Monday, December 19, 2011

A Time of Wonder

Hi friends,

Recently I have shared some holiday celebrations with wounded warriors from Walter Reed. In just the last three months, these families have experienced a move to a new facility, an earthquake, a hurricane, continued recovery, and now the holiday season is upon us. While many of us go to holiday parties, I challenge you to consider our incredible Warriors during this holiday season.  Such scenes of simple joy in families who have endured heavy challenges this year deserve recognition.

Consider a young soldier with a serious neurosurgery two days out grinning from ear to ear as the British ambassador greets him, completely unselfconciously and proudly introducing his girlfriend.  Picture children lined up to “play” the Australian instrument, a didgeridoo that I swear is where the “Droid” sound derives!  Consider multiple service members in wheel chairs in full dress uniforms with small babies and toddlers clamoring to tug at their ears, mouths, and medals while dignitaries deliver toasts to their valor.  They’re focused on their child… Picture a Christmas party in the Warrior CafĂ© and the loud sound of a zillion conversations and cheers over raffle drawings for generous gift donations.  Relish in the group hug of families and friends who didn’t know each other until recently, joined in the common goal of support and healing.  My personal favorite is when these courageous men and women readily demonstrate they are truly shining human beings we would do well to emulate.

Why am I writing about this?  Because I have the privilege of new friends, new experiences, and new appreciation for our Warriors this year and especially … wait for it … their Caregivers.  Last year, many of these same warriors and caregivers were in vastly different medical phases.  Yes, many, many warriors and families spend multiple Christmas celebrations and New Year entries at the hospital.  Progress is often slow, but it IS progress! 

Caregivers, we salute you today and everyday.  It is a special time of year, and we are making steady progress with raising awareness of what you manage on a daily basis.  Make it a very good week!

Blessings and care,


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Did You Know Vet = Cry?

Good morning,

A quick thought this morning as the day begins. J

Do you ever text message on your phone with the letters doubled up on the keys?  On my Blackberry, it’s called SureText.  Yesterday I was texting a veteran, and when I re-read the text message before I hit Send, I realized that each time I’d texted “Vet”, that it had typed “Cry”.  The doubled up letters on the keys had translated my words inadvertantly.  Obviously, I corrected each auto-text word, but it stuck in my mind.  

Irony?  I’ll let you be the judge...

Sure wish the alternative text words were Vet = Awe(some)!


Thursday, December 8, 2011


Nostalgia as defined by Webster includes a definition stating:  "a wistful or sentimental yearning for return to the past".  We all have memories we cherish and those we'd like to forget, but nostalgia can also be a healing practice.  How often do you take the time to consider the progress, Caregivers?

Was your life truly simpler “before”, or simply different?  Though difficult to view from today’s vantage point, are you proud of the changes you have mastered (or weathered) to sustain yourself and your veteran today?  Helped your family to adapt?  Or, if a veteran, have you grown through the (perhaps unwelcomed but everpresent) challenges placed in your path?  What was life like before you knew the terms PTSD,TBI, and PolyTrauma so intimately?  Have you learned new skills of organization, persistence, digging into research, and feeling accomplishment? 

Someone once said, “As long as you’re learning, the experience will be valuable”.   Have you considered that many years from now, you will have built new memories to base your nostalgia on?  Conversely, maybe you'll feel nothing but freedom from those older memories once you've progressed to a higher functioning level.  And, just maybe, you’re so darn glad to have an Alive Day to celebrate in your home, that you now view that date with nostalgia and gratitude.

As we enter this busy season and end of year, please know the great pride and strong support and care we feel here for your service. Your ENTIRE family serves, and we applaud Caregivers, veterans, service members, parents, spouses, relatives and friends, and especially the children for the obligations they carry daily.  Nearly all of us are nostalgic for the time prior to 9/11 – a time of innocence lost. Though deep reservoirs of trust have been misplaced, please know how honored we are to connect, correspond, and support you.