Just like how we all have nightmares, some come true. Some don’t.
I would hear how service members would come back home with PTSD and scream in the middle of the night, reaching for a gun to protect themselves from the memories that haunt them.
I have never encountered this before though.
Many times, have I talked to a shipmate of my man, listening to how he tries to ignore those dreams and memories. He had been deployed before and currently on this deployment with my guy. He refused to tell his wife, in fear that she would go to someone and report it. This sometimes forces these servicemembers out of the military. That was a fear of his. How did he keep it from her when they shared the same bed? He had gained enough control somehow to wake up silently. She never knew he never slept through the night. She still doesn’t.
“What if you come home with PTSD?” I had asked my sailor. I know it’s a real possibility. I wanted to know how he wanted me to handle it if it did come home.
“Just be with me, I guess. I think I’ll be fine.” Says every military member ever, including mine.
Trusting that no matter what happened, I knew we would be okay. We are always okay. We have honestly become dependent on each other emotionally and spiritually. We must be okay.
But only one phone call. A few words make that small fear and question come back to mind. What if he comes home with PTSD? What am I supposed to do to help him? I have never needed to ask myself this.
He laughed as he told me he saw the pilots from his ship blow up a suicide bomber go for one of the US’s tanks. Saying “He should’ve been faster”…. “It was like a movie”… “All the guys were cheering in the victory we had”….. “It was funny”.
Of watching something blow up, of killing people.
I have only been scared of him one other time. He was pissed. He was seriously angry out of the need to protect when I told him I had been abused as a child. His face over the camera turned to someone I barely knew and it was like he packed his emotions to the side to become a killer the military raised him to be someday. I told him I had to go and he was begging me to stay. I was scared and didn’t know how to deal with him angry. He has never gotten angry with me. Frustrated, of course, but never to the point I was afraid.
He wanted to murder the man who had hurt me as a child. I couldn’t blame him for his angry, I just didn’t know what to do with it.
But now, he’s laughing. He’s not angry or pissed or even upset. He’s simply amused by the death of a person that could’ve killed a ton of our warriors.
His shipmate said he was the same way on his deployment before returning home with PTSD and now he is mentally destroyed from it.
As a nursing student…. As a person who would die to save someone else…. As a person who has chosen to study to save and life people…. As someone who wants to go through pain and a long recovery to donate bone marrow….
This is a hard thing for me to accept.
I have accepted the distance. I have accepted the lack of communication. I have accepted not hearing his voice for months. I have accepted that I don’t know where he is or what he’s doing. I have accepted that I don’t know when he’s coming home. I have accepted a lot and am ready to accept a lot more in this life. I have accepted him and his world.
But this is something I struggle to accept. I don’t know how to accept it.
I know long story short, it’s continuing to give me and my family our freedom. But I am conflicted as to how to really feel. My job is going to save lives (or try) and his job is to take them in the name of our country.
We both knew what his job entailed. That the possibility of his bombs (“His babies”) would create damage. We never talked in-depth about it. He knew, I knew it would cause me to have conflictions. I won’t leave him for it. I love him. I couldn’t leave him.
I just don’t know what to think. Or expect when he comes home.