Life doesn’t always go the way you plan. I did not look at who I might be and think, “I hope that someday I’m married to a man in the military who comes home with PTSD.” No one plans on their life having those kinds of challenges. We dream of marrying for love, we plan on having a great career, but we don’t plan, desire or dream of a life turned upside down by war.
I look at my husband and think, “Why am I still here?” He can go weeks without speaking to me. He gets angry, but never happy. He is struggling to understand who he is, who he has become and what is going on. He lives in a world of flashbacks and pain and I can’t live there with him. This is a journey we are on together that he refuses to include me in.
I wake up all the time wondering who I am. I used to be the loving wife of a handsome Marine. I used to be the girl who cleaned his house and folded his laundry. I used to find meaning in the scent of his pillow and the brush of his skin and it made me feel like my life was whole. If I am not that person, who am I? I am the wife of a man with combat related PTSD, and that is not something that I want to define me.
Sometimes if feels like my life has been shaded a hazy color of grey that is clouding my ability to see a future. Sometimes if feels like life is raining on us and that we will never see the sun again. Can we navigate this stormy weather to find a place of calm? I don’t know. I don’t know what will happen in the future anymore. I don’t know what our plan is, or if we even have one. I don’t know how our dreams will change because it feels like we don’t have any anymore. But I do know that even if this rain never lets up, life is what you make of it.
Sometimes, the rain will come down so hard that you fear your life is flooding and that you might drown. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if it will ever let up. Sometimes, all you know is that it has been raining for so long, you are not sure if the sun will ever come. Sometimes all you can do is learn to dance in the rain, just in case it never does.