, please, please support the little guy. It's really hard to walk in these shoes for so long!!