I was once told the best conversations in the whole wild, world happen on a rocking chair on a front porch in the South. Of course being from Tennessee, I totally agree with this statement. While we were home I had one of these talks with one of the greatest women in the world, my mom.
I was sharing with her that I find it easier to bond with the moms of the single soldiers than I do with the wives sometimes. I was telling her that once a wife looked at me and said, "I didn't sign up for this." I told her, "Well actually you did. It was in that "in sickness and in health and that til death do us part" piece of that vows." That wife did leave her husband a few months later and he and no one else never heard from her again.
So many of them leave. They are so young and just can't handle it. I get it. It's so hard to deal with all of this. There are so many components that make being a wounded warrior's wife almost impossible. But what's even harder is helping someone heal when their first choice of caregiver turns their back on them. This has happened to many, many parents of our wounded.
These parents who are here healing their children are the ones who steal my heart almost instantly. They give up everything that they had worked so hard for so they can heal their injured child. They lose their jobs, homes, friends and sometimes everything. Some of them had to choose between their retirement fund and healing their child. Some of them choose between their child and their husband. Some of them have to choose between children. This happens when their oldest is injured and they are the one who has to come care for them. The younger children are left back home and are passed around to various families and friends who jump on board to help the injured families make it all work. This keeps happening again and again. The parents of our wounded are really the ones who did not sign up for this. I told a good friend that I feel like they were all drafted into this war.
While we were on the front porch, my mom said the second time around is the hardest. She was referring to how hard it was watching her grandchildren grow up and become independent. She then went on to say she can't imagine how these moms feel. To a degree, they are raising their child all over again. Or at a minimum they are getting their child back to themselves prior to injury. My mom went on to say that she can't imagine seeing your child injured so severely, then healing them, and then the Army or your child tells you to go away. She asked what's being done for the parents. The answer is very little.
So now you ask why? Well parents have a very hard time putting themselves first. They will do whatever their child and the military tells them to do because they are being told that's what's best. We all put so much focus on our warriors that we get in our healing tunnel and keep on trucking and totally forget about ourselves. Then due to military policies, the parents are excluded from so much. There are exceptions to policy, but the parents have to be vocal to get it. But the parents are exhausted and they just go without. To me the parents of our wounded never stop sacrificing because more than likely one day they will let their baby fly away again and they have to sit back and hope for the best. So the second time around has got to be so incredibly hard.