Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Save the Children or Save the Wife?

The “Tough Decision” that I mentioned last time has been painful. I didn’t make it. Life did. Linda was released on Tuesday. The plan was for her to stay with her friends, Ben & Wendy. The Social Worker agreed to Linda’s short term plan to step out of the home until she had her issues under control. Long term plan was for her to move to Kentucky. I agreed to continue supporting her throughout her therapy. We even had a therapist lined up that accepted my medical coverage.

Linda stuck with the plan for about 4 hours and returned home. She was making everyday more painful for both Keri and I. On Thursday, I had received a phone call from Stella’s teacher. She needed information and wished to inform me that Stella was being affected by the stress here at home. Stella had been distracted and crying at school. Linda overheard my end of the conversation and asked to be filled in. When I did, she broke down crying and complaining how much she was affecting the children and destroying all of our lives. After she got her emotions under control, she stated that she would go ahead with the plan. She left for Ben & Wendy’s house with just the bare necessities. Each and everyday she was staying over there, she was slowly progressing back to the idea that this was her house too and she had the right to stay here. I legally could not keep her out of the home. And legally I could not stop her from seeing the kids.

On Saturday, she forcefully returned to the house. We had gotten into a small argument about it. Keri was there for a part of it and was quick to get angry. She calmly told Linda how she felt. Correction, Keri never is calm when she confronts someone. I asked Keri to take a break in her room. Stella at this time was playing at Karla’s house. She just happened to call for a check in and was allowed to stay over there for the night. I waited for Linda to settle down, and then I left for Karla’s house. I informed Karla of what had happened and she offered to let us all stay over at her house. She also had a babysitting job for Keri.

I brought Stella back with me to get everything she needed to stay the night and to let Linda spend a little time with Stella. The played a brief game because Stella was excited to spend the night with her friends. While they were playing I had Keri go meet up with Karla. Keri was not in the best of moods, but was happy to do anything that got her out of the house. In addition to the stress from Linda, her boyfriend was out of contact. In hindsight, it was the wrong weekend for them to be taking a break from each other. I used the opportunity that was presented and ensured that Linda could not affect the kids anymore.

I did not quite expect the babysitting job was for me. Karla took me out to one of the local clubs, just to unwind. It was a good escape. We both had Mountain Dew to drink and watched others make a fool of themselves. I have been in this area since 2003 and never stepped into any of the bars around here. When we got back to her house the kids were all asleep. Keri was crying and having a difficult time sleeping. So I just sat next to her all night.

For Sunday we had plans to go swimming. I was the first one up on Sunday morning and was concerned for Linda. I returned to the house and watched TV a little. Linda started acting like a child and was trying everything to goad me into having some stupid argument. I refused to play that game and left. She sent me a text message demanding to see Stella. I didn’t have a problem with that, so I brought Keri and Stella back for their bathing suits and let Linda and Stella play a game. That didn’t last either. Linda was acting extremely rude to Keri and me. So we quickly left again.

Well we all made to the pool, taking two vehicles to get there. We had a lot of fun. I stayed at the shallow end the whole time. (I still have a little fear of water.) But it turned out be a really good time. The three young ones kept me busy the entire time. Keri and I had a little fun too, but you tell that all of this stuff was hurting her. After we were done swimming, Keri and I bought our wet suits back to the house to get washed and to pickup School clothes for the kids. Stella didn’t want to come back to the house. Keri wanted to ensure that we had her computer and homework. Linda used the time that Keri was upstairs to try for more arguments. She didn’t learn. She stated that I would not have Stella stay away one more night. She even threatened to call the MPs. I didn’t care. She had already told me she wanted a divorce. At this point, I am more then happy to give it to her. She also didn’t like the fact that I had been working to protect myself; changing pass codes to my pay web sight, adding a checking account that she didn’t have access to. Stuff that you start doing when you and your spouse wants a divorce.

The three of did stay the night and was prepared to stay longer if necessary. The MPs, if called, never came by. We had a relaxing evening. I even ordered Pizza for dinner.

This morning, I got up for my morning formation. I arrived back with plenty of time to get Keri up for school. Keri needed a couple of thing that she forgot at the house, so I drove her over and ensured that she was not harassed. Linda just glared at us and tried to spout off a couple comments that would normally have made me angry. She sure knows how to push buttons. I stayed with Keri until she was safely on the bus. Afterwards, I rushed back to Karla’s house to wake up Stella and her friends. Karla took them to the bus stop, while I changed clothes.

I had a very busy schedule planned. Victim Services at the court house for a Protection Order, both schools for counseling support for Keri and Stella and Social Work Services. I made it to the first stop and made an appointment for tomorrow. I received a text message or three from Linda as I was leaving, none of them made much sense. I made it to Stella’s school and talked with the student councilor and the Principal about what was going on. Then I had a few more text messages, all of them saying pretty much the same thing. (Attention Getters) These were only providing me with motivation. I made it to Keri’s school. Talked with the guidance councilor about the situation and how much it has been affecting her. I took Linda off the emergency contact list and ensured that she could go through the school to cause trouble. As I was leaving I received a call from Linda asking me where I was. I responded with a simple “off post”. She said “good” and hung up. Not knowing what she was up to, I returned to the elementary school. I just wanted to make sure she wasn’t trying to pick Stella up.

