“Are you mad at the Army for doing this to you all?”
It was a question I hadn’t considered. My husband had just made it through the officer selection board, which was a sad time for so many, and so very hard to watch, and we had just found out he would be going through the MEB process.
I have been angry many times in his career. Many times.
I have been angry at walls before because they offered sweet release when my fists needed it.
I have been angry at the war.
The military in general.
Finding one place to put anger in an all-volunteer military is really pretty hard when you think about it.
Who should hold that? Who is at fault?
My anger really began to show up when I saw him struggle to remember things. When I saw him off balance so easily—falling into the pantry or falling down stairs.
It caught me off guard when I would ask him something, multiple times, and he couldn’t remember it.
It snuck up on me when I saw him dizzy. Nearly vomiting. Or having severe headaches for years at a time.
But I think it really sat fully in my lap when I heard a doctor say, “The average person gets knocked out 11 times in his life. You should be fine only being knocked out under 10.”
I think the question here, the one that begs to be asked: Couldn’t it only take once?
And shouldn’t that one time that seems to have changed everything be his basis for care? Doesn’t he deserve to be seen as his individual self? Not compared to the “worst case scenario. Just be grateful you can move at all. I will see ten times worse than you today.”
That made me angry.
That still makes me angry.
At leasting. It is my pet peeve.
But then, where does the anger go? At him for joining? At me for hoping we had made it out of this with his body intact?
There is nowhere to really put this insatiable rage. But I began to want to throw it at anyone who would listen. Any who would be willing to hear our story. I didn’t expect to have to justify my story.
But why am I surprised? It runs rampant in humanity, doesn’t it? The need to be heard?
Every person has a story. And the right to tell it. And I wanted to scream his story at the doctor. To tell her about the times he saw stars. To tell her about the times he left his children to do this, and now we just need someone to care.
But this is not new, is it? This is an age-old story. This is what I have watched happen to others for years, now. What I have grieved with them. Felt alongside them. Known would be the case: That was would need to prove this story is true.
But I still had hope that it wouldn’t happen.
I know this will not be the last time this happens. I know his injuries are not visible. I know they are not the same.
I know others have it worse.
No one has to explain this to me. I have lived it for 13 years. So has he.
We know, very intimately, the price of war.
And that is my anger.
Knowing how hard it is to have a story and it not feel enough. To know that countless people have been hurt, mangled, lost, missing, no longer the same.
I am angry that it feels so thick and suffocating.
I am angry that anyone would ever feel “not enough” or that his piece of war was not up to a standard.
I am angry that the military is so overrun with people who need help—help none of us could have predicted since going into two wars at the same time.
I am angry this is happening on a mass level.
And more than anything, I am angry that my husband could ever feel like he wasn’t enough. Because he is so much more than enough.