Grief and resilience, how to cope with the loss?
I just started the blog and I am amazed how many people have been writing to me and expressing their support. To ALL of you THANK YOU!
During this year, many things have happened, good and not so good. Last year I was accepted to a PhD program and I was very excited to start this new journey in my career but on the other hand my husband was deploying for the third time in the past 5 years. I had so many mixed emotions, things to celebrate but not next to the one I love. Well, my husband left on May 3, 2009 and our anniversary was May 29th so again we missed another important day. I cared when we missed Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays etc. but like everything in the military is all about adapting and overcoming. I love the military life, I feel very proud of being an army wife, it is just something that I cannot describe.
When my husband was wounded on June 29, 2009 I felt so worried because I wasn't sure how he was and I remembered that when he called me the first think I asked was "Did you get burn? Are you complete?" It was just a reaction of the moment because I could not be at peace if I knew he was hurting and in pain. Maybe in another time I'll write about all the events that took place between the day he was wounded and the time he came home, but for now I will write about when he came home.
It was September 1, 2009 and I saw the airplane (an air hospital) when it landed at Biggs Army Airfield. I saw my husband but I could not get to him (security measures). I followed the ambulance and finally we arrive to the emergency room. When he stepped out of the ambulance I looked at him and I said to him "you look so different", I know maybe it was a mistake but I just reacted without thinking. My husband was not teh same Victor that I saw leaving on May 3th. He looked disoriented, distracted and there was something in him that made him very different. I tried to tell myself "Roxana, it is okay, he is just tired from flying but he is your same husband". How can I describe how I felt when he came back home? I felt worried of what we were going to face, I was sad because I knew for him leaving his soldiers behind was devastating but at the same time I felt very strong and with a peace that I cannot describe. My husband like I said earlier (in another post), is the new version of Victor and honestly I loved the original version and the upgraded one ;)
Sometimes I cannot avoid but to go back to his e-mails, letters, birthday cards, pictures and videos. Those days I cry because there is a sense of grief. I feel my husband died but wait a minute, he stills here physically. This emotion is explained by the ambiguous loss theory by Dr. Pauline Boss. That traumatic event changed our lives and how can I cope with that change? We try to identify common interests. I try not to think about the old days but look forward to a new beginning although sometimes it is difficult because I miss him so much but at the same time he is here. That is when guilt takes over because how can I be so selfish in thinking about what I miss, what about him? He misses himself too, so I start feeling guilty that I am concern about my feelings. Also I am feeling guilt when I am doing good in school and things are going so well in all the other areas of my life. I feel I am leaving him behind. We always shared all our successes and triumphs but this time it is difficult for me to share some things that make me happy, like work and school. I don't want him to feel left behind. Sometimes when I want to share I have to do in 2 minutes because otherwise he would get easily distracted and would not listen. Sometimes I talk and we are having a conversation and he leaves or start doing something and never even notice we were talking so that makes me feel so lonely. We used to talk so much, great conversations about anything, science, politics, economics, religion, you name it. Now we just talk about same thing over and over.
I am very blessed that I have a tremendous support network. My parents live 5 minutes from us and my mom is a very wise woman, she helps me a lot, my dad is the best dad I could even imagine, he is my best friend. I also have a huge support network of friends. At work it is amazing how much they care for us. Also I have a wonderful friend that despite the distance she calls me and checks on us and she has been an inspiration because of her kindness, strong will and her leadership.
There are so many things I have to say but I'll start with this posting a series of postings about grieving process. I think this is the most difficult part to get through. The grief comes with guilt and deception. How to avoid getting emotionally numb and how to overcome grief in a healthy way without hurting yourself and others? These are more I will be completely open and will share the emotional process of living with a wounded soldier.