I was about 20 minutes from Fort Drum on my return trip, when the next call came in from Linda. I answered the phone with “what do you need”. Linda calmly relies “I just wanted to talk with you as I die”. I slammed the brakes and pulled off the side of the road. I called 911 and had them transfer me to Fort Drum 911. The lady took all of the information and sent out a car to the house. She insured that I was in route home and got my ETA. She then started asking if there were any weapons or alcohol in the house. I told her no. After that call, I was a bit shaken; but preceded as fast as I could back to post. I received two phone calls from the MP desk. First telling me that the Officers were at my house, but they weren’t getting any response. Second, was because of my dogs. I guess they were having a problem with the Rotty. I was speeding through the gate of Fort Drum during the second call. Just 5 minutes away from home, I told the officer this and he hung up. I arrived to find 7 vehicles scattered in front of my house, but no aid car. I parked the best I could and found several officers at the door and Storm trying to get out. The Officer in Charge allowed me to enter the house first to secure the two dogs. Once that was accomplished, they came in. Linda was no where to be seen. The OIC directed some to go upstairs and asked me to wait outside. I was out there when one of the many came looking for information and Linda’s I.D. I was escorted back into my own house to look for it.

Linda was on the sofa when I came in. She wasn’t speaking clearly and she appeared to be loosing consciousness. Then everything was happening at once. One officer needed a towel of cloth to stop the bleeding. Another, needed a can or bucket for her throw up into. And yet another, needed information about Linda’s history and medications. The first one was still asking for that I.D. card. I looked around downstairs for my wife’s purse and didn’t see it. I went upstairs to look for it and ran into another officer in my bed room. He was taking picture. That’s when everything hit me. There was an empty alcohol bottle on the night stand, with a razor blade. Blood was on the sheets. Shaking myself out of the rack of emotions that were hitting me, I asked the officer if he had seen the damn purse. He said no. We both went into the connecting bathroom. We found the purse. We also found paper towels and clothes covered with blood and a paper bag from her purchasing the alcohol.

I took Linda’s I.D. back to the officer needing it. Answer a whole lot of questions. Then, I provided a copy of the previous police report. The ambulance finally arrived and they rushed her out to it. The OIC told me that she was lucky to have thrown up as much alcohol as she did, because it helped to remove a lot of the pills that were inside her. The Officer’s were starting to pack out as poor Keri got off the bus, right in the middle of everything. She came at me crying and white as a ghost. She had been told to take the bus to Karla’s house, but she said she afraid of what she had seen. Stella, through out all of this, still doesn’t know what all has been happening and is currently enjoying another night at Karla’s. Keri was able to spend time with her boyfriend at a football game, but now more then ever, needs counseling. I’m still trying to cope with all this myself.

I hope this time they listen to me and keep her in the hospital longer and gives her the help she needs. -Because I can’t keep doing this, and I won’t allow any more of this around my children.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Finding my way,

Another day has come and gone. This one started early. I had to wake the girls up early for them to go to the High School football game. Stella and Keri were really looking forward to this. I used the time to catch up on some of the house work and to reset myself. They were only gone for a couple hours, but it was time well used. Once they returned, both of them helped out where they could and cleaned up their rooms.

You know, I don’t expect my kid’s bedrooms to be perfect, but I try to hold them to a standard that they can achieve. Simply making sure their rooms are free of hazards, trash and dirty laundry. To me their rooms should be the safest and most comfortable place in the house. A place to that they can escape to and relax. They both have the means to watch TV and movies in their rooms. Books, games and Keri has her computer. It gives them the freedom of choice. A little spoiled, maybe; but growing up, I wished that I had a safe place. I never use their room as a form of punishment for that reason.

After they were done with their chores, Stella went to play with her friends outside. Keri had her boyfriend over to watch a movie. Jamie has a good head on his shoulder and treats Keri with a lot of respect; and me too for that matter. But I’ve finally got use to having these “Estrogen Headaches”. For me, it’s feels more then a little unusual to have another male around the house. Even more unusual is that I can get along with him. Due to the abuse I grew up with, I’ve found it difficult to deal with other males. Not impossible mind you. I have a few good male friends. But I would agree with most of the ladies, men can be such….

After I was finished with the dishes and the laundry, I found time to chat with a friend that had returned from her trip. This lightened my spirit a little, but I had to get ready for my visit with Linda. I made sure that Stella was having fun at Karla’s house. Karla was having a slumber party for her two girls. She had twelve girls all around the ages of 7-10, not including Stella. Wow! I’m glad she had help from one of the other Moms. I wished her luck and left quickly.

Jamie had to go home, so Keri joined me for my visit with Linda. Keri confessed to me that she didn’t want to be left alone and because she was left to fend for herself a lot over the past 4 months. Tonight, I realized how much of a rift was created between Linda and Keri. Keri told me I should get divorced and I should be able to get a chance to get out doing the things that I like doing. This should have given me a clue about how well the visit was going to go.

During the visit, Keri and Linda had a difficult time dealing with each other. Keri would start a conversation just to have Linda point out her flaws. Keri would give back as much as she received. The visit was tense to say the least. I guess I needed to see how they would react with each other before Linda returned home. Linda and I played cards and Keri wound up just talking with just me. At the end of the visit, Linda made a statement that had Keri ready to get out of there and made my very concerned. “If I’m not out of this place by Tuesday, then there’s going to be hell to pay.” I told her I didn’t have control of that. She tells me that she’s still in there because of me and I have more control then that.

