Friday, October 31, 2008


We have found that it is a very good idea to "pay attention". As I said Eddie wasn't feeling "really well" in September. He did not want to see the doctor but gave in as I kept at him! His doctor had him take a stress test and when we heard nothing for two weeks we thought all was well....BUT then the phone call came that they did see something abnormal and wanted to do another test.

This time they scheduled the arterial gram and told him that if they found anything wrong they would fix it at that time. We called everyone we knew to have them praying and by the day of the test I was well fortified. I felt very much at peace and felt the outcome would be fine though I knew it was still very stressful for Eddie to have to go through the test. When the doctor came to talk to me he let me know that a they had put in a stent and would keep him overnight. We are very blessed to have such a good doctor and wonderful heart hospital...I can tell you that even the food there is great!

I guess that all of this actually put more stress on Eddie than we thought...AND then add to that the fact that he thinks he is superman....he overdid it...doing too much too soon and on Thursday he began having some chest pains. He didn't want me to take him to the ER but I did anyway! AND they kept him overnight to keep a watch on him. It wasn't his heart...probably just stress. I brought him home today and have been "ordering" him to rest!

I promise that I will keep him under control next week when we leave for Branson, MO for veterans week. We won't be on any schedule this time and can be much more relaxed than we were last year. During the week we have 3 dinners to attend and just a few other events...WE WILL DO A LOT OF RESTING! Eddie plans on taking his guitar and spending some time just visiting...picking and grinning at the Day Room where veterans gather to just visit and hang out.

AND for all you gentlemen (and ladies too) PAY ATTENTION to your bodies and your health. It is so much better to take precautions than to be sorry that you missed something. In all this...the triple by-pass last year and the stent this year we caught things BEFORE Eddie had a heart attack or any damage to his heart. For that we are VERY THANKFUL.

Connie Beesley

Monday, October 20, 2008

Louisville, KY VA hospital October 6th, 2008

We were asked to speak at the Louisville, Kentucky Veterans hospital on October 6th. I was a bit nervous when they asked that we both speak AND gave us nearly two hours on their program! Almost a year ago a friend of ours in Branson, MO took us into her office and told us she thought we should both be speaking and share our story from both points of view! We had thought about it, but had not been able to work anything up until we were given this challenge!
I told Eddie that I would feel much better if we practiced a LOT! Even though it is our story...I was not sure about how this would work out!

On Monday the 6th we arrived early. We had time for a cup of coffee and to visit with others before the meeting started. As we started our part, Eddie missed a line in his first section...wouldn't you know it! But that actually put me more at ease as I reminded him he'd not mentioned being stationed in Hawaii which was my cue for my part! From that point on it seemed to flow very well as we talked about meeting and then some of the adjustments to his injuries and PTSD.

We allowed time for questions and comments. One veteran said "You spoke right to me." It is at times like this that we know why we do this...and how important it is to others. Eddie and I have been very blessed to have "made it".
We've weathered many trials and adjustments over the years and in sharing our story we hope that it will help others to know and realize that they can make it as well. War changes a person in so many ways and that not only affects the veteran but their entire family. There were times when I felt so confused, not knowing what to do or how I could help Eddie...but somehow, over the years we learned how to talk and deal with so much...and now telling about that does seem to help others.

That is not to say we no longer have issues to deal with...we do...we are just better equipped to deal with them. We are still working things out even after all these years. There are still some dates and days when things are harder, but knowing that helps us get through those times even when they "sneak" up on us. We had one of those times this past September. We both began to "feel" down as September approached and for a few weeks we didn't realize what was going on or even why....then it dawned on was a year ago that Eddie had his bypass surgery! That was a hard thing for both of us...and the anniversary did actually cause us some stress that we weren't even aware of at first. Eddie even had some "symptoms" and this time it was easier to get him to see his doctor to be sure all was well.

In a follow up note to us we have been told that the veterans at that meeting are still talking and sharing Eddie's book and what was said with other veterans. AND we were told that they would like for us to come again next year!

