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 us...it 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!