I called the Social Worker on duty, after I returned home; she verified that these comments were typical for the disorder she has. She also asked me to call on Monday and have Linda’s Social Worker document the conversation.

Karla called to let me know that Stella was sick and had a fever. When I went to pick her up she was pale and very hot. I brought her home, gave her some medication, and had her lay down on the sofa with a cold washcloth on her forehead. Within an hour she was feeling tired but much better. Right now she’s asleep on the sofa with Storm lying next to her on the floor. Keri has already given me her goodnight hug and kiss. I feel loved and secure at the moment. I just can’t shake the feeling that one of my tough decisions has already been made, but I’m too afraid to admit it.

- Good Night

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday at last!

The past three days have been long and complicated. I have found myself down right exhausted each and every day. My unit has required me to sign in off of my emergency leave. They have refused to extend my leave. So, now I am balancing a work schedule, taking care of the children and trying to help my wife.

Through the latest Red Cross message, I requested additional leave in order to support the family's needs. Instead of granting the request, they pulled me in on Wednesday to sign a Family Care Plan Counseling. I now have until 14th of November, 2008 to complete this plan.

1. If I complete this care plan on time. I will be returned to Iraq immediately regardless of Linda’s condition or needs. Complication against this happening is finding care givers that both Linda and I agree to. We are not divorced, so legally I do not have the right to dictate choices or make arrangements without Linda’s consent. If I divorce her, I still have the same problems, but with slightly more freedom in choosing a guardian.

2. If I fail to meet the suspense. Then I will be recommended for a Chapter 5-8 separation from the Army. This will cause a snowball effect. First, I will have to relocate. Second, I will not have the medical support for Linda’s therapy or medications, unless employment is found before we relocate.

I will be enrolling Linda into the Army’s Exceptional Family Care program; this may open up other options that could stop the process of separation. This program is my only chance of keeping everything together. It may also help to give me a reassignment to another base, closer to home. I am not quite prepared for this either, but looks to be the best solution.

Linda has shown very little progress over the last few days. The only excitement she has shown has been to the thought of returning home again. This afternoon, we had our “family care meeting”, in other words a meeting between the Social Worker, Linda and I. This is required prior to Linda’s release, but when I arrived she was already getting packed. She had been expecting or led to believe that she was going home after the meeting. During the meeting, I voiced my concerns and questions. The Social Worker agreed with my concern and was asking Linda what she was going to be doing to ensure her safety. Well needless to say, between my concerns and Linda’s answers, Linda is still at the hospital. We are now looking at the potential of having Linda place in a long term care facility or getting her more aggressive help. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but that was the term used by the Social Worker and psychologist. When I left that meeting, Linda was looking at me with so much betrayal and anger. Later she called to tell me was no longer angry and she understood. I’m not so sure. And that is what really bothers me right now. I don’t know what to believe.

The only thing that I can be sure of is, the kids have been happier around the home. They have had little of no stress since Linda went to the hospital. Keri, “no longer feels like she has to walk on eggshells”, as she would say. Stella wants her home, but understands that her Mom “needs help”. They have been kept busy, running around with me, helping with the chores, doing homework, visits with Linda or having fun with their friends after school. We even included a trip out to Westcott Beach State Park. This place is great for just getting out for a break. We all miss Linda, but it finally peaceful here at home. I don’t know if this is wrong of me to feel this way, but it is allowing me to put things into perspective. I’m in no rush to have everything go back to the way things were last week. I am now just starting to get out of the dark mood that I was in. Now, with the children happier, maybe I can find a little time for me this weekend. Outside of the far off family and friends, which have been trying to help; I haven’t been able to get out and find support for me. I am thankful for everyone that has been out there helping in their own little ways. And I thank God for his strength and patience.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Heavy reading and dark thoughts.

It is known; you must first identify a problem before you can fix a problem. In military terms: “Know your enemy.”

I have been learning all of these wonderful medical and mental terms lately. So many in fact, that it feels like I’m back in school, complete with homework. I hope I don’t fail this test. To tell the truth, all of this unwanted education has been giving me a headache. But it’s necessary for me to understand the all problems that I am facing. All of the psychoanalysis that’s been going on over the last few weeks has provided me with the understanding of many different types of depressive disorders. The doctors were able to help identify which ones were affecting my wife. But depression alone did not help explain the reason why my wife has to acts on such extreme impulses. (The hurtful nature she has.) Today, they have finally been able to put a name to this issue.

Borderline personality disorder, is what they called it. If you watch a lot of movies, you will understand the terms and potential problems by watching Fatal Attraction. This movie was a smash hit, becoming the second highest grossing film of 1987. Critics were enthusiastic about the film, and it received six Academy Award nominations. The character of Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) has been cited as a notable film example of a person with borderline personality disorder.

