Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Confessions of a Wounded Warrior Mom

It has been a while since I've written anything.  I needed to back away from everything and try to rejuvenate.  I'm not finished with that, yet.  I do not know how long it will take me to get back some semblance of who I was before the last ten months happened.  I walked away from my entire life to help Derek, and I've lost so much as a result.  That's hitting me pretty hard now.

I don't know what really led to this.  I guess certain thoughts have been bantering about in my noggin and I just want to get them out.  Perhaps this is like Prof. Dumbledore's Pensieve.... once I take them out, I can categorize them and file them away never to be thought of again.  I can only hope.

Some of these are not good thoughts.  Not good things.  But I'm human.

I feel disconnected. I feel like I am adrift on a raft in the middle of the ocean. I need to find solid ground.

It is so hard for me to ask for help.  I will accept it, sometimes, but I find it so hard to ask for it.  I've asked for help a handful of times, and usually I am disappointed.  It really annoys me when people in power offer help or to arrange a special visit, and then when you ask, they ignore you.  I experienced that so many times, and the one that stung the most was the person I thought was my best friend in the world.  The other one that ticked me off was someone everyone in the world knows, because he is in the news every single day.  Not a fan.

Most people will offer to help, but they do not mean it.  It's an empty promise.  Or, it's a promise made with the best of intentions at the time, but when redeemed, it is not convenient.  Or, it is meant but only if it is something small and easy.  Most people do not want to be put out, but they feel they have to offer. 

When I offer, I mean it.  At least I hope I mean it.  Not many have taken me up on it.  If it is within my power, I will do it.  No questions asked.  Well, maybe some questions to appease my curiosity.  Having reached out to people who offered to help and then were not there when I asked, I've become too cautious.  My sister is the one and only person I feel I can rely on 100%, although I'm sure if I asked certain friends they would be there too.  I thought I could always rely on the one person I considered my best forever friend in the world, but I guess I wasn't perfect enough the last ten months and that is now over.  It hurts.

I am SO happy and relieved that Derek's guys have made it home from Afghanistan safe and sound and in one piece.  I am also a bit bitter and sad.  Not because they were not hurt....please!  I would never wish an injury on even my worst enemy!  I am thrilled for them and for their families.  But I hurt for us.  I hurt for Derek.  I wish he had gotten his homecoming.  I wish we could have gone to Fort Drum to welcome the boys home.  I wish Derek was one of them.  I wish we could have gone to the Post-Deployment Ball and had a blast, like we did at the Pre-Deployment Ball.  So, it makes me happy, sad, thrilled, bitter when I see happy homecomings, because ours was denied to us.  Does that make any sense?

It is hard for me to admit weakness.  I am a strong woman, and I know that.  But I have my moments, and when I do, it is hard for me to admit it.  I usually put on a brave face and say I am fine.  By fine, I mean Fed-up, Insecure, Nuerotic, and Emotional.  Today, I am fine.

It takes a lot to make me cry.  I do not usually shed tears.  I cried a lot when Derek was first injured.  For the first week, anyway.  I cried a couple of weeks ago when I felt I was just getting kicked too many times.  Sometimes I tear up, but they crawl back into their cave before they fall.  If I do cry, it's a sign that I am really hurting.  I've cried a lot the last two weeks.

I hate doing laundry.  I would rather clean a bathroom then do laundry.

I love Harry Potter.  I do not like Twilight.  Harry Potter is the ultimate love story.  It encompasses every aspect of love - friendship, parent/child, friends, mentors, lovers.  There is sacrifice and heroism.  Twilight?  It's a story of a girl who falls in love with her stalker and then plays with the hearts of two guys.  Just my humble opinion.  Oh, and I'm finding the Sookie Stackhouse books painful to read.  Very juvenile.  But the story is intriguing.  I loved the Hunger Games books.  Fifty Shades?  She didn't change enough of it, so I am annoyed at how Edward and Bellish Christian and Ana are.  It's another woman falling in love with a controlling stalker.  Yes, I read it when it was a Twilight fan fiction.

