You will forever be our goose…..

………Sometimes who teaches us the most about kindness and humanity isn’t even human. For us, this is you Deuce. You have been a part of our family when we were one family living under one roof. You continued to be a part of our family after we were still one family but living under 2.

          You have been Tj’s best friend for his entire childhood life, he doesn’t have a chapter of his life without you in it. Jeremy, found comfort in you when he was feeling socially anxious, for him you were the most perfect dog, because you always knew his heart. And for Daniel you have been his keeper, his salvation, his eyes and ears when his failed him so, he has never known such a faithful companion. And for me….. oh deuce for me you have been the guard of all things that go boom in the night. You have slept on the foot of my bed when I couldn’t lay still because of my anxiety. You’ve listened for the sound of my heart beat, you’ve laid your head on my lap in desperate attempts to calm my irrational fears. You’ve loved me when I would take you out running, and you’ve loved me when I’ve been on the floor in tears. You always liked my cooking when not everyone else did, I thank you for that. But most of all I thank you for being a best friend to both my kids. And I thank you for saving their dad, for giving him purpose, love and a friendship. There are so many humans that will leave this earth without being 10% of what you have been for us. Deep down we all knew you wouldn’t live long enough to make it through every chapter of our lives, but we hoped so. Thank you for waiting by the window all day on Tj’s first day of kindergarten…. Thank you for making him feel like he was the most loved 5 year old when he walked in the door. You will always be his goosey-baby. Thank you for sleeping outside of Jeremys bedroom door when he was scared of sleeping in his own room. Thank you for walking tj to the bathroom in the middle of the night when he was being potty trained, and he was afraid of the dark. Thank you for saving our lives from all those cats, birds, rabbits, and squirrels…. Maybe you were right, maybe they would have killed us all. Thank you for being patient, loving, and safe. You will miss the chapter of Tj going to middle school, and Jeremy graduating high school and going off to college. I always envisioned you in the car the day we dropped him off at his dorm. Me and you won’t get to share a new cap and gown picture, we won’t get to celebrate another cold Christmas with you sleeping next to the tree.  While you will miss these chapters, I hope somewhere in doggy heaven you too get a replay of your life as a dog, and I hope you see how dearly you were loved.  I hope that wherever dogs go after they leave this terrible earth is wonderful, full of open fields, and parks that don’t require leashes, and stuck up humans aren’t allowed. I hope you get to run free and fast, and most of all I hope here and there you think of us.

 

Missing you in every chapter that will follow, I hope you meet me at the gates…. Because that’s how I’ll know I’m safe…..

-Your human mom.

Why the bird sings at dawn

I’m here again… in that space. Somewhere between living in everyone’s happy reality and my devastating truth. Again, like every other time the costume I am forced to wear daily feels heavy. This time the feeling of sadness has manifested its way into 4am vomiting sessions. As if my body is saying, I can no longer hold all of this anxiety inside anymore, so its looking for a way to get it out. It never helps. Nothing ever helps. Maybe that is my reality. Maybe all of the Pintrest quotes that talk about ways to make it better and to help it go away are all lies. Made up on the other side of the screen by some obnoxious blonde with a latte in her hand. Something trendy, something cute, maybe even something hopeful.

Leaving me feeling more like a failure than before. See if I cannot take these trendy advice pictures being posted and somehow magically change my life then I have failed. But the real question is do these things actually work for anyone? I had someone tell me recently to go do things that will help minimize my anxiety… they even came up with a list. Hell if I recall what the list entailed because all I could think about was how incredibly tired my soul felt at listening to all the ideas he had. And like usual, I remain quiet and pretend to entertain them. For I know, I will do none of these things.

In my recent days I have come to the conclusion that my life will always be this way. Because there isn’t enough money, success, or even health that can reprogram my brain. I have come to the conclusion that maybe I will always be unable to feel happiness. Maybe like my vitamin D deficiency I also have a happiness one too. As if my brain and body is unable to absorb that as well. They don’t sell happiness in pill form, numbness yes, but not happiness. Usually I end these things on a positive note, I don’t have one of those today…. I haven’t had one for 22 days to be exact. But I can leave you with something precious my friend shared with me:

 

“Do you know why birds sing just before dawn?