After all of the explanations and the studying I’ve done on this topic today, I would agree it possible. It does explain a lot, but doesn’t help me to understand the enemy. This part does:

“It has been noted that there is probably no other mental disorder about which so many articles and books have been written, yet about which so little is known. Studies suggest that individuals with BPD tend to experience frequent, strong and long-lasting states of aversive tension, often triggered by perceived rejection, being alone, or perceived failure. Individuals with BPD may show lability (changeability) between anger and anxiety or between depression and anxiety. The negative emotional states particularly associated with BPD have been grouped into four categories: extreme feelings in general; feelings of destructiveness or self-destructiveness; feelings of fragmentation or lack of identity; and feelings of victimization. Individuals with BPD can be very sensitive to the way others treat them, reacting strongly to perceived criticism or hurtfulness. Their feelings about others often shift from positive to negative, generally after a disappointment or perceived threat of losing someone.”

My question has been: “What can I do to help fix this?” The answer is: Nothing! Except leave it to God with prayer. The fact is, I feel, I might be doing more harm then good! And it scares me! The test that I mentioned earlier will be a test of my strength, character and mental fortitude. Do I divorce and move on or do I wait and loose her slowly over time? I was asked today, during my visit: “Can I support her through this and still be married? Because her condition may get worse, not better, over time!” I just don’t have an answer, because her love for me might be her own enemy. What if it becomes mine?


Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus’ Day Adventures…

Another couple days have come and gone. Little has changed, but I didn’t go back to Iraq. That will come back to haunt me later, but for now its what the family needs. Linda’s still in the hospital. The chain of command in Iraq has all the proof they could have asked for. I am a little bitter at them for creating the stress that may have caused my wife to loose control. Tonight she was not emotionally sound and she is having a hard time dealing with the captivity.

But like usual, I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Yesterday, I was very depressed and feel quite alone. Because of the weight of everything that has happened and the thing yet to come, it was hard for me to deal with anything or anyone. It was almost like I was Linda. I had phone calls from family that I couldn’t face or deal with. I think part of it is because I have really big decisions to make about my marriage, my children and my career. I feel like I’m at a crossroads of a sort; one that I just don’t have enough information to make the decisions. I had my visit with Linda was simply an hour of playing cards. I wound up sitting on the sofa, just thinking; after the kids went to bed.

The kids and I had plans to get up really early this morning for a road trip and to go hiking. We wound leaving late because my Commander called. He told me that:
I would be extended only 2 days on emergency leave.
That I would be reassigned to the rear detachment.
That I would have only 30 days to provide a family care plan that did not include my wife.
That if I accomplish that then I would be returning to Iraq.
That if I failed, and then I would be facing a termination of my career.
And that he still needs my help with his change of command.

A very kind person, he is not. Oh well, add that to the stresses I am already facing. Please believe me when I say, the US Army is usually not this bad, but sometimes you work for someone that has too much power for everyone’s health. I have always thought, good out weighed the bad. Until now, maybe! This I will deal with in the days to come.

We did leave late for the Adirondack Mountains but still within enough time to make it enjoyable. It took about 2 hours to make it to Placid Lake and with only few extra stops in route. We found the trail that we love to hike and had a quick snack before we started. It was a very slow pace, for Stella’s and Storm’s sake. I didn’t realize how out of shape the poor dog was. I don’t think anyone exercises her, while I’m gone.

The trail had a lot of trip hazards and I was careful to keep an eye on Stella. We captured several good pictures. We took a few breaks that were filled with laugher. The hike was a total of 8.5 miles round trip. No enough for me, but for Stella it was more then she expected. Storm had enough after about mile 6. She lay down and refused to go any further, giving us another reason for a break. Keri, who asked for this trip, was doing pretty well. She only complained about how much she would be feeling it tomorrow. I am really proud of both of the girls. I could tell that they enjoyed the hike, because they rarely complained of anything.

Once we mad it back to the trail head, we cleaned ourselves up. Made sure Storm had another chance for food and water. Then we packed up and headed home. What does it mean when Keri, Stella and Storm all fall asleep within 15 minutes during the trip home?

Once we arrived back home, Keri and Stella to charge of cleaning out the car for me. They helped to make sure that I was able to leave in time for the trip to the hospital. Linda was in a sour mood and crying when I arrived. I felt awful for having such a wonderful time out, but at the same time I realized something important. Would I have been comfortable with making the trip in the first place, if she was home? The truth to that question is a bit disturbing. It will also be the question I must sleep on.

By the end of the night, Keri had given me one of her latest poems to share.

Daddy’s Tears

My daddy is an American Hero.
He is my hero.
And a hero such as him needs hope
And faith to get him through
This time.
Where his love ones are far away
And out of his reach.
He wants to scream but all he gets
Is a raindrop.
He shows courage for his country
And for his family that await
For his safe return
He shows love even when
He is not home.
I am proud to call him my
Father and my hero.
He fights for what he thinks is right.
My tears only fall when I want
Him home the most.
Or hurts the most.
I know he cries too
Because I know how much
He wants to be home with his
And I also know that when he comes
Home the tears are going to
Come down not for sadness.
But for happiness.
Just keep your head high, Dad.
You should be home soon.
I want to make him feel better
But all I can do is be
Strong for him.
He is our father.
He is her wife.
He is the family’s hero.
And he is an American hero
Who shall fight
And shed tears for family and country.
But these are not any
Kind of tears
They are tears of a soldier who has
seen more then any person should.
He sheds the Daddy’s tears.

