8 years ago this month our middle son was medically evacuated from Afghanistan with a head injury. It has been an uphill battle fighting for his health, his benefits and for a life worth living.
It’s been hard and wonderful. It can consume our days and nights in worry and what if’s. At least once a year we have to go on suicide alert.
These moments right here are when I need my safe people, my circle. My tribe.
When you have a wounded warrior in your life, certain situations can set alarms off. These past few days have been filled with those “certain situations”. It had been 24 hours of not hearing from our traveling son. I sent a message to my dear friend Erin who works at The Wounded Warrior Family Support to seek advice. I got her wisdom and her prayers.
Now before you think we may have overreacted, you need to understand something, life with a head injury and PTSD makes one a tad different. Unpredictable at times. Alarm number one: August is his alive day anniversary (the day Jesus Saved him from death) Alarm number 2; Anniversaries are hard for warriors: they don’t always remind them of victories, but of traumas.
This was his first big trip with just him and his dog. Our son is great about checking in, but it was quiet. Unusually quiet. After 24 hours we began to call several state police departments to see if they came across his car or his descriptions, in any accidents. We called hospitals. Nothing. PTL We called three state police office: no incidents to report. And then, I spoke with an amazing lady named Kim with the Iowa State Police and explained to her our situation and the route we thought he was driving.
(New flash, you do not need to wait 24 hours if you suspect someone is missing. That’s is a myth)
Back to my sorry: This amazing woman went above and beyond what we could ever expect. She took our info and then reached out to other state police to be on the lookout for our boy.
You see, life with a wounded warrior keeps you on your toes. And you need those you are confident in, who will get on their knees and pray. They don’t need all the facts, they pray with an understanding that needs no explanation. They feel the fear in your hearts and contend for your cause.
find your tribe
Yesterday, a handful of you warred with Joe and I for our warrior. Your prayers guarded one of our countries guardians. Our children warred in prayer in a way no others could, for they are also soldiers, sailors and combat veterans. Rallying the angels to cover, guard and protect their brother.
Minutes before Kim called us back, I was on my face in surrender. Letting go once again and leaning on and into the one who loves bigger than I ever could. Who can be where I can’t be and do what I can’t do; the impossible.
Surrendering to whatever life looked like with the outcome of my fear, “though he slays me yet I will praise him” And I felt peace fall.
And then, a call from the hero named Kim, “Holly, this is Kim, His cell phone pinged, he’s traveling the route you expected. Just very sketchy cell service. I put a call out to other state police, if they see his car, tell him to call his momma”
I took a full breath. My body relaxed. What I feared DID NOT come upon me. Peace came before the answer. Before the call. It came in the surrender. It came in the prayers. It was fragile and delicate peace, but it was real. Then the answer brought joy. Relief. And an increase of faith.
This blog is to serve as a testimony, a declaration and an awareness. We are standing in a victory today with wars still ahead of us to fight. We are grateful for our circle of people who prayed, who encouraged and who spoke life.
What I’ve written is vulnerable and raw. But it’s to make us all aware, this life is precious. We lose 22 veterans a day to suicide. Families are fighting with a fierceness and a fear. They hang on by threads of hope.
And some of those threads are fraying. They need support and love. Judgment will make them pull away and stand guard over their heroes life. I know, I’ve done it. Only the safe get peaks into the true hell and the true joys.
So please, don’t judge what looks like crazy; its not: It’s a broken heart, soul and mind. A wound deeper than the injury itself. What’s crazy is the 22 a day who have lost hope and help. That to me, is crazy.
Be a tribe member that circles the moment in faith and prayer. Be a warrior for the warriors and their family. They don’t always know how to ask for help without exposing the truth of their life. I say this: Don’t make them explain. Just know, it’s hard and rewarding. And when someone reaches in with authentic love, they don’t feel so alone.
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