The True Meaning of Sacrifice
“Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success,
it enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure,
and the temporary failures.”
Memorial Day is the day of the year where we celebrate and recognize the ultimate sacrifice given by those who served our country. It’s not about the barbeques or all day swimming with friends and family. The tumultuous times regarding the leadership and safety of our country is not only seen on major news channels but also witnessed within our own living rooms. Our troops returning home have sacrificed the life of daily freedoms and modern conveniences to go fight to protect our freedoms. Often times, though, when they return the true meaning and consequences of fighting a war now have redirected their once simple way of living by way of PTSD and all the complications that go along with it.
As I attempt to live this life with my own issues, I am often met by complete strangers who see my medical alert dog tag identifying PTSD as my condition. They soon notice and sometimes question the many scars on my forearms. They ask, “Were you in the military? Did you go to fight the war?” My response is always, “Ma’am/sir I didn’t fight or serve for our country. But fighting a war I have done since I was a young child.” It is at this point that the questions usually cease and their own uncomfortability surfaces not knowing what to say next. And well….I usually let them marinate in their own thoughts without explanation.
Today marks mine and Mel’s 11 year anniversary. We don’t count our “legal” anniversary because well that was controlled by the laws of the land prior to that date. Our marriage and family life has been one of sacrifice both individually and collectively since day one. We have sacrificed relationships with both friends and family as a result of our love for one another. And we have also sacrificed many parts (no pun intended) of our relationship as a direct result of my own personal traumas and the scars and open sores which they have left.
And yet again we find ourselves continuing to sacrifice our family cohesiveness and my time away from our children all in the hopes for better days ahead. I can write clear headed for now and these are the times where I can see the importance of that sacrifice. There are days recently where I’m blinded by the tragedy of those traumas and living life is not a priority in any fashion. Sometimes, though, I seem to get sucked down into the ditch of a previous life when the only option was to survive or die. The images of abusive memories soon become those not of the past but of the present.
Mel patiently and very lovingly makes sure the kids are taken care of and are safe and have some form of normalcy for them all. The tears she silently cries I don’t know about now. I’ve seen enough of her tears for me, our children and our family unit to last me the rest of my life. She and the kids continue to heal their own wounds while I search for answers of my own. She loves me but knows that this walk I’m on has come to a point where I have to do it without them. The continuation of hope for a day when I will have been able to shed some of these layers of hurt and pain and to function as a happy and healthy member of our family seems to be in the back of her mind at all times.
There was no possible way for us to envision the what the term “sacrifice” would entail. She and I both continue to watch and be a part of daily struggles regarding attachment, trust and bonding even with the most compassionate people. My absence for birthdays, kindergarten graduations and just daily life as a family can never be gotten back. However, the days of being genuinely happy to be alive and to one day be able to be “fully present” for future events is all the justification we need to know that the right decision was made for me to move here to do this work.
The transition has been one that has not been easy in any sense of the word. I brought therapy baggage that has complicated things in ways that I thought would be easy to ignore and work through. What I’ve found is that that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is also when the words spoken by trusted coaches ring very loudly in my heart and soul which say, “Keep swinging the bat. Keep shooting the ball because no athlete plays perfectly all the time. And it’s these times when you have to keep going and try, try again until you achieve the results you want. It’s about hard work and never giving up.”
Happy Anniversary, Mel!!!