Monday, November 7, 2016

Remember them; even when they are back home.

I have lived in a dark place. 
A place where there is no sun and the pit is deep. 
And try as I may to climb out,
the earth keeps giving way beneath my fingers.
But what I have not done is live in a dark place
with memories and images
that are etched upon my delicate brain.
I have not closed my eyes and frequently seen things
too graphic to be drawn,
and I have not seen faces, or places I would rather forget.
I am not often afraid to close my eyes,
wondering what will be on the other side of slumber.
And the tears I have shed
have not been for “brothers” whom I have lost.
I have heard noises that are too much for me to bear
when I am trying to shut the world out. 
But the noises are high pitched squeals of delight
from my healthy children,
or music that just does not allow me to concentrate.
But what I have not done is hear noises
that bring me back to a place I would rather not be. 
I do not go to sleep and hear cries that do not exist,
nor do I hear gunfire. 
I do not remember the screams of those lost
and hear the sounds of war. 
I do not open my eyes in panic
because explosions have resounded in my head.
And I have never associated a slamming door
with prisoners being taken away,
or tanks I must enter.

I have lost my appetite,
and said things I probably should not have
while struggling to get a handle on my ppd.

But what I have not done is lost my appetite
and refused to speak of my struggles. 
I have never had to walk around with the stigma
of being a soldier who should be tough enough
to handle their “feelings”. 
I have not had to bury my heart deep in my chest
for fear it may seem that I am not “strong enough”
if I have to receive help from a professional.

And I cannot imagine that life.
I cannot imagine removing myself from reality,
and then trying to enter back into reality
as though there was never a time when I was gone.
I cannot imagine removing myself from family,
and then not having family understand why I have changed
while I was away from them.
I cannot imagine having all of my senses be awakened
by a nightmare,
and then feeling I cannot talk about the nightmare itself,
but must place it on a shelf in my memory.
I cannot imagine giving myself for people
who do not know me,
and then wondering if those people even care
about what I have done for them.

So this Remembrance Day,
I will adorn my jacket with a poppy.
But more than that,
I want our veterans to feel that when they are home,
that we will embrace them back as different and changed
and new.
PTSD, Depression, Anxiety;
or whatever may come home with them
in their back pack of possessions, it’s ok.
And we will welcome them back with open arms,
regardless of whatever they may be afraid to unpack.
Let us stand up for our minute of silence,
but help them break their silence.
Help them feel safe, and be compassionate,
because the trauma of war does not end
when they return home.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Take Five....Living the dream and then accepting reality...

I just re-heated my coffee for the 5th time.
I'm not lying, nor exaggerating.  FIVE TIMES!!
How hard is it to make a cup of coffee and just drink it?
Well, that depends; are you a Mom?

Every Saturday morning, I make bacon and eggs complete with toast and sometimes fried potatoes (depending on what time I went to bed the night before, or how much I'm feeling like Superwoman, or let's be honest; it truly depends on how much effort I want to put into making something only half of the brood enjoys).
But after serving 7 mouths, I finally sit down to enjoy my eggs, and yup; my coffee is cold.
I held it up for my son last Saturday.  "Could you put this in the microwave for 30 seconds?"
The debate was whether or not just to make me a new cup, but really; twas no debate at all!
Could you imagine making me a new cup of coffee??!!!! It honestly takes me 3 hours, and 5 re-heats just to have time to drink the first one!!!  Why on EARTH would they make me a new one and prolong this coffee into mid afternoon?!

I do everything in increments of five minutes.
Flip a load of laundry, fold half a load, make a few beds, peel some potatoes, dry a few dishes, vaccuum a room, get dressed, and in between I clean, taxi children, wipe a nose, wipe a bum, wipe some dirt off a face with a spit shine, wipe a hair in place, and threaten to wipe a grin off a face.

And those things that take longer than 5 minutes; well forget about it.  
All things that take longer than 5 minutes you will either cease to enjoy or try to get done in 5 minutes so that you will not be interrupted.
Such things include; showers, eating a meal from start to finish, watch a tv show, getting ready to go out, read a book (or even a chapter of a book), prepare and cook a meal, cleaning your house in one day, enjoying a coffee, time with friends (unless you bring your little minions with to the friends house or "forget" your phone at home), and of course; sleep.

I have found that as my children get older, it does become a little easier.  They are gone during the day, and yet I still find myself ingrained in 5 minutes.

I start to clean my kitchen after they leave, and realize, I should fold the laundry because it's been in the basket since yesterday, and it's sitting on that table I have to wipe.   
When I'm folding some socks and one has a hole, I make my way to the garbage to throw out the sock, and I realize I should empty the garbage.  
As I take the garbage to the garage, I see in the back hall, that my child has left a binder at home, and so quickly slip on my shoes, with no socks (because they have yet to be folded), and drive the binder to school.  
Getting home, I realize the garbage is still by the door, so I finally bring it into the garage. 
Upon entering the garage, there is a coat, which is dirty and should be thrown into the wash, which reminds me the laundry.  Oh yes, I must still fold those socks!  
But when I enter my home to fold the socks, there is one sock that fell to the floor by the closet, and I remember as I reach down to pick it up that yesterday I was going to clean out that hall closet.
I open the closet door;
But what was I doing before all this?
I stand there for 5 minutes and try to go back in my mind to where I was when this all started and then I remember; Oh yes,  I was cleaning my kitchen, and still have not finished!!!

It sounds exhausting, and I should be, by all accounts, ready for a nap; but it's 9 a.m.
My brain is but spaghetti I realize, because one idea (noodle) is very difficult to pull away from the pile without twenty more noodles clinging to it.
I jump from thing to thing, knowing that the final destination is just to empty my plate of what I must do today.

And when I finally sit down at the end of the day with that laundry basket of socks,
I am thankful that my husband did not come home and ask me, "What did you do all day?".
Because my answer would be a resounding "Nothing, and everything".
He wouldn't understand, but that's ok.  It's the same reason he doesn't understand why when I'm in the shower and the three year old is banging on the door that I don't answer her.
I like to think that if she doesn't hear me speak, then maybe she'll just wonder if the shower is running for no reason, and that her Mother is, well; gone.  Gone to a far away place where there is a waterfall, a bar of soap, shampoo, and me; just me.

You may think I'm exaggerating, and although I have been known to do that, I am not. This post took me 5 weeks to write.  
I have had this writing saved in my drafts for FIVE WEEKS! 
I work on it in 5 minute increments when time allows, which is not very often.

And as I quickly try to finish off this post;
I have two teenagers arguing about who ate the left over pizza for lunch. Paw patrol is on in the other room, with a 3 year old steadily increasing the volume.  A 16 year old asking me how long it will be until I'm off the computer, and a bus with 3 more children on their way home from school.  In fact, they'll be here in 5 minutes;
Maybe if I'm lucky, I can finish my coffee from this morning, and go to the bathroom before it is occupied.
But more than likely, I will dump the coffee down the drain, and as I open the dishwasher to load the cup, I will realize that it is half full of clean dishes; because I started to unload it this morning, and then I saw a spider that needed to be killed on the floor, and when I killed it, I realized how dirty my floor was........