Scientist believe its to tell their mates that they have made it though the night, as a way of saying “I’m still here”

Maybe that’s why we sing too, why we write, why we create art…. As a way of saying I MADE IT. I AM STILL HERE!

 

THIS BLOG HERE SAYS, I MADE IT. I AM STILL HERE AND IF YOURE READING THIS, IT MEANS YOU TOO HAVE MADE IT. WE ARE STILL HERE.

 

-A

“As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, so too will my heart only beat for you”

You know who you are,

I’ve never been good at this faith, hope, and love thing that’s printed all over everyone’s walls. I’ve always been one that struggles with all three. Perhaps that’s because I never fully understood all three until you. You taught me faith, you showed me what hope looks like, and most of all love. You showed me what love actually feels like.  In my darkest times I always struggled with love, my first go around I thought love was easy. Until I realized it was all just an act that I fell for (I know you know what I mean). Now at this age I see that love is hard. The act of loving is easy, the emotions are easy. The struggle of love though is difficult. It means ups and downs, it means more losses than wins at times. And my logical side can’t seem to understand that. My logical side can’t seem but to question my faith, because why would god ever remove the chance of happy away from two people that have already been through so much? You never question your faith, its what I admire the most. But everything in this life needs a balance, even us two. You my dear are strong, level headed, always consistent, and you always walk in your faith and trust in god. And I….. well I am not you. I am strong, and emotionally driven, stubborn, and I choose to fight for what I love even if god says I cannot have it yet. And when both of these humans who are so different come together they create something truly amazing. For you keep me safe, and I keep you wild. You keep me on track and I make you laugh. I doubt my faith but I chose to walk in the shadow of yours because life has taught me it is safe there. But in the end, I fight for you, as you fight for me. As of now we have been denied the chance of living out our happily ever after. And while I know it hurts you, you have a great poker face. I don’t have that, I’ve been walking in the latest hours with my heart heavy… my faith diminished, and I am questioning god so much I need my own “21 questions” song. And you remain steady as always, you are forever my rock. But me…. I am not made like you. I think I was sent in your life to do the dirty work lol, to fight for you and for us when logic prevails in your mind but emotion over runs mine. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I do believe in soul mates. Two people who are so incredibly different yet so much the same in views and beliefs, two people that no matter how much the world tries to keep them apart they keep finding themselves right back to where they left off. As if the world is unaware that as long as we both walk this earth, you and I will always have unfinished business. I do not know what gods plan is for me any more than you know what it holds for you. But what I do know is that no matter where those roads lead, you will always be my home, and I will be yours. And maybe as I write this out, god can hear my pleads for I have promised him that I will love and cherish you for the rest of my days… sometimes I think that isn’t enough for him. Or maybe it is and the timing isn’t right. And as I cry all over this keyboard, I cant help but to be grateful, for you taught me love. Complete unselfish, crazy, painful, difficult, wonderful, love. You taught me what standing next to someone actually looks like. Until we see what fate has in store for us, I hope you know you are forever the Clyde to my Bonnie, the better parts of me, my best friend, my soulmate, and the reason I am who I am today.

I vow to always keep you wild… for as long as you keep me safe.

With the most love a broken heart can hold,

-A

Moments of Impact.

