Beth Moody 53 Captain United States Air Force
Sparkill, NY United States
I'm lucky because I know the exact moment the first domino fell that would eventually topple our lives. 9/11. I worked in the city at a school for gang kids. That year the fear my tough students felt was palpable, the fights constant. My husband demanded I leave. I did I change schools, went to the suburbs. Hated it and planned to change schools again when my 55 year old reservist husband was activated the first month of the war. So I stayed not knowing what would lie ahead for him, us and out family.
At 55 he needed to walk away from his successful business, turn over the reigns, and become a full time soldier again, the first time was in Vietnam.
I won't go over the familial difficulty of the next five years, but when my husband retired from the military at 60, and returned to civilian life, his business was near bankruptcy, his PTSD had returned and blossomed, he had all but lost his hearing, and his back caused him constant level 10 pain. Returning to a broken civilian life only increased his depression.
It is one thing to start over in your early years, it is quite something else to do it in your 60's. Wounded, heart sick, deaf, and traumatized he sat on our sofa for the next two years- paralyzed by his emotions and physical wounds. He turned down most VA help not wanting to take up space meant for younger men.
My husband's military chest is covered with medals from two wars, over 30 years apart. He is a hero. My heart sick man still dreams of snipers every night. My soul sick warrior flounders trying to find a place for himself in the world. His body still hurts from his wounds but he wages a battle against the pain daily. He shoulders guilt over what abruptly returning to the service for five years has done to our family. He shoulders an unfathomably deep guilt that after two wars he is still alive when so many have died. He believes that he has not done enough for country or family.
He seeks help intermittiantly and works with younger soldiers. He is still a warrior and a hero- he just can't seem to come home.
In the meantime I have learned what it is to be a military wife. The my battles with cancer, loss of an eye, personal disappointment and loss of my partner are small potatoes in comparison to what our returnig heros face. I watch my husband wrestle with the demons of war, helpless. All I can do is pray to become the soldier in our home that he has been for our country.