Your entire town has fallen victim to such a incomprehensible tragedy. I cannot fathom how you feel right now. I have no idea what it is like to come under direct fire and run for my life, but my husband and many of our friends do. As an Army wife of over a decade and now the wife of a wounded warrior, I do know too well what it's like to pick up the pieces and begin to heal from a traumatic event that turns your life upside down.
Our service members are trained for combat before they deploy. I can assure you no matter how many times they encounter life threatening situations like you recently experienced, they are never really ready for the next one until it is upon them. You experienced a situation incredibly close to combat. I cannot imagine what that was like for you. I have listened to the stories of what my husband and his men have been through and can only imagine how is must feel to free for your life. I know that you have experience the moment where are you can think of is, am I going to get to go home and see my loved ones. My husband has felt this feeling many times and so have countless other service members.
Everyday we have new families join us on the path to the new normal and unfortunately we now get to welcome you. This journey of healing is a crazy roller coaster. You'll never know when the next hairpin turn will come your way. I am so sorry to tell you that there is no way to prepare for this journey. No, instead you just have to hang on and try to make it to the next stop.
I hate to be the barer of bad news, but there is no expiration date for this journey. You will have to deal with the ramifications randomly appearing for the rest of your lives. You will have no warning. Things you once took for granted can become triggers for a relapse. You'll never see it coming, but you will learn how to cope and deal with the events as they appear.
I must admit I am jealous of you. You know the face of the person who changed your lives forever. I have no doubt our justice system will punish him for his crimes. But I and many other families will never know who was the person who changed our lives forever. We can only create an image of them in our minds.
You see, my husband stepped on an IED and changed our lives forever. We will never have justice. We will only have healing. Like countless other wounded warrior families, we will never know who caused our service members injuries. We do know it was their way of defending their home and their way of life. We will have to just accept that our service member chose to serve our country and that this was a consequence we were willing to chance.
You will know the face of who changed your life. Our law enforcement will find them and they will be prosecuted. You will have some sort of justice. However, you'll probably never really know why. So we each will still have questions that will never be answered.
We will have to band together in order to heal. We can band together through our tragedies. This is the beauty of being an American. Someone can try to tear us down, but we will heal and become stronger because of it.
Families of Aurora, you can learn a lot from our American military families. Our Gold Star, Wounded Warrior and Blue Star families understand healing and hope. We understand loss, injuries, post traumatic stress, survivor's guilt and so much more. We understand all of this because we have over a decade of experience dealing with it. I invite you to reach out to our families and allow us to help you heal. The exact circumstances may differ, but we are all Americans and together we can heal and move forward.