I am telling you, if someone had told me getting (blown) blew up by a rocket grenade had perks I would laugh in their face. It was a Thursday evening in Kandahar Afghanistan just after dinner. We were done with worked and headed towards our living quarters. As soon as we exited the vehicle, the emergency siren went off, I started running and the rest is history. Four surgeries later and one pending the doctors was able to save my leg and I am walking today without a limp.
Even since I landed in the US in January 2011 my job was to see doctors and specialists. I had no reintegration, no debrief only medical personnel that was a constant reminder of what happened to me.
One day I went to see my nurse manager Nola Coughlan and she looked at me and said girl I can see that you need a break, I could barely break a smile. Among all my injuries I was diagnosed with PTSD and Major Anxiety Disorder. Nola said, I am gonna see if there something or somewhere you can go to relax and forget for a minute. She got on her computer and started surfing the internet and found the Wounded Warriors Family Support site. She got so excited for me as I was still in that blah phase when I walked in her office. She even got on the phone and called to make sure everything was good. She handed me some paper work that she printed from the site as well. I took it and went home and lay them somewhere with my ever mounting medical records.
Of course my interest and low energy level had me not wanting to do anything. A few weeks went by and Nola ask me what is going on with the vacation. I fumbled some excuse why it wasn’t completed. She insisted I jumped on it right away. It was more out of getting away from talking about the application and when I mention it to my children who got pretty worked up that it was complete. My kids and I have never been on a vacation. They were saying "Mom here is our break, lets go."
So here is the good part. I wasn’t able to get the Summer so Thanks Giving was the next holiday for the kids. The envelope from Wounded Warriors Family Support arrived and I opened it and saw the little note cards I started smiling, I continued through the papers and saw the gift card I was so overwhelmed with joy my eyes filled with tears. The first thing that came to mind was that I can pay the initial out of pocket for my daughter braces, (girl still have her baby teeth) we will have food, money, and gas money for the trip, oh Lord I was bursting with joy. Only my mother had done anything for me that made me feel this way.
I was on way to see my Psychologist and I sat in the parking lot to gain some composer and wiped my face. After my session I went to see Nola and told her about my package and its contents, as usual with her super excited personality she wanted to see it. And as usual I got emotional again. Because of my injuries and illnesses I have come to meet so many genuine people, its unbelievable and sometime too much for words.
Sometimes I think that getting hurt was a blessing in disguise except for when I am hurting like crazy or when I cant remember that I should put the phone to my ear and not on the counter. (I laugh at myself).
Anywho…My mom Blossom-Joy (my lovely caretaker) my two kids (Taneil and Shevaneil) and I arrived at the Bahama Bay Resort and its was as if we never left home. The only thing missing was the TV in the kids room and they sure didn’t mind, they just got on the internet with their little gadgets. For a moment I stood in the doorway and look out at the lake and thought to myself, “there are some kind-hearted people in the world‘. Look at us in the place, I couldn’t dream of affording it on my own, no time soon. By this time the kids had picked a bed, got grandma settled and come the checked out my room.
On the bed they had used the towels to make swans that form a heart. It was so unique and pretty. The surroundings was so quiet and peaceful. I started sorting my things out only to find out I left my bag with my shoes and toiletries. Everyone was ready to freak out and I reminded them that I can wear Taneil’s shoes and we can get toiletries at Wally World (Walmart, they are everywhere) The kids thought I was going to go crazy without my stuff. I always get them theirs and I have mine. For some reason I wasn’t phase that I would have to use my kids belongings. I told them that after all everything is my mines. I bought them. They were dying with laughter. I think is just getting out of my own scheme of things and I was in vacation Zone.
The week went on with us visiting the different parks and getting that extra night at the resort. The kids made breakfast before we set out each day. It was like seeing a fish walking. They tend to bicker when they attempt cooking together, but this week was like having my two little elves at my beck and call. For awhile nothing amused me though, nothing seemed interested but just to see my kids (16 and 20) running around and getting on roller coaster one after the other, sharing the same meal on the same plate was like a new world to me. (at home each one owns their plate) I watched with a keen eye and a mellow in my heart and my mother at my side. (She is the rock ) I could feel a little part of me coming back to life.
No picture can expressed what I felt just being away from home and not be in a hostile deployed environment. But I hear that pictures can say a thousands words. I will send a few. By this time you, the person reading this must be wondering what is going on?
I AM SAYING THANK YOU! Did you hear me? I couldn’t figure out how to say it so I kept on writing.
Thanks to Everyone who made this possible and to Kate for all her help. God Bless and Merry Christmas.