I do not carry a grudge, but I do not forget.  I will forgive and move on, but I do not forget.  Even if the person who wronged me does not ask for forgiveness, I will move on.  There is only one person who I hold any bitterness towards, and it is because of recent events, not the past.  I had moved on from the past.

That person?  I think most of you can guess who it is.  He has wronged me and my children so many times and he was the one person on whom my children should have been able to lean.  It's the hurt towards the children that I find the hardest to forget.  He abandonned the children 13 years ago and left me to struggle to support them on my own.  I tried to get him to pay support, but he failed and refused until Probation caught up with him.  So what could I do?  I did the best I could for my children. 

Then Derek met the IED.  He came to the hospital.  He had not seen the children in 12 years.  I did not keep him away, although I wanted to.  I really wanted to tell him to leave and let us heal as a family, but I didn't.  I did not hold any ill will towards him, I just did not want to deal with the stress of having him around.  Because I didn't know if Derek would want him here or not, I was not going to be the one to send him away.  I did blow up at him in front of Building 10.  He caused so much drama and so many problems that I finally snapped, but I still did not ask him to leave.  When Derek woke up, he did it, and I supported him.  I was blamed.  So what?  I have been blamed for worse.  Derek and I and the rest of the family know the truth. 

I have horrible taste in men.  I've pretty much given up on the dating scene because I do not trust my own judgment.  I attract jerks, losers, stalkers and abusers.  I have looked around to see if there were any decent guys in Bethesda, but all I have found were married men, kids, and jerks.  And at this time, I think I have a slight stalker problem.  It's disconcerting.

Racism and discrimination turn my stomach.  I hate when people make determinations about a person and his/her abilities simply by virtue of race, religion, creed, gender, hair color, style of dress, etc.  I hate when I am called a racist because I do not like someone when it has nothing to do with race, religion, creed, gender, etc.  I make my decisions about people based on morals, values, words, and actions.

I do not like the way so much is couched in terms of racism.  Race is not always the determining factor.  But if you listen to the media, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and others like them, you would think everything is determined by race.

When politics gets between friends, it breaks my heart.  I lost a friend because of politics.  Just because we are on two totally different teams does not mean we can't get along.  We acted badly when an disagreement occurred, and that was it.

I'm lonely.  I'm in a crowd of people, but I'm lonely.

I missed family dinners.  Eating alone is depressing, but that's what I did for most meals. 

I feel guilty whenever I feel pain, which is all the time.  The range of motion is pretty much gone from my neck and it hurts all the time, but when I see what the wounded warriors do in spite of their injuries, I shut up.

I miss my church community, but I feel so disconnected from them.

I am angry at God.  I've tried to get beyond it, but whenever I do, more crap gets thrown at me.  My crap bucket is currently overflowing.  I've tried turning it over to God, but when I do, it gets worse, and something horrible always happens within days of saying I give it to Him.  So, I'll deal with it myself.  That doesn't mean I don't believe.... I'm just overwhelmed.

It irks me when people say they must follow the Bible to the letter, but many of them do not.  By way of example, so many attack the gay community and say that they are damned because it is against the Bible, but I believe it is Matthew 7:1 that says, "Judge not that ye not be judged."  How can they judge the gay community, then?  Isn't that up to God?  I say, live and let live.  If two men or two women want to be together, who am I to condemn them?  It does not impact on me, raise my taxes, force me out of my home, change how I live my life, so why should I judge them?  I'm leaving it in God's hands to judge us all in the end.

I simply cannot stand it when people use their soldier's injury to make money or get attention.  I also do not like the way some get showered with benefits and some are ignored.  We are all in this together, and to give all of the attention to one or two, it is hurtful to the others.  Come on - share - spread the love.

I hate the position I am currently in.  I lost my job.  This is not a good economy and employment is scarce.  I need a break.

I play Cityville.  A lot.  It's stupid, but it's an escape from reality.

