We Are Not Alone

Monday, February 24, 2014

A few hours ago, our ferry made landing at Edmonds. We are now safe and warm back in our home, and I have to admit, it feels a little alien to me. For the past two days, we have been at the Wounded Warrior Symposium on Naval Base Kitsap. We attended a Health and Wellness Day on Sunday and today focused on families and storytelling.

As a psychotherapist-who has been a little out of practice in the traditional sense, I might add-I had forgotten how critical our narratives are to the formation and transformation of our identities. It was so powerful to listen-and to tell. I did not realized how burdened I felt until a fellow attendant asked me how it happened, and I just let the wellspring open. It was powerful, and it was so freeing. I realized, and said as much to my gracious listener, that it is a story I do not get to tell often, even though I live its consequences every day.

I still feel compressed from all of the information we received and bearing witness to the growth and change that so many ill, injured, and wounded Warriors were and still are facing. It's humbling, and it is utterly heartbreaking. I can see how inspiring it is, but in all honesty, I am not sure that either of us were ready or prepared to hear that message yet. We still feel like we are starting at the gate. All in due time, I suppose.

It has been an emotional couple of days. The hubs is asleep now. His pain management was, well, unmanaged, for lack of a better way to put it. When you put a stubborn sailor in a setting that involves authority and formality, you are going to get a sailor who is going to bite down and try to bear it in order to maintain that persona that took so long to indoctrinate. Not to mention getting little miffed when his wife asks if he wants help. Though it was difficult, it felt good to find out I wasn't alone in this struggle. And neither is he.

Eventually, Jeff realized that elevation is still critical to his pain management. I think we both believed he was further along in his recovery. Maybe it was a little too soon to start attending big events. Who knows. We're both glad we did, and now that we are both home and Jeff can rest comfortably again, we can process everything we heard and learned.

The take-away message for me this weekend has been that we are not alone. I am looking forward to getting more involved in Jeff's recovery, now that we know what options are available. It's more than just surgical post-op follows ups and physical therapy. There is a community out there, trying their damnedest to make sure that every Wounded Warrior can regain and restore their well-being, and I will be grateful for them every day that I am alive.

You know who you are: Thank-you for your service.


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