Once in a book I read, I came across a sentence that said our lives are all measured, changed, and can be forever altered by “moments of impact”. I am not a stranger to moments of impact, divorce, grief, loss and heartache, for me all of these have been those moments. Last week that changed, and writing this down is so much harder than I thought it would be. Last week I almost lost my mother, to some rare blink of an eye infection that began to quickly take over her body. That was my moment of impact. People always talk about how fragile life is, the reality of that for me became too hard to bare. In the days spent next to her in the hospital room I began to realize all the things I had taken for granted. Yes, I said it. Granted. Because somewhere in my selfish little head I assumed my mom would live forever. Until the doctors told me that forever could be ending in the next 72 hours. You see, that is the shortest forever I have ever experienced. And my heart is simply not prepared enough to handle a loss that great. In the days that have passed I have realized that there is only one human on this entire planet that has known me since before I took my first breath. No one on this earth knows every detail about me the way my mother does. From food to telling my moods from across the room, there is no other person who will ever walk this earth that will know me the way she does. Staring at the fact that I may lose that was a reminder that I would be left on this earth, alone. With a void so large, I became utterly sure that if she passed, I would die of heartbreak and sadness. You see I am not ready yet, I am not ready to be without my mom. I am not adult enough, mature enough, I haven’t mastered every recipe, I haven’t learned all about life and resiliency yet from her. God re-gifted me the gift of time, I plan to use this to the best of my ability.

love,

-A

I almost thanked you for teaching me something about survival. Then I remembered the ocean never handed me the gift of swimming. I GAVE IT TO MYSELF!

Loving him was the destruction of my soul. Saving him from his demons took over my daily life. And fear became my companion. While I wish I could say this has changed, it truly hasn’t.

How do you ever stop worrying about someone you shared 12 years with?

How do you stop worrying about the father of your children?

I don’t think you ever do. This is often when the guilt rolls in, once a marriage is over that person is no longer your responsibility. They are no longer your “problem”, for those out there like me… They know that is never the case. It becomes nearly impossible to go from being the person who comforted them from their fears, held their hand, and stood next to them no matter how hard life was…..to nothing. When I made the decision to diovrce him I had every intention of making him part of my past, never looking back. Instead I still find myself helping when necessary, benefits, VA claims, heart to heart conversations. The constant, he will probably never admit it, but I am still his stability. While many say “you’re a god send. And the best ex-wife anyone could have” I feel like a jackass. Like most, I struggle to define those boundaries and it has been a process.

I guess I have my own version of survivor’s guilt. While he didn’t die, we lost him too. And there is a part of me that struggles every time I find myself doing well. As if somehow I don’t deserve it because I left the man I vowed to be with. At times I feel guilty because he should be here by my side celebrating my successes. Other times I find myself being harder on myself because if I chose to leave him, to break up my family then it has to be for something great. So I work hard, I study harder, and I strive to be the most stable mom I can be. I am my children’s only stability. And lord knows I would give up anything and everything if I could find a magical cure for him so my children could have an emotionally stable dad. Yet; looking back, I did give up everything and like many of you out there it wasn’t enough. None of us are capable of resorting a human, hell we’re barely capable of fully restoring ourselves. The road to healing has been ever so difficult. I have never felt so alone, so afraid, so empty. As if I gave him the best parts of me, and I no longer have those to give myself.

But there is always progress if you work hard enough at it. I am about to hit 2 years without anti-depressants & anxiety medication. My daily reminder is to try and be at least half as kind to myself as I was to him. He deals with severe trauma and PTSD, but guess what?

So do I,

SO DO WE!!!

 

You are never alone,

-A

Dear White Bus,

In my younger years I had a love hate relationship with those white busses. On one hand I hated them because they would take what was most valuable to me. Yet; on the other hand it was those same busses that would return what I loved the most. Like I said, this was in my younger years. Back when I was still naïve. In these days homecomings were the romantic part of a Nicholas Sparks novel, the 3 doors down song playing on the radio…. “I’m here without you” …they were the news channels reporting on homecomings. Like I said, naïve. The truth is I didn’t expect the return of the buses to represent nights full of paranoia, lack of sleep, night sweats, screams for no reason, and fists through walls. No one told us about that side of the homecoming. No one told us the deployment would enter our homes. Or maybe they did, and we refused to believe it. Again, naïve. As the years passed, my relationship with these buses began to evolve from hate-love, to love-fear, to fear- fear, and now simply to hate-hate.