This poem is for all the Soldiers, Mother and Fathers alike, that are currently fighting over sea and the families they have to leave behind. God Bless the U.S.A Soldiers.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Self-made Karma?

Karma is a concept that seems to flow naturally with life. And some people really believes in it. I'm not so sure.

Well today, I took a break. I knew that yesterday’s event had taken it toll on me. I went bed, but couldn’t sleep. This morning I was no closer to a solution, but I knew I wouldn’t find one; if I didn’t get up and deal with what life had dealt me. I took a slow approach to the morning. I prepared for the imposing trip to the hospital, and the visit with Linda. The old fight or flight feeling was certainly hanging over me, because I didn’t know what to expect.

Stella and I arrived at the hospital with a travel bag, full of things Linda was going to need. Stella has always hated elevators, I could understand. Karma stuck again. I didn’t know what I did to earn this one. The doors to the elevators opened just fine. We went in just fine. It was the panel on the inside that caused the problem. None of the controls worked. Oh, but the doors had closed with no problem!!! I found myself sitting on the floor of the elevator. I pulled the little door open for the emergency phone; pushed the button. The phone would ring, but to where? I couldn’t be certain, it never connected to anyone. Of course, as soon as Stella saw me doing this she panicked like only an eight year old could. I was trying to hold her, comfort her give her some assurances that we were just fine; while holding my thumb on the alarm button. By the time Stella told me she was feeling sick, she had another reason to panic. The elevator started moving. Why, I don’t know. We were on the ground floor.

Sure enough, we went up. After it came to a stopped, Stella and I were looking at the door, then at each other. After a good minute, the doors finally opened. Stella had tears flowing out of her eyes and was just clinging to me. The two nurses out in the hallways were looking at us like we were aliens. I asked Stella to sit in the chair that nearby and told one of the nurses what had happened. The other nurse was looking to take the same elevator down. As she caught on to what I saying, wisdom set in. We blocked the elevators doors open. I noticed afterwards that we had made it to the forth floor.

I needed the first floor, so I asked “where’s the stairs?” Wisdom was short lived. The nurse, kind as she was, escorted Stella and me to another set of elevators. Stella didn’t like that. She clung to me like a GEO-PET!!! I decided that after this, I would be taking Stella somewhere peaceful and fun Well, we arrived safely and proceeded with our visit.

Linda listened to Stella’s report on the elevator and that seem to help break the tension of the visit. Not a lot was said and we only had 30 minutes to visit.

We left the hospital, with another elevator trip. Where the stairs were, I never found out. But, trust me; I’m going to find them tomorrow! I figured that if bad karma was to blame for events then I was going to create good karma. I don’t know if I believe in the stuff or not. A good attitude and a little effort can fix anything. We left for Thompson Park. We enjoyed a good long walk and shared the camera. Stella likes taking pictures as much as I do. It felt good to just escape everything. I enjoyed her company too. We followed the trails for almost 2 hours. Give Stella credit, she stayed with me and never ran out of energy.

After our walk, I let her play for awhile on the slides and toys they had there. I just sat and watched her play with the other kids. With responsibilities hitting me the gut, I realized the time and knew she should be getting hungry. I was really surprised that I was. I haven’t had an appetite or a desire to eat in several days. We agreed on eating at Dano’s Pizza. It turned out to be the perfect choice for both of us. For some odd reason, I was missing my weekly pizza night. Afterwards, I was feeling content for a change.

I still had one more trip to the hospital to make, before the night was up.

The Physiatrist had changed Linda’s medications around. He also made a statement to the nurse; one that I believe to be all too true and scary at the same time. “If Ken leaves anytime soon, it will be the death of her.” People really need to stop saying things like that. To hell with Karma, I will continue to look to God for solutions.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Some things I’m just not qualified for….

This one is hard to write. I’m not sure where to start. The day started off simple enough. I had asked for an extension on my current emergency leave. So when I received the phone call this morning from the rear element, I had expected it to be a fairly easy task. And to be honest, it should have been. But, I was informed that I had to come in and explain myself to the Forward Commander. He was more worried about the mission than my families needs. I was told to provide documentation of my being needed here; if I didn’t, than I would have to return to Iraq on Monday. Leaving my children or even leaving my wife to go through this alone was appalling. After I returned home, I tried calling her psychologist, but she would not provide any information without Linda’s release.

I tried going through different resources for help or suggestions, everything being more complicated than it should have been. I even entertained the concept of putting my children in foster care temporarily, distasteful as that sounds. I was told that may be the only way to solve the children’s safety issues and still allow for me to complete the mission requirements for the Army. I was left with no choice; I had to let Linda know. That’s where things went really bad.

Linda started stressing. She has told me several times that she doesn’t feel stable enough to care for our kids. She couldn’t understand why I had to go back to Iraq, or why the Commander needed me so badly. By the time Keri made it home from school, Linda had gone from stressed to angry, and was planning on leaving. She had packed her bags, stating that everyone would be better off without her. Keri had listened to me and went straight up to her room to watch a movie. I was on the computer looking for assistance and I only left her alone for a few moments. She made a statement that didn’t sound right; something about making it permanent. I heard the pill bottles being bounced around and looked around the corner. She had stuffed her mouth full of some little white pills. I ran to stop her as she swallowed them with a glass of water!

