Friday, September 26, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Because

If you haven't read my post before and seen my description of Five Minute Friday then shame on you and go read them. Then you can join in. =)
Five minutes. Write what comes out. No editing. Post. Here it goes.

Because

Because I love you. That simple statement revolves around my life. It has shaped me into who I am.


As a child I was never good at following rules. It got even worse as a teenager. I was never that kid you could say "Don't do this" and I would just listen. I always had to know "why." But just being told why wasn't good enough, I had to try it for myself. Tell me "Don't touch the stove, it is hot and will burn you" meant that sure as the sun rises I was going to touch that stove just to make sure no one was lying to me. All of this added up to one thing...my poor mother losing her hair and sleep over me. I have to take responsibility for all her grey hairs. The poor woman had her hands full. No normal lady could have handled raising the nightmare that I was. But she did it. She never gave up on me. Despite all our fighting and disagreeing, I have never doubted her intent. Whether it was following a party or her announcing how long I was grounded this time, she always made sure that I knew why she did everything that she did. "Because I love you."

Just as my mother has always been there for me, I have always known there was someone else guiding me along my path. My Father in Heaven has never left me on my own either. Even though there were times in my life that I pushed away from him hard. There were days I refused to pray, believing he couldn't possibly care about me. Yet every time I have found myself on my knees, I have felt his presence. He has blessed me immensely in my life which shows his obvious love. However, there are times in my life that are riddled with trials that I don't always feel like I can handle. At times I feel like I just can't take anymore and I don't understand why the Lord is allowing me to hurt so much. But in both cases, blessing or trials, the answer is always the same. "Because I love you."

My husband has the same loyalty. No matter what I do he never falters in his love for me. I can yell, scream, cry, refuse to get up in the morning and he is still there. Every day he tells me I am beautiful and encourages me to keep going. He tells me that he will always be there. He agreed to spend eternity by my side and he has never once showed any sign of regretting that choice. Sometimes, upon realizing just how flawed I am, I ask why he sticks around. His answer is always the same. "Because I love you."

 I am surrounded by love in my life. That makes me extremely lucky. It leaves my heart full and overflowing. It leaves me able to spread love to those around me. That is what I want to strive for every day. To love those all those around me. To brighten the lives of everyone I come in contact with even just a little bit. Just a smile helps. Or taking a moment to get to know a stranger. One day I hope I am blessed to have children of my own that I can raise filled with love. If I am half the mother that my mom was I will be lucky. I want to be what my Father asks of me, to love as he loves. So if I meet you on the street just know that this is what my smile is saying to you, "Because I love you."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Hold

Five Minute Friday is a flash mob of writers who get together every Friday with a "prompt word" and write for five min then post. No editing, no second guessing your ideas. You just write what the word first brings to your mind and let it flow out. Join us! I have a button link on the right side of my blog! >>>>>>>>>>

Some background on this piece. I believe that there was a life before this one where we lived with God as spirits. We had a very personal relationship with Him, each and everyone of us. He loved us then just as he loves us now. We were sent to this Earth to gain knowledge and things that we needed in order to grow and move forward. We will return to our Father's side after this life. This is a sort of interaction that I could see happening as we were headed down to Earth. Whether you believe the same as me or not, try reading this and picturing yourself in this situation. Does it not feel beautiful. =)

Hold


"Hold me. Don't let go." She pressed her face into his shoulder as his arms wrapped around her, comforting and safe.

His voice was deep and soothing. A voice that brought warmth to her heart. "It's okay, child. Though it will seem a long time, you will only be gone mere minutes to me."

"So you won't forget me?"

"I could never forget you. I love you. You are very dear and special to me."  A chuckle was in his voice.

"But Father, what if I can't do this? What if I get lost?"

"You are strong and smart. I have equipped you with everything you will need. You will have a loving family and a strong group of friends. But most important, you will have your heart. That beautiful, pure heart. Trust it. It will never mislead you. It will bring you home to me." His arms were warm as he pulled her in again, hugging her tight. "And I will be waiting. I will be watching. You only have to call out to me and I will be there. I will never leave you to deal on your own. Even when you feel far away from me and think I'm not listening, I will be there. I will see every tear and cry with you. I will feel every heartbreak and my heart will break with yours. I will hear every laugh and laugh along. No matter the pain or the happiness, I will embrace it with you. And when the wind blows through your hair or the sun shines on your face, know it is me comforting you."

She looked up into his loving eyes. "Do you promise, Father."

His face lit up into a glowing smile as he stared down into his most prized creation. "I promise, my dear child. You are my princess. Now hurry along. It is your turn on Earth."

He released his hold on her and she started to scamper away. But she turned back, eyes wide. He smiled again and said, " Remember child, always remember, I love you." Her face shone with the most beautiful smile he had ever seen and she left. His eyes turned toward Earth, far below, and saw her there. "See you soon, my dear one."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Ready

Back with this weeks Five Minute Friday. If you would like to join in on the flash mob of writers that use a prompt word to write for five minutes every Friday, click the link on the right side of my blog.

