Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Getting Through This

Everyone who walks this strange, scary new path deals with it in his/her own way.  Some do better than others.  Eventually, we either make it through or crash and burn.  Most make it through.  I've seen the crash and burn.

My last entry was not directed at one person inparticular.  It was a compilation of a couple of experiences.  I have seen family members asked to leave because of inappropriate behavior.  Someone who came to see Derek in the beginning was almost asked to leave!  But for me asking for education and sympathy, she would have been asked to leave.  I recently heard of a family member being asked to return home because of drama she caused.  I know of a wife who was dealing with her husband dying who asked that certain family members only visit when she was not present, because of the drama they caused.  She could give lessons about how to show respect for others while dealing with hell.

That was the point of my last entry.  It was not to criticize or attack.  It was to ask for respect for those who also care about our wounded warriors.  I told one of my own children recently that I know this journey has been hard on the entire family, but that respect must be shown to those around, especially those who are trying to show support, no matter what hell you are currently experiencing. 

I've seen family members rage and cause problems.  Some recognized that the behavior was only a reaction to the stress of this situation and not directed at anyone in particular.  Those who apologize for their behavior and do not make excuses for it are the ones I respect.  I've seen family members make excuses and try to justify their inappropriate response.

Is there ever an inappropriate response to traumatic news or experiences?  Of course there is!  Two such inappropriate responses would be to mislead others or cause pain in others.  We can all be forgiven for our inappropriate responses, since we have all had them at one time or another. but it does not make it right.  It does not undue the harm that was caused.  We don't have to be perfect when dealing with this, but when we stumble, it is so very easy to say, "I'm sorry." 

I wish that I could go back to July 23, 2011 and some how change the events of that day.  If I could, I would warn the soldier who stepped on the first IED, so that there was no need for Derek to secure the landing zone.  That way, both of the boys would be saved from this journey.  Heck, if that were possible, I would go back to 2001 and get the message to the powers that be to stop the terrorist attack that caused our military to be in that God forsaken place!  But would that have really changed anything?  I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.  We don't always know the reason for several years, and sometimes we do not like the reason, but there has to be a master plan, and there has to be a reason for this.  Without that belief, I would not have been able to survive the last eight months.

In the last eight months, my family has been through a lot.  Some of it might not seem like a big deal, but when added to the mix, it weighs me down and could be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.... several times over.

Here is a basic list of what we've experienced (most within the last few weeks, leading to me feeling done, finished and over) (I am not including the stress on Krystina and her family, because that is not my story to tell, and I will not reveal her secrets):

 - Derek was blown up.

 - Derek almost died, and was quite close to dying several times.

 - I had to leave my home, friends, family for the past eight months.

 - I almost lost three children (Derek in July and two others the last few weeks).  Three children in three different hospitals.

 - I have no health insurance to pay for two of the hospital stays.  I applied for insurance, but it is still pending.

 - I lost my job.

 - I have suffered a severe financial set back that has drained my savings.

 - I've had to raise five children by myself, with no input from their father.  It would be so nice to have a partner help carry some of this weight.

 - I had to deal with my ex after his abandonment of the children 12 years prior.

 - I had to deal with my ex and his family acting inappropriate.

 - I had to deal with my ex promising to resolve the child support issues and then reneging once again.

 - My wallet was stolen.

 - I cannot get a parking pass for my car because my vehicle registration was in my wallet.

 - I cannot get another registration without going through the leasing company for limited power of attorney, and then the motor vehicles is in NJ, where I am not.

 - My son's cell phone was stolen out of Derek's hospital room.  Thinking it was simply lost and we would find it when we moved to outpatient, I stupidly did not report it/  $640.00 in data charges later...

 - My one year old car has broken down three times since I have been here, and they cannot figure out why.

 - Derek's donated van had its battery die so it failed inspection the first time.  I had to leave for Maryland praying we didn't get a ticket for expired inspection.

 - The van's brakes went while out in DC.  (Operation Homefront fixed them.)

 - My back and neck have gotten progressively worse because I am not home and available to ongoing treatment.

 - I lost my unemployment because I could not attend a meeting.  Things were going on here that caused me to be unable to attend.  I am trying to reschedule and reinstate, but they are being.... well.... the state.

 - There are other things I am not comfortable revealing at this time.

I am strong.  I know that.  But sometimes even the strong get fed up and have enough.

We will get through this.  No matter how much we suffer, eventually, it will end.  I've asked God to give me a break, if even for a little while.

I won't make excuses.  I'm not perfect.  I will apologize when I am inappropriate, and I will call others to the carpet when I see inappropriate behavior.  When I see something that causes me pause, I want to draw others' attention to it, as well.  No one is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  We all should support each other, but unfortunately, as in all walks of life, some are just in it for themselves.  We all try to get through this hell one way or another, but not all of us have good intentions.  We, who are in this world, can usually tell which ones will be support and which ones to avoid.  We've had people on this journey give us nothing but unselfish support.  We've also had others be in it for themselves.  I avoid those who prove to me they cannot be trusted.

Stress is part of this walk.  Right now, I have a little too much on my plate.  I'll get through it eventually.  Until then, I will keep climbing.

More on Derek's recent journey to come.....


  1. Siobhan, your strength is amazing and an encouragement to others. I pray that I never have to walk your path but if I ever do I hope I can have the class and strength that you have. I think that you, Derek and Krystina are amazing. Keep on climbing to glory!!!

  2. Eloquently stated. I, as many are, am praying for you and your family. God never gives us more than we can handle, but sometimes we just have to say "please help,Lord,this cross is overbearing!" If I could be Simon and help you carry your cross, I would... As I can't, I will offer prayers for someone stronger to help lift the weight. Hang in there, my friend... You and your family are examples of courage and an inspiration to the rest of us. May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand. With great love... Terri

  3. OMG i don't believe it!!!!!!!!!!! ANOTHER child in the hospital???? AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGHHHHH!!!! I hope they are both recovering well like Derek. Utmost sympathies on the cell phone/bill, unemployment, wallet, car 'n van, head and neck, etc etc. I wish I could change it all for you -- or even just change one darn thing!!!!

  4. I don't have words that will make things better for you; I wish I did. Just know that you are in my prayers daily. You, Derek, Krystina, and your other children also.
    You are an amazingly strong woman, and anyone else would surely have snapped by now. Keep your faith.

    You, too, are an inspiration to so many as your strength in the face of ALL the crap you are dealing with makes me stop and take inventory.

    God Bless you, and I pray that you see the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel that you've been in.

    Much love and respect to you.

  5. Know that you're in my thoughts and prayers!
    Lamentations 3:21-25 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.