I panicked a little and she already had a second set ready to go. I couldn’t tell what she was taking. I didn’t care. I called 911 to get help. Believe it or not, when you live on a military installation and you call 911 for an emergency, you will be put on hold until you are transferred to the “right people”!!!

When military police and ambulance arrived, I had control over the medications and Linda was unapproachable and sitting on the sofa. Keri had locked Storm upstairs for me. The officers took the reports. The social worker checked on the well being of Keri and the medics took my wife and the pill bottles. Keri stood there for several minutes afterward not sure what to say or do. I left the room and broke down. I never really thought that I would have to do that to my wife. I am having a difficult time just writing this down. I still feel like, I should have seen this coming.

I waited for Stella to make it home from school. Then I left Keri in charge. She had her boyfriend coming over to help; plus Linda’s friends would be checking in on them. I made it to the hospital while they were getting Linda set to drink her second cup of charcoal. I think she was connected to every type of monitor that existed. Have you ever tried holding hands with a mannequin? That’s how withdrawn Linda felt to me. I sat with her until the doctors were able to medically clear her. Any longer and I would have lost control over my emotions. I still have a problem with crying in public. Left over trash from my father, I guess. I went home to take care of Keri and Stella. I really needed to have them close by. Anyway, they admitted her back into the mental care ward. This time, because she went involuntarily, they will be keeping her in for the next two weeks. I still haven’t a clue on what Monday will bring. Right now I am the one that is feeling a little hopeless and alone.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Peace and Understanding

Well as I said yesterday, it’s been peaceful. And right now, peaceful means, the absence of active motivation or harm. Linda’s mood has been everything from resigned to complete hopelessness. The only times I have seen her smile is when I have been actively involved and doing something to drag it out of her. I know she is going through a lot right now, but I have been finding myself having my mood swayed by hers. Her biggest complains revolve around, not wanting to hurt anyone else as she is going through this and still having the desire of ending it all. She has been diagnosed with two disorders; Clinical Depression and Dysthymia. Both of these are affecting her in ways that is hard to understand, hard to cope with and worse, hard to predict. In addition to all of this, she is going through withdrawals from the medication she was aver using. The Busebar she is taking now for anti-anxiety will take a minimum of two weeks to reach the levels she needs to control the spells.

Today, I was able to get her out. It was a short road trip; to get her mind off of things. I was able to get her involved into helping with taking pictures of the autumn trees. She didn’t have the drive of energy, but she made the effort. It’s the best that I can ask for. She has had the uncontrollable shakes all day. She state that they are so bad that she want to go into a rage. I keep telling her that she is stronger then that. I continue to encourage her into staying busy and to stay involved with something to keep her mind off of it. Problem is, it’s now affecting her sleep. That tells me there are harder days yet to come. She has literally stepped out of making decisions for the children. She doesn’t trust herself to making the right choices. She states that she has lost faith in God. I reminder her that God and I haven’t lost faith in her. It feels like a psychological tug of war at times.

She states that she no longer feels that I’m the reason for her anger or pain and that really there is no source or focus for what she is feeling. While I am hoping that is true, I can’t help but wonder, without a focus for her, will she start looking to hurt herself more. I will have to keep watch.

We called back to Oregon to check on Lynn (my Mother-in-law), to find out that she has finally been transferred from the hospital to a care home. She had been in that hospital since mid August. She had a gestural intestinal bypass surgery done two years ago that was performed incorrectly. It took the two years for the damage to show. When they tried to correct it, they tried several things that all failed. Lynn, who to me, has become like a second mother. I hadn’t realized my own feeling about this lady, until we were loosing her. I was still in Iraq at this time, unable to help. Linda had to fly back home to help, not just her mother, but also her step-father that has been dependant on Lynn for medical needs. After doing all that she could, and feeling responsible for potentially missing Keri’s 16th birthday, she returned home with her mother still in the hospital. Several calls came in throughout September; some reports telling us of Lynn’s improvements and just as many reports of her needing to be resuscitated. Suffice to say, Her Mother’s near death experiences has a lot to do with Linda’s stress and the depression’s decline. The move means that the prayers have been answered and she is healthier now or that she at least out of danger. I was able to talk with Lynn and she is sounding so much better.

Here are a few quotes that have helped me:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”- Ecclesiastes 4

" A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."- Arabian Proverb

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”
- Wizard of Oz

I have felt the love and the friendship in as many days as I have felt the pain. I appreciate the help and the kindness that everyone has shown. It proves to me that God is with me and that God work through each and every one of us.

Until tomorrow, Safe journey to a dear friend! Thank you all.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Today has shown a little progress, and a lot of peace. For just a little while, it all seemed back to normal. Linda made it to her appointment, but afterward she and I had a heavy conversation regarding our future. I am still trying to process the details. I will involve some of the details tomorrow. We were however, able to have a relaxing dinner, and we were even able to have a little fun. I am currently holding my breath. God be with you.


Monday, October 6, 2008

A Very Slow Day…

Today, I was able to get Linda up with the kids. It might seem like a small thing; but for her, it was a step in the right direction. She even managed to stay up for a little while afterwards. If you have ever been emotionally upset for any reason, you know how much it can drain you of energy. Well depression works on that level too. So, I tried to use that understanding after she went back to bed and slept till a little past noon. That too, is better then she’s been doing up until now.