Ready

Be ready. I hate those two words when it comes to being in the military. It is usually followed with "...deployment." It's how it always starts. Be ready for your husband to deploy. Be ready for the chance that we are deploying. Be ready. Even now, knowing my husband is non-deployable, my heart races a little faster when someone in uniform says it. Maybe it's a little silly. People use those words in every day life, but my life isn't normal. My marriage has never been normal. We have spent more than half of it apart, with him in a foreign country fighting for our freedom. As proud as I am for what he has done, it has never been easy. There is nothing easy or refreshing or fun about being separated from your best friend for months at a time. So when something triggers the memory of him leaving (white buses do this to me MAJORLY) then I react. Heart pounding, breath caught in my throat, hands shaking. Don't take my husband again. It's a visceral reaction. It happens in a split second. There is no controlling it. Then it passes and I'm calm again. Most people would never even know it happened. Most people will never see and understand my thoughts. And that is okay because I do not wish for everyone to live this life. I stand tall and proud of the choice my husband has made but I do not want anyone to feel the pain of deployment. I love those who have suffered through it alongside me but I don't wish it on anyone.


STOP.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Because I Promised: An Injured Soldier Story

This is a difficult topic for my family. It has taken us awhile to be willing to share it. I'm panicking a little now as I go to post it. Our hope is that it will help someone going through the same thing. My husband has given permission to tell his story. He has read this and edited it for his comfort.

Weight of War
©2014 Mariah Green


Loving a soldier is difficult just as that. But very seldom does it stop there and loving an injured soldier can become even more difficult. When you face deployment and the job a soldier does, you face the reality that your spouse could become injured and even disabled. Just in 2012, there were 2,447 wounded soldiers in the Afghan conflict alone. Unfortunately, the type of work makes getting hurt common. However, reality is that when something happens it is still just as shocking and alarming as with anyone else. You just can't be prepared for something like that.

At least I didn't feel prepared for the call I got. "Hey, babe. I'm in the hospital. No don't cry. I'm ok...but they think I broke my back." I will NEVER forget that day. It was horrible. Now I was lucky enough to have my husband be the one to call which obviously told me he was alive and well enough to be talking. But at the same time he gave me horrible news and the pain in his voice was like knives in my gut. And I was helpless. I wanted nothing more than to run to his side and hold his hand, but he was 1000s of miles away in another country where I couldn't get to him. He was only on the phone with me for a few minutes and he left with the promise of calling when they had results.

My husband's accident did not break his back. That was the good part. It did, however, leave him with significant spinal disk damage both in his lower back and his neck. For anyone who has dealt with bulging or herniated disks you understand all the complications and pain that can come from it. Which is exactly what he is dealing with. Not to mention he has a lingering TBI. These are things common to soldiers. In fact they have estimated that there have been 5,644 new cases of TBIs in the military just this year. What isn't normal are the strange symptoms that he has...and it seems like new ones are surfacing every day. No one seems to have answers for them. Not just on how to treat them but for even why they are happening. For the first two years after his accident, not much was done. No one took him serious. There were a few tests here and there but the end result was always just take more pills. Our belief is that modern medicine, which includes pills, has its time and its place but that it shouldn't be your first choice of remedy. We would much rather have the problem fixed rather than masked. Which I guess would lead me into explaining exactly what he has going on.

It started with pretty normal things. He had chronic severe headaches along with some memory issues, common for people who have suffered a TBI. He obviously has pretty severe back pain as well. But each of these things have progressed from normal pain into things that are not only excruciating but debilitating in ways. He now has sciatic nerve pain that causes him to feel like there are hot knives being ran up and down his legs. He rarely can stand up without walking around in a way that we lovingly refer as "like a Disney witch." He developed a stutter and he has a very hard time concentrating. Working out has become almost impossible for him due to random dizzy spells that are most prominent when his heart rate is up. These are all things he has been living with for years. However, for no apparent reason all of these problems have seemed to exploded all at once which has sent him spiraling into a dark place. Add in some sleep issues and you have the humbling word "MedBoard"* fall from your doctor's lips.

All of his injuries have caused lifestyle changes. It made some things we used to do impossible and other things became necessary. Some days we have to cancel plans to do anything because he is just in too much pain. Activities have been cut short from the onset of a sudden migraine. There are weekends where he does nothing but sleep. I'm having to learn to appreciate a different man because he came back changed in more than physical ways. You don't see the things he has and been through what he has and not be effected on an emotional level. He is often moody. There are times where he won't interact with me much, where I feel like I'm having to drag every word from his mouth. These are things that have been going on for awhile. But these changes have not made my husband any less loving and wonderful. It hasn't made me love him any less. I have grown to expect them and accept them. I did think we knew about all his symptoms though. I wasn't expecting a new one to come roaring in like a hurricane.