The fear turned into hatred when I began to realize that every time these busses would take something I cared about they would return it different, tormented, and broken. And with time, the eyes I used to love to look into became lifeless. And he was always living in that twilight area, somewhere between here with us, and there with his brothers…. The ones that weren’t so lucky, the ones he couldn’t save. Enter survivor’s guilt. Me and his children a constant reminder of how underserving he was to have lived, to have a family, to be happy. At times it felt as if we were at fault for the pain he was feeling, we were a constant reminder that he was alive, and without knowing it, we killed him more from the inside.

The fantasy of these busses was short lived. And this is why to this day the sight of them, makes me want to vomit.

Love,

Your most tortured fanatic.

-A

I like storms. They let me know that even the sky SCREAMS SOMETIMES

Thank you for all the amazing feedback, shares, and emails about PTSD following my last blog.  I received the same questions multiple times “How did you keep calm? Did you ever feel angry? or just sad?” So here you go dear readers.

I WAS PISSED! Not always at my ex-husband, sometimes at life, god, the Marine Corps. So I’m gonna say what many of us women married to men who served in combat and struggle with PTSD find it hard to say. I was pissed off too! I felt cheated and resentful. Yes, wearing the uniform comes with a sacrifice, NO SHIT! No one knows this more than the families, the ones left behind. But we did it, I did it. I watched him pack up his bags time after time, and each time I waited for the man I swore to stand beside. You know what the problem was with that? That the man I fell in love with 10 years prior was no longer that man, every time he came back he was different. It was like we were losing him each time a little more. With each day that passed, he became more detached…. more reckless… he drank more, he became angry all the time, irritable… paranoid. He looked like the man I fell in love with, he smelled like him, he smiled like him, and every now and then he would come back just long enough to remind me why I loved him. And as quickly as he came back to us, he was gone again. Mentally and emotionally gone… tortured. Anger, yes. That is what I felt. How dare you take a man who means the world to us and send him back like this! Empty and soulless… angry.  And after a while the anger consumes you too. How? simple you are no longer normal. You too are damaged, wounded, paranoid, scared. Your own fears become irrational. I recall one sunny afternoon the door bell rang, and when I opened the door to our brand new house there was a package with his name on it. The so called “problem with this package” was there was no return label on it. While most of us would open the box… life wasn’t that simple. Life was now scary and dangerous. I remember the sound of his voice, angry… “Get the fuck away from the box! Don’t fucking touch it!” I remember looking at him and saying “just open the box”. His response… “NO. stay inside the house!” after what seemed like ages, he carefully and meticulously opened the box. Inside it…. Brownies! from out Real Estate Agent along with a congratulations note. Brownies. It was a fucking baked good! His reaction to him was justified. “What if I didn’t burn my mail all the way and they have our address! What if they know who my family is?” Well dear ex-husband… WHO THE FUCK WERE THEY!!???!! And why are you so fucking crazy! God there were so many times when I wanted to shake him and say “Snap out of it! you are a fucking retard! there is nothing to be scared of”. And yet, I would silently stare at him and nod my head. I knew better than to ask questions about it, he’s been clear before. “I don’t want to think about the things I’ve seen, so why the hell would I tell you? why put those thoughts in your head”. They were his secrets. The secrets I longed so badly for, why couldn’t he fucking tell ME! and his friends or shall we call them “his brothers” they knew it all. I was envious, jealous, I began to dislike them. How do they know more about the man I married then I do? Why am I the one tortured and left with no answers? Great, you all have this club, you know everything about what you went through over there. But guess what? While you all had each other, I WAS ALONE!. Shit I’m still alone. See what happens is, as time goes by and he gets help…. he talks about the things he saw, he did, he lived though. But what about me? who helps me deal with thoughts and memories that weren’t even mine to begin with.I carry these, silently… like weights tied to my heart, engraved in every part of my soul. And there are times when I curse his fucking name, and I hate him for all he was put on me, for contaminating me with his world of shit, with his fucking sickness. And then there are times when I just cry, and mourn the man I married. I mourn the life of my best friend, the man I used to know…. a man who is now just an empty shell. An empty shell that once contained, life, laughter, promises, and so much love. The man that gave me a ring, and promised to be my everything. That man…. who is now just of shell, a shell that holds, broken dreams, hurt, loss, and a shit ton of anger. So readers, the answer is yes, Yes I have been angry, shit who am I kidding…. I’M STILL FUCKING PISSED.