Not wishing to leave her alone for long periods of time, I used the time to work on this site. I really do love one of my hobbies (photography) it give me joy to have a way to show it. The pictures also shows my interests, places I have been, and a few things I believe in. It also help to remind me that beauty and true enjoyment in life can be found anywhere. Yes, I love my job and chosen career. But when it begins to tear me between duty to the Army and duty to my family; it really does become an easy choice.

After Linda got up, she just took a slow approach to the day. Her anxiety pills had run out. (Thank you, Lord) But she was having a hard time coping with her anxieties and was shaking physically. No cause for concern there, right? On Saturday, her physiologist had prescribed something that is not habit forming and something less likely to be abused. I had to go and get the prescription filled at the store and asked if she wanted to go with me, she declined of course. After about hour and a half, I was able to return. She was moving quickly for the first time all day, because I arrived with what she needed, cigarettes and her medication.

I had time after my trip to chat with a dear friend of mine. My friend thanked me being able to vent, but in the process, she helped me. Not so much by what was said, but just being there. “This too shall pass.” You know, there is power in those words. God never gives us more then he thinks we can handle. Who am I to question his wisdom? I will have to keep this in mind, in the days ahead.

Now it was time for me to cook dinner. My plan was homemade Salisbury steak, seasoned potatoes and steamed cauliflower. Ever since I came home I’ve been doing the cooking and cleaning. Keri has been helping out. (As much as you would expect any teenager to help, anyway) She’s a good kid, though. Just has to be reminded frequently that she has chores. She makes it easy too. She’ll ask: “Can I go over to Jamie’s house?” My reply is an easy: “As soon as your chores are done.” With a slight roll of here eyes that tells me everything I need to know, she starts working quickly to get them done.

When Keri went with Wendy to pick up Jamie from the football practice, I expected to have less mouth to feed. When Keri call to tell me that her boyfriend had hurt his knee and she was going with Wendy to take him to the hospital, I knew that she wouldn’t make it back it time to eat. Somehow she arrived just as I finished cooking. With quick adjustments, I had her plate ready too. You just never know with my family. Dinner was a quiet event. That’s never a good sign in this house. It reminds me that I have a lot to do.

After dinner, I did the dishes and found time to relax. I ensured that Keri and Stella had their homework, chores, and showers done. Keri was exhausted and went to bed early. Stella watched Linda and I play Phase 10 until it was bed time. Shortly afterwards Linda went to bed, allowing me to finish this. The only thing left for me tonight is to go jogging. I wish to be there to help motivate and run with a friend. Besides, this will help me to get to sleep. I think it will be one lap around Riva Ridge Loop. (aprox 6 miles) This will make up for the slow day.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend of mixed feelings

I have to say, I had fun playing Wii with the kids. (When I left for Iraq, we didn’t have one.) After several false attempts, I figured out how to make the darn thing work. Thanks to Paige and Stella, anyway. I’m still amazed how much these kids are teaching me. Anyhow, between playing and watching shows, the three of us were having a real good time. I had promised both of them a trip to the pool and told them to get ready. The energy they have, tired me out, so I took this time out and used it to chat with my Niece Heather and my friend in Iraq. It just felt refreshing to be doing something different.

When we arrived at the pool, people were having a fair of some sort. So I wasn’t expecting to see horses there. Of course, when you have two young girls with you that love horses, this fact wasn’t going to escape their notice. As they said, “there’s the Momma, the Poppa and their baby”, I noticed the pony. Talk about your unexpected pleasures, I have always loved horses too. The pony was about 6 hands high. Anyway, we had a really great time at the pool. Stella is still learning to swim, but Paige is a natural. We were there for a good hour or so just relaxing and having fun. As refreshing as the water felt, so was the enjoyment of just getting out of the house.

Linda was awake when we got back home. I was able to sit a talk with her for awhile, nothing really stressful. Afterwards, Linda went to the pharmacy to fill some prescriptions just to find the place closed because of a fire. I stayed at home waiting for Paige’s father to come pick her up and to chat with Heather. Linda and I were going to meet up at her friend’s house for football and playing cards. Up till this time, everything appeared to be going great. You know, it never goes as planned.

There is a reason for having instructions on prescription medications. You might even think it would be to help remind the patient of the instructions. But sometimes it’s there to help others to figure out what went wrong. Anti-anxiety meds are not meant to be consumed in large quantities. And I learned that I was the wrong person to help her through it. She needs me to be supportive and loving. I don’t know how when she say’s that I am also the source of her pain. I was up with her till almost 6 the next morning.

Stella got up a little after 7 to find me already up and ready to give her breakfast. I had lain down on the sofa to get in a couple more hours of sleep and be there for her as she watched a movie and play her game. All day today, I kept having last night’s issues plaguing me. It worries me that she is so quick to use the medications in such high doses. I feel like I should lock them all up and hide all the knives. This is where I need God’s strength. And I could use everyone’s advice and prayers.

Linda slept in till about 4pm. In that time I was able to get the kids out to the library and take a walk at the park. The kids at least didn't know that anything was wrong this time. While I was out, I was able to take a few pictures and redirect my mood. Nature walks really helps to clear the mind. I think I really need to have tough love on this one. The path she is on now, no body will be able to tell the difference between accidental overdose and suicide. To the ones that love her, there won't be a difference in the meanings.

