On our last trip home, we dubbed our home to be our "vacation" home. Why?! Well we are currently spending more time in Maryland then in the home we pay a mortgage on. Makes sense huh?! I am sure by now you have learned we make fun out of everything. That's just the way we heal.
To me our "vacation" home has also become a place of refuge. We can come here and not worry about all the craziness that constantly surrounds the wounded warriors. We don't have any place to go and no one that can get in our face and yell at us. You can call us all you want, but we don't have to answer. No we get to runaway from it all and have copies of the paperwork to prove it. Who would have ever thought our home would become our perfect vacation getaway destination?!
This morning as I was getting things done around our home, I began thinking about all the families who don't have a place of refuge. It was that moment that I thanked God for his timing. Chaz's incident came to our family while we were in a very good place in our lives. We don't know everything, but we've learned a lot. I can't help but think about all the things he put us through before we got here. God sure as heck knows what's he doing.
But what about those who have no place to go?! Many families were renting or living in military housing when their spouse was injured. So a few months after the injuries occurred, they packed up their things and moved it in all into storage and came to live in Maryland. Then we have parents who have lost their homes because they came to care for their injured child. They lost their job after FMLA ran out and now are facing foreclosure and/or bankruptcy. So I ask where do they go for refuge?! Their answer is their place the Army provides.
For those who don't know that is a very nice apartment unit in either Building 62 or 1200 East West. There are a few other options provided by non-profits that a few of our families use, but 62 and 1200 are where the majority of us live. I will tell you these options are waaaaayyy better then any Army housing I have ever seen in my 14 years as an Army wife. I was beyond impressed when I saw where they were putting us. But we live in the concrete jungle and that is just not a great place to heal.
Chaz will never admit it but Maryland drives him as crazy as it does me. I have no problem admitting it. We live on top of each other in a fourteen story apartment building. We have to park in crazy parking garages were idiots fly around the corners because they think what ever it is won't be there if they don't drive fast enough. Everyone there is in a hurry and seriously I don't even think they know what they are in a hurry for. I know there is more to Maryland then where we live. We have been through Maryland and Virginia and both are beautiful. But where we heal our warriors and their families is an crazy place that gets smothered in layers of crazy when you add in all we deal with on a daily basis.
We all need a place to getaway where the crazy can stop for a little bit. For us it's our "vacation" home, but for the majority of the wounded warriors and their families they don't have that place of refuge. So instantly I bet you thought well they can just go somewhere to get away. Well it's actually very hard to find ADA compliant places to stay. Trust me, we've encountered this more than once. We are going to Oklahoma in November and I began researching hotels. I finally called hotels.com for assistance and explained the situation and they were very happy to help. (So WW families call hotels.com for your travel needs). In the first search, there was only one hotel with one ADA compliant room within a 30 mile search and it's reviews were not good at all. We finally found one and we'll book it closer to time, but I will not be waiting too long that's for sure. But the point is ADA rooms are few and far between.
Can't you stay with family?! First very few people have homes that Chaz can get around comfortably. Currently no one off the top of my head has a home that would be easier for him to navigate then ours. Second, my Granddaddy always said, "You know what family and fish have in common? They both start to smell after three days." And he's so right. I am very stubborn and head strong. I cannot be a burden on someone else. I am set in my ways and I don't like having my routines messed with. I have to provide for my own family. And if I really like our relationship I am going to protect that by being around you in small doses. I like my space and I like having time with my three favorite people everyday away from others. Third, your family always means well, but before you know it they will become experts on healing a wounded warrior and then tempers will flare and disaster will strike. Chaz and I have been lucky. We haven't had this problem, but I can give you a very long list of families who have. These three things are my short list of why you don't stay with family.
So what do we do?! Well I am going to start researching trips and things for the WW families. I know that the Vail Veterans Program is the only program at the hospital that takes care of the whole family. All other programs are Wounded Warrior plus one. Well the Allens are plus three and you buy one get three free or it's a no-go. We have many other families in the same boat. So I am off to find places of refuge for them to runaway for a bit. Then once I find the places, then I'll be convincing them to go runaway! If you know or come across some please share them. Our families need breaks from the hospital.