Love you all

-A

“The problem with having a problem… is that someone always has it worse”

PTSD is something that happens to service members that go off to war…. Right? The ones that deal with the constant stress, the loss of loved ones, the constant fear, and most of all the aftermath. They are our “heroes”! The ones that sacrifice it all so that we may live free! So when they return we try our hardest to take care of them. The ones that seek help at least, to those that finally break down enough and know there is no other choice. Men like my ex-husband. Men that are so broken, so wounded, so ridden by survivor’s guilt that they contemplate taking their own life daily. I remember my therapist telling me months ago “You have PTSD” and I remember laughing and thinking “No, no…. that’s my EX not ME! Reread your file lady” I remember thinking, I suffer from Anxiety, NOT PTSD. I’ve never suffered trauma like that, I was a lucky child and young adult.

FAST FORWARD-A week after this conversation, I recall being woken up at 3am, covered in sweat, screaming….. the look on my boyfriend’s face….. Startled, confused, and worried. It was then he asked “what were you dreaming about?” my response… “I don’t know just a nightmare.”  The truth…. I was having a nightmare like the ones I’ve had many times before… My Ex-husband…. Dead. Him giving up on life, survivors guilt won… he’s lying on the floor of the bathroom… shot. Only this time, in this dream, he decided to take my boys with him. But how could I tell him that? How do you tell someone who loves you that you are so far gone and crazy and scared of the dark thoughts in your head for no reason. Or worse…. You now fear that this plague that has caused the loss of your entire family has now plagued you as well. Where does this end? When does the fear go away? I return the next week and tell my therapist, I’ve been having nightmares, but I minimize it. Because denial is a nice place to be, it’s comfortable here. So how do you develop PTSD without ever going through trauma of your own? Easy. 7 months go by, you answer ever phone call, you watch the news, you mail packages, and you spend day and night worried you will get a visit or a phone call saying “He’s gone…” And then when he finally comes home, relief right? HELL NO. This is the beginning of your nightmare. Now you will spend your every night listening for his every move. When he gets up, when he checks the doors, windows, when he checks on your kids. Every movement means DANGER. And when once you had no fear, the world is now a scary place. If the man who is your family’s protector, your rock, your place to lean on, is scared of the world… then I guess I should be scared to. So he “prepares you” he teaches you how to shoot a gun, how to come up with a safety plan in case something happens…. How to load and reload quickly…. And most important “DON’T YOU DARE MISS YOUR TARGET” but wait….. What am I scared of? Hell at this point you don’t even know anymore. And so your life begins to change….. Ever watch a loved one slowly die? Well imagine living every day thinking this is your husbands last day on earth, and tonight or tomorrow you will have to tell his children that they no longer have a father. So you begin to prep your speech… and his obituary. Only the day never comes. So you live day to day waiting for your loved one to take their last breath…. Can you imagine that?

And that is how. That is how you catch this plague called PTSD.

Love you all,

-A

“The entire world is in my hands, and I have no idea what to do with it”

Today a complete stranger told me “You no longer have to be the pretty girl, covered in this muddy shit”. What does that mean? It means exactly that. I am around the corner from closing this really sad and tragic chapter of my life. And as I sit here 12 years from the time that chapter began, I have no idea who I am. Who I become now that all of my roles no the longer exist? I am no longer a military spouse, his wife, his best friend, part of a two parent household, the student working on her bachelor’s degree. I look back on days like today, and barely recognize that girl, so naive and hopeful and full of huge dreams. But she was also someone’s door mat, she always played second best, she gave and gave until she was on empty. And while that should be a relief, somehow it’s scary. Who do you become when everything you thought you were was attached to a role and that role ends? I’ve been spending days feeling lost, like I’m wandering this world with no clear destination, no map, and no plan. I am around the corner from throwing away the key to the door I locked up so long ago. The sale of one house away from being DONE with this chapter in my life. And when that chapter ends, I will probably still be standing there, clueless. I have no idea who I am, I have no idea who I become from here. But here is what I do know for sure:

