Yesterday Brian was kind enough to share the second story TF1 did on our family. I love this video and let me tell you why....
Despite all the criticism, I waited almost two months to take the girls to see Chaz. Since day one of this journey, I have found myself thinking about how they must feel. It's no secret I have sheltered our girls as much as possible. I think any mother wearing my shoes would.
Thanks to the nurses in Germany, I knew what Chaz would look like when I saw him. I was incredibly scared to see him for the first time. I knew it would be pretty bad and I just couldn't contemplate letting our little girls, who were 5 and 8 at the time, see him in that state. I took off to Walter Reed in DC on January 26, 2011 and left the girls with my Mom.
I knew the right thing to do was see to Chaz and assess the situation before bringing the girls in. I knew his mental state was excellent and I needed him to help me make the right choices. The decisions that we had to make were horrible. There was not one easy choice during the first few months of our journey. Heck who am I kidding, we haven't had an easy choice this entire journey. I knew had to keep our family apart for a while in order to do what was best, so I did. Chaz didn't like this decision anymore than I did, but we agreed that was what had to be done.
We had decided in
January to bring the girls up to see him on their Spring Break. We worked so
hard with our medical team, OT, PT, social worker and child
psychologist to put a reunion plan together. Chaz decided he wanted to be tube free before seeing the girls. We thought the
fewer the tubes, the less frightened they would be. Chaz and his team made that
happen. He was down to a only PICC line when the girls saw him.
In the meantime, every Wednesday I was in Reagan National and Nashville International Airports switching off between Chaz and the girls and it sucked. One Wednesday I would get up, take the girls to school, catch my plane and be with Chaz by lunch. Then I'd spend a week with him, have lunch with him, and that Wednesday and catch an afternoon flight and be with the girls by dinner time. This went on from January 26 to May something. Thanks to Hero Miles, I was able to make our plan work and not drain our emergency fund.
Each step of the way I was criticized by family, friends, medical staff and strangers for our decision to keep them away from each other. It was our decision, not my decision. Yes I came up with the plan, but Chaz and I decided together that this was what the girls needed. However all of the blame fell on me. I was labeled as a horrible person for being so selfish and keeping Chaz from his girls and for keeping the girls from their Dad. People forgot that the Army kept Chaz away from his girls for over half of their lives. People failed to realized we were raising Infantry daughters. Our girls were thrilled that they could call their Daddy now. They had never had that option before. Not seeing Dad was truly just another day to them. Not seeing him so early on, kept their worries to a minimum. These details were not factoring into the critics minds. No instead they saw a guy with no legs and a woman keeping his daughters from him.
Somehow I blocked them all out. I put myself in a "heal my family" tunnel. All I cared about was Chaz's opinion. He didn't want the girls to see him in the state he was in. He confided all of his feelings in me and as his wife it was my job to make sure his wishes were carried out. So many people somehow felt like they knew what to do in my situation. It was a hard eight weeks of back and forth. Very few people gave a crap about the weight I was carrying. Very few cared about the fact that I was wearing myself out to make it all work. Instead the people who should have cared and listened just kept piling their doubts and criticisms on my back. I remember the day when I seriously felt like I was drowning. I wanted to give up. I was literally in the hallway of Hell. The only problem was I didn't have time to break down. The three loves of my life needed me. So instead I put my big girl panties on and literally told a few people to f-off. (It felt pretty great, by the way.)
On March 20, 2011, our little family was reunited for the first time post injury. We were reunited in the living room of the Fisher House we stayed at while at WRAMC. You'll see in the video that I had to give the girls another little pep talk in the car. I wanted to remind them of what they would see. You'll see the girls and I rush in and you'll see me tear up. Those tears are a part of this beautiful moment where I realized that Chaz and I are one heck of a team. I realized that all the critics can just kiss my ass. I realized that only those three people in that room at that moment were all that mattered. The smiles on our little girls' faces told me that Chaz and I had made all the right choices.
On March 21, 2011, Chaz stood up for the first time. Michel and Gilles captured this moment for us as well. You'll see Michel try to talk to me, but I couldn't talk. I was just so thankful. I was thankful for technology and medicine that was helping to heal my family. I was thankful for so many things that made that moment possible. Words cannot express how thankful we are to Hero Miles and the Fisher
House Foundation for all they have done to help us make the moments on this video possible. I was just swallowed by the blessings the Lord had given us and couldn't help but cry.
I hope you enjoy my behind the scenes thoughts. I'd get some tissues ready if I were you, I needed them. Here's the link...https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4764930929272
Thanks again to Brian for sharing these videos! I am thankful that someone else thinks stories like ours need to be told!