This weekend almost seems like a blur. Do you have those weekends? The ones that pass you by, and it seems as if you blink and you are already facing Monday?
That was our weekend.
But I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.
Saturday night Sam was a guest speaker at the Rotary Dinner, Giving Hope. We have been fortunate to attend this dinner in the past, and we were excited to attend again this year. Sam was a little nervous–he shared the stage with a General and a Congressman. He did outstanding.
This dinner is an opportunity for members of various Rotary clubs in District 6510 to learn about This Able Veteran. Sam spoke about his journey–the moment he realized he could use a service dog, and the moment that he met Memphis, and where they are today.
Each time I see this little documentary I cry. I don’t mean a few tears, I mean full.on.ugly.cry. It is not pretty. Sam mentioned that the video was going to be played before he spoke, and I thought to myself, “okay, you have watched this, you will be okay.”
All the tears.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wgl8oA2xJHk (Here’st he link just in case you want to watch, too)
Then Sam took the stage with Memphis.
I had no idea what he wanted to say. He didn’t have notes or a list, but he had a theme.
His theme was “battle buddies.”
A battle buddy is someone that can stick with a soldier through thick and thin, during deployments, missions, and downtime. What happens when some soldiers return home is that they lose their battle buddy–they don’t have a connection they once did. They may feel alone, lost, hopeless.
Sam felt all those things and more after three tours. He was uncomfortable in public, he had to reintegrate into a university setting three times after major combat, after a loss of soldiers, battle buddies, and more. He struggled to connect with others, he had trouble sleeping, and he actually thought about ending it all.
He was almost a statistic.
When Sam spoke his truth, his vulnerability, his courage, and his heart beamed. I was crying and nodding and smiling, and well, I was just as proud as a wife could be.
Because knowing those places, dark and deep and sad and angry—well, he’s come a long way.
PTSD isn’t immediately cured once a veteran comes home, seeks treatment, or even receives a service dog. But, healing. Man, can healing begin. I’ve watched a man be paired with the absolute best dog (let’s be real, Memphis and Sam were made for one another), and I’ve watched a man heal–grow, change, share his story, open up, and become comfortable.
Sam spoke from the heart. He was honest. It was raw and uneasy to hear at times because I know he struggled, I know he tried so hard to make others happy, when deep down he was struggling majorly. He tried so hard to not let that struggle show, and he finally found hope.
He has a battle buddy. Though it is a LOT different from a battle buddy during a deployment, he has me. I’ll help carry the load, share in laughter, tears, and stand beside him no matter what.