Thursday, August 22, 2013

I am a Caregiver.

I was not prepared for this role.
                Not emotionally. Not in practice.
                I often don’t even know what questions I should ask.
But that will never stop me.
I don’t flinch when conversations start with things like
                “When I was blown up….”
I may not have formal medical training,
                But I can probably change IV bags, wound bandages,
                And administer shots.
I pass on updates to loved ones
                Before I can even process what information I’m given.
I lost many friends.
                Some were “jealous” of the attention my Warrior gets.
                Some thought “wounded husband” was a contagious disease.
In the wounded…I found family, not just friendship.
I hold our children close at night in bed
                And answer questions about war and terrorism
                That no child should ever have to ask.
I grip the kitchen counter, white knuckled, as he makes his own sandwich.
                Sometimes I have to do something for him,
                But I know when it benefits him more to do something himself.
I looked on in wonder as he took his first steps as a new man.
I looked on in fear after that as his gaunt body looked ready to crumble.
When the muscle and weight came back, and he needed new dress blues
                I cried tears of joy.
I cry. A. Lot.
                Even months and years later.
                But only when he is asleep.
I am territorial of my Warrior.
I am a walking medical library and pharmacy.
I try not to finish his sentences.
                He needs to recall the lost word himself.
During the fight for proper care, with each set back,
                I give myself one night.
                To cry, to eat ice cream. To disconnect.
Then I get back up.
                And I fight. For him. For all of them.
I hold people accountable.
                Especially when he is unable to.
I often feel a fire within
                Causing me to boldly speak for the Voiceless.
Fear of public speaking dissolves as I approach
General Officers and request better support of the wounded.
I see the blessings in every Friday night pizza
and the chance to bicker over toppings.
I also am painfully aware of the things we’ve lost.
                But that’s not what I chose to set my mind to.
I am not bitter.
I know that to live with anger and hatred means
                They have won.
I will NOT let the enemy win.
Not in my Warrior.
Not in my home.
Not in my heart.
I am a Caregiver.


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