I soon lost myself in his care. I followed him around, answered the doctors’ questions, spoke with case managers and filed the paperwork. I didn’t care for myself and I was fully immersed in his care. Further down the road of recovery I had to let things go. We both needed him to start caring for himself. I needed to quit being his mother. It was hard for both of us to let go. I felt anxious and grief when I did not attend his appointments.
Now, four years later, I realize that “wife of a wounded warrior” is no longer my identity. We don’t feel the need to tell everyone we meet that he was blown up. We have other interests than dealing with the VA, the army, benefits, and the frustrations of his injury. I started volunteering. I work longer hours at my job. I take care of myself. I feel that we are in a healthier place because of this.
I see others that are still wrapped up fully in that identity of wounded warrior wife. When you are dealt that situation, it is easy to feel hopeless. Trust me, I have felt that things would never get better or level out.
However, if we don’t let go of some of the stress and the workload, we will hold on to this as our identity forever. I know it is hard for those that provide 24/7 care to release that as their identity. I see those wives who are providing around the clock care also serve others or help out families in similar situations.
I truly feel that we were dealt this hand to not only help our own families, but so that we can give back to others. Wounded Warrior Wife doesn’t have to be our identity. It can be a vehicle to help others and a time to learn. If we can learn to let go, just a little, it comes full circle and we can use what we’ve learned in that role to help many, many others.