My husband has always been a very independent person. He is also very proud. It's a fault, he'll be the first to admit it. I think this played into why he took so long to tell me about his newest developing problem. When he finally did, he told me with eyes down and a defeated tone in his voice. I was stunned into silence. I knew he had been sleeping poorly for awhile but I had no idea it had been effecting him this badly. There had been a few lighthearted mentions of falling asleep at stoplights but I had laughed it off as just a random happening. But looking at him right then, I was kicking myself for not hearing his cry for help earlier. With embarrassment etched across his face, he admitted it was much more than what he had mentioned before. Not only was he falling asleep at several lights on a daily basis, he was also beginning to fall asleep while driving. I was horrified and wanted to cry. He could have died. He could have hurt someone else. It was like waking up to find you were living in your nightmare. I had to remind myself several times during his confession that he HADN'T been hurt and now that I was aware I could make sure he never was. That was the moment we realized life as we knew it was changing majorly. He couldn't drive anymore. There was no explanation for why he was falling asleep. It happened without any pattern and at random. We couldn't know when he would be safe or unsafe. And so independence on both our parts came to a sort of end. So did my love of sleeping in. I took on the job of being my husband's driver.

Let me just take a moment to explain what being my husband's chauffeur entails. We live about 20 min away from post. With traffic in the mornings it can take us 25 min to get to his work. He has to be at work by no later than 6 (but with the military early is better.) We get up at 5 to gather everything together and be ready to leave in time. I drop him off and he has to take all his stuff with him to shower and change at work because I would otherwise have to wait in the car for an hour. Then the day begins. Some days it is simple. I just pick him up at the end of the day. He walks to get lunch and bums a ride from his soldiers if they have to be somewhere else. But with all his health problems he has a LOT of doctor appointments. So there are several days a week that I spend driving back to get him for an appointment and then waiting at the library for the next appointment. Lets just say I've been getting a ton of reading done.

And it is no picnic for him. Do you have any idea how much independence you have to give up when you aren't allowed to drive yourself anywhere? Not only does he struggle with feeling trapped but he feels guilty for making others drive him. He can't come home to shower and have breakfast after PT. He has to bring everything with him and get ready at work. He doesn't get to come home for lunch unless he is lucky enough to have an appointment near noon and then we can go out together for a rushed meal. He has to wait for me to get to him every time he is done working. Sometimes he is forced to walk to places.

Other things in our life suffer too. We pay more for gas now due to all the back and forth. We spend more money on food because often we only have time to get something on the run.  The house basically looks like a tornado hit it at all times. I never seem to manage to finish chores that I start. I was supposed to have a part time job to help ends meet but I can't do that now. 

At times it gets completely overwhelming. Sometimes there is nothing left to do but sit in your car and cry. And I've done just that. I've laid my head on the steering wheel and just sobbed. Cried because I was losing hope. Cried because I felt completely drained, like I had nothing left to give. I just didn't have the energy to continue on. I wanted to give up. I cried and I prayed. And it was okay. It is okay for me to feel like this. It is okay to give in to the tears and the heartache. It is okay to turn to God when I have nothing left and ask him for help. Because after it all, I get back up each time and pushed forward, renewed with new energy and hope from the Lord. I keep going, knowing that I am not alone in this. Knowing that this is what the Lord asks of me. Knowing this is what my husband needs of me. 

Please don't get the wrong idea. I do not write this to complain or to get sympathy. I do not talk about my husband's pain to get attention. We have chose to share our story because we want to make people aware of what some families might be going through. We want to spread understanding and support. We hope that maybe, just maybe, our story will help someone else who feels like giving up. We want to send out hope and strength. Know that you are not alone. Know that you CAN get through this.

I will not say this is easy. I won't insult myself with that lie. Everything is still a work in progress. Doctors are still looking for answers. I won't say that there hasn't been times that I wanted to give up, that I think longingly of a life without it all. It hurts to see him hurting. It sucks to feel helpless at times. It is hard to give up dreams for something that seems so unfair. But I will not leave. Because I love him. Because this is not his fault. Because he sacrificed everything for me and this country. Because it could be a lot worse than it is. Because he is a wonderful man despite any of his illnesses. Because I am not that kind of woman. Because I promised.

Credit to Katydid Photography

* A MedBoard or MEB (Medical Evaluation Board) is an informal process comprised of at least two physicians who compile, assess, and evaluate the medical history of a Soldier and determine if the Soldier meets, or will meet, retention standards. If the Soldier meets retention standards, the Soldier is returned to duty in their respective or current Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).

Sources:

http://dvbic.dcoe.mil/dod-worldwide-numbers-tbi
http://icasualties.org/OEF/USCasualtiesByState.aspx
https://www.hrc.army.mil/tagd/army%20physical%20disability%20evaluation%20system%20pdes

Friday, September 5, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Whisper

Back again with Five Minute Friday. We get a prompt word each Thursday and then we take five minutes on Friday to write whatever that word brings to mind. It's a write and post. No editing, no deleting. It's a wonderful exercise if you enjoy writing. Come join us! http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/


Whisper

The tickle of a breeze,
Plunge
©2013 Mariah Green
The kiss from grass,
Leaves dancing through the trees,
Whisper.

A sprinkling rain,
A trickle of water,
Soft snow falling on your lane,
Whisper.

The purr of a kitten,
The sigh of a lover,
Warm hands inside of mittens,
Whisper.

A heartfelt prayer,
A tear on your cheek,
Wrapped up in arms that care,
Whisper.