I cannot deal with idle chit chat.  I hate the telephone.  I have so much on my mind and weighing down my shoulders, that to stand around and shoot the breeze is beyond my comprehension.  I find myself avoiding people and situations because I just do not want to deal right now.

I wish I could curl up in bed with a good book, a glass of iced tea and my Skitty Cat and not move for a month.  Maybe longer.

I wish I could afford a maid.


  1. your words truly moved me. Not that i know how you feel. Nobody unless they have been through it know. But i feel alone somtimes and overwhelmed as well for no apparent reason. Well there are reasons but not to be listed. I wish i could meet you and buy you lunch or a cup of coffee something to let you know that there are people who care. Look me up on FB. Leslie Daniels Cloer. take care and if you are ever in Oregon lunch dinner or whatever is my treat

  2. Hi, I'm sorry I don't remember your first name but I don't want to go search for it and not be able to find this page again. So please forgive me. You and I are alike in so many ways. I know what it is like to sit in the hospital all day long. You get so tired from doing absolutely nothing. You see my son was in an accident and spent a month in ICU then 4 months in a rehab facility. I was truly blessed that he recovered fully. You do feel alone and I won't ask for help either. Like you when I did ask I was almost always disappointed. So I stopped asking. I'm disabled myself so I can't do anything that I could do a year ago. And it sucks. Pain is so draining physically and emotionaly (please forgive my spelling I used to be an expert at it but now I forget just about everything.) I'm a Navy mom. My son is stationed in Va. his ship is in dry dock. And he hates being on land. I have been following your son's story since he was first wounded. He is a true hero. I think he is so brave to keep on fighting when he has been thru so much. Please let him know that there are so many of us Navy moms that are praying for him each and every day. I can't do anything for you physically but if you ever need a person to listen to you please don't hesitate to email me or text me. My email is mommaminkis@aol.com and I am on facebook under Karen Chubb Mink. If and when you contact me I will give you my phone number so you can talk to a live person. It does make a difference. I will continue to keep you and your son in my prayers. God Bless both of you and Derek's finance also. Thank God she has stayed by him thru this. Many girls would have walked away. I know you probably get many emails on here but please don't hesitate to contact me if you need to vent. Karen Mink

  3. Hi Siobhan,
    I remember your words (you don't know how I feel unless you are going through what I am going through)and I always try remembering this when responding...to anyone really. I am only saying that because I am not trying to put myself in your spot and assume I understand, I can't soooo I won't go flapping my lips about something I don't personally know about....BUT, what I do know...is being a Mom, being a woman, and I am an OB/GYN, so I know women........and at this point my friend..there is nothing wrong with being tired, mad,done,angry,crying, etc. You have been through more in the last 10 months then should ever be expected of one person ever. The Mom in you headed out to protect your son and all be damned if something was going to happen, you were there and stood strong, you made sure questions were answered and you were vigilant. That in itself...whew..exhausting. Now you are home which should be a welcoming comfy feeling...but you still have the world on your shoulders...THAT is now hitting you. How much more can a sane woman take? Siobhan, you get under the covers, snuggle your cat, play Cityville, don't clean...BUT, Siobhan, you can do this as long as you can get up. You HAVE to feel what you are feeling to move on and be ok.

    I sooo support you and your family, but I am in CA....I wish I could be closer. I wish the Scentsy fundraisers I have had for you all had made a million dollars for you all, I wish I could offer you anything that would make you smile....well I did offer up my Dad..but he is in CA too (but originally a Jersey boy). I wish I had more to offer you all that would show you I mean what I say and you are one of the most fabulous women I have come across.

    You have an amazing family. WHen faced with crisis, what needed to be done was done. You all supported each other, Your children are a reflection of you....when face with a crisis, they stood by and supported you and Derek and never once (from what I know of) complained or whined. You all stood strong together. You did an amazing job as a Mom and your kids have amazing support from you, your sister and her husband, and your Dad (not to mention Krystina's family as well) and this is a direct reflection of you Siobhan...thank goodness your genes are stronger and came through :)

    If there is anything I can do for you all I will....I mean that! If I can't do it physically or financially, I will tell you, but I will still listen and be there for you....God forbid if something happens to my son if he is deployed, I know what bad ass woman I am turning to for help! 916-990-2614. Anytime.

