A HERO'S HOMECOMING: Lessons Learned by Shelley
My husband was already a soldier when we marriedseven years ago, and I knew it wouldn't be easy being a military wife. But I'vefound that I'm a lot stronger than I thought. I'm learning to depend on myself,not on my husband. I'd been married before and divorced, and I raised my sonalone. I remind myself, if I could get through being a single mom, I can doanything.
One thing I'd do differently is to reach for supportmore. My neighbor across the street-the one I was talking to when I got thenews about my husband-lets me vent. I also talk to my mother several times aweek. But nobody really understands unless they've been through it themselves.
Last year a group called Salute America's Heroes tooka group of us to Orlando for five days. A psychologist from the VeteransAdministration talked to us. I discovered that I wasn't the only one who feltthe way I did. So did those other wives and mothers-and fathers and husbands,too, because a lot of the soldiers are women-and we don't know where to turnfor help. There are a lot of support groups for wounded soldiers but not manyfor the families.
You have to learn how to reach out for help. So I'mworking hard to get a family support group on the base.
There's so much written about the veterans, but not much aboutthe spouses. I'm grateful for this chance to say what I feel!