In 2004, my husband was deployed to Iraq for the second time. I had wretched neighbors move in next door – neighbors who made living in that home intolerable and dangerous. When our lease was up, I moved to a new home in military housing on Fort Bragg. I no sooner moved there, when I made some very dear life-long friends.
I have such fond memories of living on the cul-de-sac with these ladies. I remember our kids taking turns climbing inside our NASCAR tire, and the husbands rolling the kids across the yard. Our middle of the rain escapades, running out to get a “First To Find” geocaching. Our countless family celebrations at “The Party Place” aka the outdoor tables and playground at Sonic’s – and the sudden death volleyball and dodge ball games. Or the camp-outs that the boys had in our horse pasture.
As often occurs in military life – you develop new family wherever you go. And this was our family.
But a couple years after this photo was taken, things began changing for one of these ladies. Her family began a long, painful struggle with PTSD.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the thing that no one likes to talk about. It is the wound that can’t be seen. Too often it is swept under the rug and ignored. Soldiers are left to their own devises or told to “deal with it” – and dealing with it can often lead to drinking or drugs, depression or suicide, the destruction of lives and families.
Considering that these ladies are my family – this has come home to roost. Please see the struggle, that my dear friend Crystal is going through, pray for her family, and if you can – write to your representatives – what can be done about these families that are struggling to overcome the wounds of a decade of war? The wounds that no one sees, and most don’t understand – but we certainly see the destruction these wounds bring.
If you would like to help the Reilly family – There is a t-shirt fundraiser going on, and if you are in the Fort Bragg area – there is an Auto Show being put together for their benefit!