Wow, has it really been a month since I last had the chance to post? ::::dusts off keyboard:::::
I’ll get to my excuses in a minute. First I want to share an important video.
On September 1st, an article came out in the American Legion magazine that included part of my story. I’d like to share it with you along with the video that supplements the piece. Then I’d like to share some behind-the-scenes insights about it.
American Legion Magazine
In the shadow of record military suicide numbers, spouses and children face it, themselves.
Read the story by Ken Olsen: Quiet Crisis
Listen to the story: 09 – Quiet Crisis.mp3
Watch the supplemental video (and grab a tissue):
Behind the scenes:
Since this video aired, I’ve received hundreds of comments. They were all positive, but many were heartbreaking. This is an epidemic that has gone unnoticed for far too long. Many people have been in my shoes. The whole point of sharing this story was to bring much-needed awareness. The outcome was overwhelming.
The video culminated from 4.5 hours of interviews and filming. There’s so much more to tell but not enough time to cover everything that needed to be said. That’s why I am writing a book.
I believe the journalist did an amazing job on this story, and the videographer captured the human element precisely. I am grateful for their kindness and professionalism in the making of this documentary.
Despite this video going around the internet, showing up on my Facebook page for days at a time with hundreds of shares and triple the comments, I was saddened with the fact that not one person in my family or Dan’s offered any comments, likes or behind-the-scenes support. It was a month before one of Dan’s aunts posted anything about it (she cited that it wasn’t well publicized – but she is STILL the only family member to make any mention). I don’t know if that means I need to do a better job of publicizing my most intimate moments, or if that means their silence is for other reasons. I’ve been accused of self promotion by my own family, so my guess, especially in light of the info in the next paragraph, means they know about it but have chosen to remain silent.
Why I disappeared from my blog for almost a month
As if to prove my ability to deal with stress since that dark time in my life — and to show that our lives are not easy by any means — the reason(s) I have been virtually absent from this part of the internet is as follows:
- After dropping out of school when Dan was injured, I returned to college on a full-time basis. After a 9-year absence, I am now an online student at Southern New Hampshire University. My degree program is a BA in Creative Writing with a non-fiction concentration. So far I’ve got A’s in all my classes.
- The day I started school (9/3/13, just two days after the video aired) our youngest son broke both bones in his lower right leg. That has been quite a stressor for the entire family. I was given crutches that were too big and after waiting a week for a walker, I finally had to bring out the big guns to get what my son needed to remain mobile. If it weren’t for members of our American Legion, who donated a walker and modified his too-tall crutches, we would have been screwed. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love the American Legion?). My son will be in a cast for an estimated 12 weeks. That means I’ve been driving 4 hours round trip for his weekly appointments. That doesn’t include all the OTHER appointments our family of 7 has.
- September 11th came and went. This means my husband has officially entered what we call his ‘anniversary period’. The nightmares are coming full force. His cognitive abilities have decreased at the same rate his anxiety has increased. He requires much more of my time.
- There were multiple suicides affecting our warrior community. I’ve been involved in helping a few families deal with other losses relating to traumatic car accidents and losses of their loved ones. It takes the stuffing out of anyone, and my heart aches for these families on a daily basis.
- My birth family created an incredible amount of stress for me, dragging me into drama that I tried to put behind me over the last few years. In summary, my parents are in their end of days (and that’s hard enough to deal with) but managing my contact with them has been difficult. Two of my siblings have made me the poster child of ‘how to screw up loving your parents properly’. I told one of my sisters to fuck off, publicly. I am done. Absolutely done. I’ll have to deal with them when I have the time and energy. Right now is just not that time.
- Another documentary is coming out this Monday that Dan and I are featured in. I’ve been working on the final touches for the release, fact checking, etc. The New York Times will be distributing it through the film maker, Retro Report. Stay tuned …it comes out September 30th!
There’s more, but as you can see it’s been a very concentrated month of stress and increased obligations. As I said in the video, I deal with a lot in our life – I really do – but at least I have the coping skills to deal with the stress and can get through it.
I hope you will appreciate my message in the video. I pray that we don’t lose more veterans or their family members to this vicious predator called suicide. And, I hope Dr. Hasan burns in hell. (He was sentenced to death since I last posted and I am still processing my emotions about the damage he did to me and the victims of the Fort Hood shooting.)
I’m still working on letting things go and moving on with my life. That’s the next segment of my blog…a disclosure of decisions I am making in my own life to bring it to the next stage.
Because if there is one thing I’ve learned from my horrible mistakes is this: Life DOES go on.