September 1st My Life with a Wounded Warrior will be released out into the world, available with the click of a button at the great Amazon supermarket of books. Now’s a good time to answer the question I have heard at least once a week since beginning this blog.
“What does Jack think about you sharing your personal lives with strangers and friends alike? Putting the struggles and frustrations and joys of life with his PTSD right out there, for everyone to see?”
When I started this blog, this written exploration into my marriage, I had reached the point where, for better or worse, things had to change, or they had to end. Now, because I’m as wonderfully flawed as anyone on this good earth, my assumption was that the changing was going to be done by Jack. Right? He’s the guy with the raging PTSD. Come on! Of course, he’s the one who needed to change.
But a funny thing happened on my journey, the actual writing of My Life with a Wounded Warrior.
Gut-wrenching-bleed-all-over-the-page honesty very often left me remembering the love, the joy, the shared laughter that had once been the base of our marriage. So, what started out as a kind of internet gripe session about the challenges of living with PTSD, quickly became a love song. I did not mean for that to happen.
My original goal for starting this blog was to give hope and understanding to other women who love men wounded emotionally by war. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That’s the label for what our warriors experience.
Of course, it’s not a disorder at all. PTSD is the natural reaction to going to war. The body shuts down, concentrates on survival, and there is so much adrenaline flowing that the survival instinct becomes embedded in the brains and chemistry and bodies of the men and women who enter into battle. Besides, like Jack, these veterans have seen and experienced images and events that we civilians can’t, in our worst nightmares, comprehend.
So, my goal in writing the book, in writing this blog, was to, through utter honesty, share my experiences with Jack and his PTSD in the hope of helping other women to better understand their warriors.
And, judging by the comments, that connection with other wives of veterans did absolutely occur. Which brings me great joy. But something completely unexpected happened also.
My arrangement with Jack is that he read every blog post before it’s published. Over time, through week after week of posts, for the first time in our twenty-five years together, Jack began to comprehend that I know who he is. He came to understand that I accept him. He, finally, GOT that I love HIM, not the man he wants to be, not the man I sometimes wish he was, but HIM.
And, here’s the kicker, I finally GOT it, too. Accepted that right here, day-to-day, with this big, stubborn, complicated, old Marine is where I need to be. Where I choose to be.
I love him. It’s really, after all these words, as simple as that.