I am stronger than I ever imagined. I am the mother of two boys, who I try to raise to be kind humans. I am intelligent. I am fucking worthy of being happy. And I am no longer permanently attached to the muddy shit that has been covering every part of my outside being for the last 3 years. I may not know who I am or who I will become. But I did learn who I am no longer! I am no longer weak, I am no longer the victim, I am no longer a door mat, I am no longer un-scarred. I am no longer un-damaged. I have felt love, and enough heartache to last me a life time. I have felt grief, real fucking grief, I have felt parts of my heart leave with them with every goodbye. I have been so weak I thought it would kill me, and it almost did. And I have been so fucking strong that my heart is now covered in scar tissue. But now it is the end of that, it is the end of that chapter. We all have chapters in life we don’t read out loud, for me this will be one of those. So who knows who I become in the future? But one thing is certain, I will never be who I used to be, that girl is a distant memory. I also won’t be who I’ve been for the last three years, because that chapter is over, and it’s time to wash the muddy shit off this pretty face. This leads me to believe one thing, the woman I become next will have no “role” attached to her. But she will be fucking amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love,

-A

“We cannot control the wind. But we can direct the sail”

Dear readers,

It’s been so so long, maybe I come and go with the seasons? I don’t really know. What I do know is that the sound of this keyboard makes me feel like I can breathe again. What is the purpose of my writing today? A recurring theme in my life and probably most of yours, Control. Lately I’ve been fed up with the cliché lines of “Take control of your own life!” “Take charge of your life” and the ever so pleasant “Don’t worry about things you can’t change or control” Well guess what? FUCK YOU! Don’t you think if it was that simple I’d be running around in my hippie dress, picking sunflowers, and dancing in the rain? Perhaps it’s my anxiety that requires me to have all things lined up and planned out, or perhaps it’s the pressure of wanting to do everything so right for the sake of my children. The next piece of advice I received sounded good: “write a list of the things you cannot control and another with the things you can control” easy enough.

What I cannot control:

-My ex becoming a shit dad

-My ex wanting to marry an alcoholic & drug addict

-My ex wanting to screw me out of 100k

What I can control:

-The way I react to all of the above…. (FALSE because anyone who has anxiety knows that controlling your own thoughts is like trying to stop the waves of the ocean)

So basically, I am fucked. Sometimes I stay up at night tossing and turning, crying into my pillow wondering what my kind of life my boys will have living with an alcoholic father and an alcoholic step-mother. So while I cannot control his shitty behavior and choices, I can try my best to not let it consume me. I did my part, I filed my paper work and I wait for our court date. And at night when I am alone, I let the thoughts of “what if” consume every part of my being. When I hear my kids laugh, I tell myself “at least they are happy, right now”. I wish I could shield them from everything, I wish I could control their every surrounding, but the reality is I can’t. The reality for most of us is we can’t control shit. I can’t control their future any more than I could control the deaths of my friend’s parents, the death of someone in my family, watching my best friends move to different states, or the fears that go on in my head. And neither can you. I guess this is where my uplifting message is supposed to come in, but I don’t really have one. Because not being in control is one of the shittiest feelings. What I can say is, get up and take control of the small bits that are in your range of reach. For me that was walking into the court house and literally saying to myself as I sat in the car and cried “You took ten years of my life away, and you have taken my kindness for weakness, but YOU WILL NOT do the same to my children.” So fix your face, and you walk back into that court house and demand what is yours and what is right! Because sometimes that’s all we have left. People say you have to “pick your battles” and this is true, I can’t deny that. What I will say is that YOU are worth every fucking battle! You are worth every part of what’s right and what’s fair. And that doesn’t mean that I am not scared, dear god I am terrified. But I chose to be brave. Because the universe listens to BRAVE!

Love you all,

-A

“Three things I cannot change,

The past,

The truth,

And you.”