Saturday, December 31, 2011

Obligatory New Year's Post.

2011 needs to be left in the dust. Husband and his unit deployed, and so far 5 have been injured- 3 quite critically and life-changing. September 7 will always be a scar on my heart. My very sweet neighbor from New York is now at Bethesda, learning to care for her paralyzed husband. One of the best friends I'll ever have died tragically and suddenly four days after Aaron's incident. This year sucked.

But honestly... I leave this year feeling very blessed. Aaron is recovering faster than I could have ever hoped and dreamed. I have a bond with my family and his I never imagined. I have one of the deepest and most meaningful marriages I've ever seen (not to toot my own horn or anything). I'll be 30 in 2012, and I welcome it with open arms (and a newly pierced nose).

Suck it, 2011. 2012, the bar has been set pretty low but I really do think great things are going to happen.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

First Kiss.

Good for them!!!!  I'm just sad it's such news. People kissing shouldn't be such a huge deal.

Love Conquers All.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Welcome home...

... and what a homecoming it was! 2000 people waited at the regional airport to greet us. It was a freaking parade! Patriot Guard Riders, Santa, a police escort. Aaron received the true hero's welcome all of our wounded deserve. Not one to let anyone down, he put his legs on and toddled off the tarmac into the hangar. CNN had sent a cameraman to chronicle our journey, and there was another one waiting for us in Alabama. I am not sure I can ever articulate how much December 22nd has changed my life, but until then I'll let the pros tell the story. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Alabama 13 Story

Fox 6 Story

ABC 33/40 Story

Anniston Star Story

And yes.. even a CNN story. This was on the Headline News channel, and might still be running.

Also, here is the Facebook page for the Veterans Airlift Command, which flew us home "for free". I put that in quotations because generous airplane owners eat the costs of the flight themselves, and pilots donate their time and skills. This is not a cheap thing to do, and we are so eternally grateful for the trip home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


So I just wrote this wreck of ex on Facebook to basically let him know I'm in the area so that when we run into each other (which we will) and his wife who hates me is in tow (which will happen) he won't be an ass. I think I'd rather he ignore me, but it's even more awkward to actually say that. It's not that I worry about it that much, but just that I'd rather not have a really tense moment, ever. I have had plenty of those the last three months.

So, I thought that was a little funny. "Hi, heads up, I'm around and just didn't want anyone to freak out when we run into each other at the most awkward moment possible. Hope you're great!"

It happens.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Ride Over.

I took a US Airways flight to Germany on September 11th. I had gone from Watertown to Albany to DC, where the State department issued me a passport on Sunday. On the 10th anniversary of the day that started it all.

I went to the USO center at Dulles and a volunteer walked me through security and down to the gate. She spoke to someone behind the desk and I boarded last. I found myself sitting in business class, wearing a pink "Bomb Squad" t-shirt, next to a nice German businessman.

I had pictures from last Christmas. Aaron had grown a goatee and his eyes were sparkling. I cried to myself because I was terrified he would never look at me like that again. One of the flight attendants, also a psychologist, prayed while I wept.

I had never been more scared in my whole life.

His face is nearly the same now as it was then. There's a scar on his left cheek, but his eyes are the same. And for that reason alone, this is a lucky life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Another spouse is here, going through similar motions I did three months ago. No sleep, no appetite, no understanding of what in the hell just happened to her life.

A life-altering injury to the one you're with is like being punched in the face every second you're awake until you accept it. Your mind races constantly with thoughts of little things that will always be different now. The information about the present situation is overwhelming. It feels like you're being run over by a train.

I remember walking along the sidewalk one night early on here, staring at the grass and bushes as I went by. It was everything I had in me not to throw myself down and sob until it all sunk in. I've often said that it felt like my whole life and my whole future with Aaron had been burnt to the ground. Everything I loved was gone.

But that just means everything from then on was to be new again. And while it feels like promises of a "normal" future were taken away, you have to accept that it wasn't yours in the first place. There were moments when I knew I was actually in hell, but those became fewer and far between. Not only were his legs gone, but some fingers and a lot of the mobility in his hands. We only have a hope that we'll ever produce a child, and there is almost none without full-blown IVF and sperm washing. If we're very, very lucky we can start that process next year.

And eventually, you move on, grateful and proud of yourself and the hero by your side. There is honestly no other way.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm not complaining- because let's face it, I am one seriously blessed woman- but some days, this journey of being a warrior wife to my strong man is utterly, completely exhausting. And there are no breaks.

It's okay. We're great. I just get tired and miss my old life sometimes.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Last night Aaron and I enjoyed a dinner at the Australian embassy. We invited some local relatives and chatted up with the very hospitable embassy staff. I would never turn down a chance to dine with Australians- they treat their guests like royalty. We sat at the Ambassador's table and got to know his adult children and a guest political speaker.

Then early this morning, we got another call. For a third straight month, a tech is coming through Bethesda with a life-changing injury. He has been rendered almost completely blind- total loss in one eye, with hopes of shadowing in the other. He has a baby with his very lovely wife, who has three older children with her. We'll greet the tech tomorrow night, and his family on Monday.

When is enough, enough? How much can a less-than-50 man unit take? 5 injuries since June.
A broken leg, an injured backed, Aaron's legs, Kiel's left leg, and now vision. It's awful, it's not okay, and I am at a loss of words. How?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Some days are incredibly tough. The house is a mess and it seems that I can't even finish a meal without having to tend to something. Appointments run late, things pop up, we don't sleep well, or any number of things go wrong and set the whole day off.

And then there are days like this:

See more here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Here we are...

Lazy Sunday! Thanksgiving visitors, Mom visit, and a quick DC blitz with some of my battles from Fort Drum. I was going to do things today, but Aaron and I have just enjoyed not feeling any pressure to go anywhere in particular.

This past Thursday night I was invited to the DC-Metro holiday party and board meeting. I had been asked to share my USO story and I gladly did. I didn't know that 7 months of volunteerism could gain me so much family and support. It is rare to have a wholly positive experience with anything, but the USO comes very close. I hope to continue to serve in the capacity that I can.

The new digs are still working out great. I've got some Christmas decorations up and have ordered some of Aaron's gifts from online. I just need some little tables and such to go around the living room. Ugh. No surface space at all (wheelchair pathways do need to be pretty clear).

I want to spoil Aaron because well, we're together this Christmas. I am damn lucky to have him. I am just honestly so excited about us being together. We're going to get to go home for Christmas- something we didn't think was possible even a month ago. The fact that he's so healthy, and so active, is a miracle. It feels selfish to even imagine that he's only going to get even more amazing from here.

I hope everyone is looking forward to a good holiday season. Life can really be rough and trying, but I am beginning to actually believe that everyone has something to be grateful for. I know I do.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


So, since my life has completely changed I feel like I should gravitate from exclusive use of  "unlikely wife". I am still an unlikely wife, blessed to be married, and now stronger than ever. I feel more warrior... like She-Ra. Or a Spartan wife. I am going to design a new blog, and then redirect from here to there. You guys don't worry about a thing. That said:

Any domain suggestions?

Any new name suggestions? I like "Unlikely Life of the Warrior Wife" but I want it to include a reference to my husband (the real warrior hero) and be shorter and easier to recall.

Any blog design peeps you suggest?

Anyone want to do a flash cartoon of me and my husband?

Thanks so much for being here as I grow and change into this new life with Aaron. I hope to always have the time and gusto to blog.