Connie Beesley

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Welcome Home Brother

On July 11th of 2006 we were in Branson, MO for their Welcome Home celebration for Viet Nam Veterans. This welcome home was a long time coming for these veterans; many had NEVER heard these words from others. At that time our nation did not welcome home those who served with parades and celebrations. Most of those who came home would even "hide" the fact that they had even been in that war...that place.

All through the long week end...this band of brothers greeted each other with "Welcome Home", as well as tears and hugs. It was an emotional time for all who were there. AND a healing time as well.

One of the moving Wall memorials had been set up and it was one of the gathering places for those who were attending this event. Some had never been able to get to Washington DC to see the Wall. Some because they just couldn't face it...face the ghosts and memories of those lost. Ed always wants to take time to visit those he knew whenever we are anywhere close to one of these moving tributes. He has a nephew and many friends etched into those black panels and always takes the time to stop and let them know he will never forget them. We met a Gold Star mother who had come to this event to honor her son.
She had brought a large picture of her son and placed it lovingly each morning at the bottom of the panel with his name; then picked it up each evening. We listened as she told us about her son and how he had been killed. She gave us her email address and we still keep in touch with her from time to time.

As we were wandering around we met a Navy Corpsman, Doc Storm and his wife. There was an immediate connection between Ed and Doc and we spent a great deal of time with them throughout the week end. AND we still see them each year in November in Branson for Veterans week. In our travels we have gotten to know several corpsmen...AND many have become close friends...
wanting to keep in touch with Ed. (He and I were discussing this and a thought came to me...perhaps they see in you one of the boys they had to throw on a helicopter not knowing if he would live or die...never knowing. AND here you who made it...who did survive!)

Near the Wall there were many tents set up for the vendors and much to browse through. At one booth we met two ladies who would change our lives forever!
Joyce Faulkner and Pat Avery from Red Engine Press were there to encourage veterans to tell their stories so they would not be lost. Ed had been working on writing his story for about 10 years and had for some reason even brought a copy of his work with us. He decided to give it to Joyce.

One of the highlights was the outdoor concert that had been arranged for us just outside of Branson. What a day we had! We were entertained by several of the bands from those years...back when we were young and lived through those troubled times. Doc and I proved that even at our age we could still do the twist! The music and entertainers took us back. Some memories were good...I had good memories of being a USO (United Service Organization) hostess at the Oakland, California club and visiting the Oakland Naval hospital where I met Ed! Some memories were hard...for those who had been in Vietnam and had their lives changed forever. But all those we talked with were glad they had come...glad to be with those who understood them and finally feel that they were actually "Welcomed Home!"

Tony Orlando was there along with the many groups and bands from that time. When Ann Margaret came on stage she got a very unexpected surprise. There was a man in the crowd who had brought a newspaper article with her picture from the time she had made an appearance in country where he was! She couldn't believe he'd kept it all these years! Many of us have kept our "reminders"; I still have some of the letters that I received from those servicemen that I wrote to during that time.

When Mr "Good Morning Vietnam" came on it also brought memories back to those who had listened to him on the radio long ago. He admitted that he did not do all of the things his character in the movie did, telling us "I would never have gotten away with all of those things!"

At the end of the day we were treated to a beautiful display of fireworks. What a way to end this eventful day! We were almost sad that the week end had come to an end. Thank you Branson for a much needed Welcome Home! One we will never forget.

For those of you who have never been to Branson in November for their Veterans Week...GO! I cannot begin to put into words how good it feels to be in a place...AN ENTIRE TOWN...that welcomes ALL veterans and treats them royally. We attend every fact, last September when Ed was told he needed to have by-pass surgery his first question to his doctor was "Will I be able to go to Branson in November?" (We did get there) If you go, look for us there and be sure to say hello. You can visit their web site and see what will be going on this year.


About a week after returning home Ed got a phone call from Joyce telling him that she felt his was a story that truly needed to be November, just in time for Veterans Week Ed had his book Lucky Enough. And our lives have not been the same since then!

Connie Beesley