-Good night

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The bright side to all of this?

The past 24 hours has shown some improvements. The improvements that make you stop and hold your breath for fear that it might be a house of cards. I have seen Linda work hard to lift herself up out of the depression. Although she has managed to stay awake and involved all day, we have no choice but to be careful of what we say or do. In the late afternoon/ early evening I was talking with her about things that I had accomplished. She misunderstood something and fell again.

It took an all evening trip through memory lane to help her back up. But at least I was able to help her. Her psychologist appointment went well and has agreed that more frequent visits were needed. Her next appointment is on Tuesday. That appointment I will be joining her and using it as a base for marriage counseling and for me a little coping shills!? I could use that! Anyway, it is a sign of progress. I hope that it is, anyway.

Stella and Page (Stella’s friend), played and laughed all night. It’s amazing to me, how the laughing and giggling of young kids can be infectious. They would do something or come and pester me for some attention that kept me smiling all night. They certainly kept my spirits up. Tomorrow, I will be taking them out swimming and give them some needed attention. Stella has been cooped up with the stresses for far too long. They are excited. I find that son am I, it would be nice to get away and do something/anything that is not involving this gloomy house.

Keri spent the evening at Ben & Wendy’s house with her boyfriend Jamie. I am happy that she found someone that treats her with respect and helps to keep her distracted from problems at home. Being a teenage comes with its own depressions and hardships. If she has someone that helps provides the strength to work through her issues and coping skills. Then, for the moment, it helps me. After all I’m only one person.
I know that each one of the kids will be meeting a councilor to ensure they can put the past several weeks into perspective. I don’t want to see anyone go through this and be scarred. The pain is like violence; it comes in cycles. From my past, I’ve learned the value of breaking that cycle as early as possible.

Last time, I said there was a bright side to all of this. Well there is a bright side. I have not lost sight of whom and what I’m about. I have not lost my faith in God. And the strength that comes from my friends and God will allow me to see this through. I have no choice; my children need me to make the right choices.


Thursday, October 2, 2008


Have you ever had someone in your life that just appears to be broken?

Linda had been crying, angry, hurtful and just plain lost ever since she came home. Right now she lies sleeping as she has been for the past 12 hours. I look at and see someone that is just "broken". There is nothing that I can do to help her. I know that I have tried everything to help.

Depression is like alcoholism, at least on how it affects and hurts those around. It continues being difficult keeping my spirits up and even harder preventing my children from being affected.

She tells me “I am the source of her happiness” and “without you I have nothing”. I believe her, and I feel the weight of that responsibility. Keri, for the most part, has stopped all but necessary conversations with her. She doesn’t want be hurt or say something that might make things worse. Stella is afraid of Mom and Dad not being together anymore.

I know that I cannot love this way anymore. I hate feeling this tore up every day. While I am here, there is very little escape for me. I need a chance to heal to. But if I leave for a short time, she makes me regret doing so. Sometimes I think that divorce is the only option left. But how will I feel if she kills herself as a result.

I have a lot of friend trying to help, but none of them have the answers either. The Army requires me to have a family care plan put together by the end of this emergency leave. I don’t have a clue on even how to accomplish that! My parents have passed on. My brothers are too much like my father; one of them currently going through a divorce. My oldest sister, Dorothy, just lost her husband. There really no one available, that I trust.

But on the bright side of all of this…. I will have to get back to you on that one.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New tricks?

If you have ever heard the term, "You can't teach an old dog, new tricks". Even though there are times in my life that makes me feel like an old dog, I have discovered the value of family, friends and fellowship that allowed me to learn the new tricks in life. One friend showed me the importance of sharing my thoughts and led me here. Thanks "LY"

A little about myself: My name is Ken; father of two wonderful children. Keri is 16 and Stella is 8. It was because of these two blessings that I have been able to say: "Life is Great!" I joined the Army in order to provide stability and support for them. I was with the Air Force when I found out that I was a father. The mother was found to be unstable and I was needed to step up.

It was because of Keri Josie-Mae that my life became something worth living. December 21st, 1992, I gained custody of Keri, when she was only 3 1/2 months old. The fear, the responsibilities; and the love, that entered my life, did more than just set my life back on course. She reset my priorities.

I gave up the Air Force, mainly because I couldn't see myself continuing a career that would keep me from raising Keri. When I got married in 1998 to Linda, I saw the chance to be able to have a career and family. So I joined the Army. Linda has been supportive ever since.

In May of 2000, I lost the most important woman in my life. That was my Mom. (Stella) She, despite the abuse from my Dad, stayed strong. She taught, by example, how to treat people, how to care, and how to love. In alot of ways, she had Jesus' unconditional love and she shared it with all that came into her life. When sometimes I find it difficult to have patience for something of someone, I think of her. Then I have the answers. She will always be my personal angel. Because she is still guiding me.

On June 12th 2000, Stella Angelina was born. She gained the name from my Mom and Linda's Grandmother's. She brought so much more love to our family. Over the years I have noticed that she has my Mother's patience and grace. She doesn't like to let any emotion show except happiness. She also is the most stable person in our house. If she becomes sad or emotionally hurt, she quickly redirects her focus and forgets about it. I have a lot to learn from her too.

I will be including more of my thoughts and history over the next several days.