    P.S. go and get yourself a bottle of vitamin B complex....it will help with your mood, I promise!

  4. Siobhan, I am so sorry that you are feeling like this and experiencing this, but if it's any consolation at all, there are those of us out here listening to you! I am glad you have an outlet to share your emotions and thoughts because bottling them up will make you sick - literally. Just keep venting because we are all here to support you as best we can from a distance. Wish we could all do more!

  5. Siobhan,

    I hear your pain and sadness coming through loud and strong. You have been to hell and back in the past year! Now that you have had time to step away from the crisis and start to actually feel the emotions and the pain they are hitting you hard. I hope you continue to allow yourself to have a good cry when you need it and take the time to snuggle with your skinny cat when you feel like it. You are still a very strong and amazing woman! I thank you for your brutal honesty here on your blog. I have to admit I was beginning to get worried when you didn't post for a long time. I saw Krystine posting on Derek's FB page but no mention of you. I'm glad you're back and look forward each one of your posts. I continue to support you with my thoughts and prayers. I too wish I could do more for you.....

  6. Siobhan,
    I have always loved your name. And yes, I know how to pronounce it. ;) My cousin's little girl is named Niamh.
    I am glad to see your post. I have been worried about you and praying for you. I understand some of what you are feeling. Maybe not the intensity, but I do understand. You have been through SO MUCH as a mother, woman, friend.
    Yes, Derek and the other WWs have been through HELL and there is no comparison to what they have and are going through. But for you, what you have and are going through is HELL for you. You do have a right to your feelings. Take time, as you have with writing this post. Bury yourself under the covers with your Skitty Cat and stay there until you are ready to come out. Even if it is only when your kids are in school. You need some time to recover yourself after the past 10 months. You can't and won't heal overnight.
    I understand not wanting to ask for help, for so many reasons. It isn't just pride and independence. It is often, as your case, not wanting to be disappointed. I had to ask for help after my divorce. We ended up on welfare and that was a huge blow to my pride and self esteem. It broke my heart to have to go to charities so my kids would have something for Christmas and a nice meal.
    Eventually, we were able to become the ones helping others and that was a wonderful feeling. To be able to give back is a great feeling.
    When we lost everything in a house fire (I didn't even have shoes as I ran out of the house barefoot) so many people wanted to help us. That alone was overwhelming. In a few things we did have to ask for help. We had to relearn how to ask for and accept help. We realized that accepting help is a gift to ourselves and t
    o the person giving that help. It isn't easy.
    It's too bad you aren't a member of the North Dakota Bar Association. I am on the board of a village park district and all hell is going to break loose soon. We just hired an attorney and would love to have someone like you in our corner.
    I so wish we could meet in the real world. If you and your family ever have the opportunity to come out to see Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills or Yellowstone (a day's drive) you have somewhere to stay and chauffeur you around. We have room to spare and I love to have company.
    Don't give up, don't lose hope. There are so many people who care about YOU. Derek as well. But we also care about YOU. My number is on my FB page and I always answer.
    You are in my prayers! I know our Blessed Mother is praying for you and your family.

  7. My heart goes out to you, Siobhan. As always, we are praying for you and yours. Sorry we haven't been on Team Derek lately, I have been given an new role, the Babysitting Grandma. lol. So Facebook and my blogs have taken a backseat.

    I am happy and sad for you. Happy that you can be with your children at home now, knowing Krystina has Derek's back. Sad that you are having a tough time.

    You are always in my prayers, though I wish I could help. Like you, I don't like to offer unless I am 100% sure I can follow through. Knowing the power of prayer, you are in good hands. PS. you maybe mad at GOD, but he still loves you.