Thursday, April 3, 2014

Behind the Picture....

I had to laugh when I saw that ABC News used this picture. There is such a great story behind it. This picture was actually one of the best days of our healing after our OIF PTS (Post-Traumatic Stress). To me it is a snapshot of a victory for us.

Chaz was in Iraq September 2005-06. That deployment was Hell, I mean Hell for us. That was the deployment that tried to take my husband, in more than one way. Chaz lost over 30 guys in that year. His friend Mac was killed and the "Green Incident" occurred. It really was a true breaking deployment for us. Chaz was battling everything there and I had a baby with every baby thing a baby could get and a 3 year old with almost uncontrollable asthma that at one point required breathing treatments every other hour for over 24 hours.

I remember noticing on his R&R he was different, but those 2 weeks flew by so it wasn't enough time to really see the difference. No the difference came home in September 2006.

My fun, silly husband was this angry, jumpy man I didn't recognize. He barked orders at us and got mad when the simplest things didn't go his way. I couldn't stand to be around him a lot of times. Cutie #1 screamed in his face all the time. Life was rough then. Worst of all, if you asked for help from the Army then, you were cast out like damaged goods. We knew we were on our own to figure it all out.

I fought for our marriage. I remember one day I told Chaz I wasn't leaving and that we were going to figure this all out and we needed time to do so. It was a day when he barked orders at me like I was his soldier. I just lost it.

Well the answer to us was moving, we needed a fresh start. But the Army locked us into Campbell so we were stuck. A Senior NCO got Chaz an interview with the NCO Academy. It was a long shot because his rating NCOs has crushed him with a Bronze Star denial and horrible NCOERs (performance reviews) all thanks to the "Green Incident" that he and so many others in the platoon had nothing to do with but they were sure getting messed up for it.

To make matters worse, we couldn't escape the Green Incident. Every time we turned around someone was talking about Green or Chaz was being called to testify. One day I lost it on the lawyer who showed up on our door step to ask us questions about everything. I slammed the door in her face and told her, to give Green back to Iraq and let them figure it out. No she never came back to our home. Yes I was rude and she was only doing her job. but I was just at my end with the Green case. I just wanted to put it all behind us.

We needed a fresh start, but the Army wouldn't let us leave Campbell. So we bought a new house in Clarksville in 2007. Then Chaz worked his ass off to get into the NCO Academy. That work paid off and he was invited to be an instructor. His schedule was 15 days on 4 days off, but he finally was able to spend time with us. And thanks to the Academy we finally had Federal holidays together and 2 weeks of leave every 6 months. I finally had my husband more than a few hours at night thanks to the Academy. Don't get me wrong those 15 days straight were rough, but time flew by and before we knew it another 15 day cycle was behind us.

During this time Chaz started dating me again. We had to find the times where it was just us. We had to find those places where we could find those kids who fell in love before 9-11 changed everything.

Chaz started "dating" Cutie #1. Their relationship was so strained we thought Daddy-Daughter dates would help a lot and they did. But Cutie #1 had a lot of resentment towards the Army. She was so smart even back then. She knew where Daddy's anger came from. She would talk to someone in civilian clothes, but not in uniform. She related Daddy's anger to the uniform. It was something else we knew we had to work on.We would have friends come over and get to know her without uniforms, then when they were in uniform she seemed to accept them. We had to ease her into knowing the uniform was just clothes. We even had to have Chaz change immediately when he got home to ease her stress.

Cutie #2 was only 2 when we moved and started over. Chaz had a blank slate with her. This might explain why they are so close even today. #2 showed Chaz a lot of love just for being present and he really needed that.

Two years later in August 2009, Chaz's term at the Academy ended. He worked so hard at healing our family and being a great instructor, he won NCO of the Cycle 4 times and then won the MG Aubrey "Red" Newman Award (the one around his neck in the picture). But this picture of Cutie #1 hiding is so funny. We tried to get a family picture again and again. But every soldier in the room was standing and applauding Chaz that made the girls panic. You see Cutie #1 is hiding in our legs and #2 is holding blankey and Doug as tight as possible with that thumb in her mouth. Chaz and I were laughing. They just did not understand what was going on. It was so stinking cute.

It was a very great day for us. We committed those two years to our family. Chaz went from bad NCOERs to winning awards. We learn that for us surviving PTS meant investing in our family's love. Are we healed? No, I really don't think you ever are fully healed from PTS. I think you learn how to cope.

Chaz and I think we have handled healing from his physical injuries so well because we already fought with PTS and won. We know how to respond to PTS when it rears its ugly head and know how to minimize the damage it can cause. Our battle with PTS is so very far from over, but we the love and support of each other we are ready to battle and win every time!


  1. Definitely a great photo.
    Psalms 63:5-8 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

  2. I'm here praying right now.
    Psalms 116:1-5 I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

  3. Know that I'm praying!
    Isaiah 12:2-5 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.

  4. There are such comforting words in Isaiah! Praying!
    Isaiah 25:8-9 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

  5. Praying in Seattle as always!
    Isaiah 41:10, 13 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (13) For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

  6. Praying!
    Isaiah 49:13-16a Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands...

  7. I'm always here praying!
    Isaiah 43:1-3a But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel...

  8. Even during the hardest trials of life the Lord is always there! Praying!
    Habakkuk 3:17-19 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places...

  9. We have hope because of what happened so many years ago this week. Jesus came and suffered in your place that all who believe might share eternity with Him! Praying as always!
    Isaiah 53:1-3 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

  10. Jesus knows everything you're going through! Praying!!!!!!!!!
    Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

  11. Christ went through all this for us, that we might have hope! Praying!
    Isaiah 53:7-10: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

  12. Christ suffered in our place that we might have the hope of Heaven! Always praying!
    Isaiah 53:11-12 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.