When night falls on another Veteran’s Day, when the left-over chicken waits in plastic tubs for a quick breakfast the next day, and the confetti is swept from the streets, and the flags are folded in tight triangles, when the holiday ends, most of us get on with our lives. But for those warriors who carried an M14 along a jungle trail, who patrolled the streets of Fallujah or Bagdad, who developed the skills to survive and return to us, for those combat-seasoned men, life does not exactly just go on.
My Life with a Wounded Warrior is the true story of the joys, challenges, and lessons of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. This collection of deeply honest personal essays shares Pamela Foster’s twenty-five years of living with and loving a combat Marine, a veteran of Vietnam. With humor and love and respect, as well as with frustration and anger and sadness, Pamela Foster lifts the curtain on the true cost, the individual cost of war, and gives hope and joy and laughter to those who love their own wounded warrior.
Remember the old Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times? Well, it isn’t as though I didn’t have plenty of clues that life with Jack would be interesting before I fell in love with him. Twenty-five years ago on our first date, he called the restaurant and reserved a table in the corner. Once we were seated, he calmly, reasonably, explained to me that he needed a table with a chair where he could sit with his back to the wall.
“You expecting someone to come through the door with guns blazing?” I teased.
He nodded across the table.
“Yes,” he said. “Always.”
Our first camping trip, he set-up a blue nylon dome and then, well after dark, collected the sleeping bags from the trunk of the car and lay them carefully at the edge of the woods – far, far away from the cozy tent and camp fire.
“We’re not sleeping in the tent?” I toasted one last marshmallow.
“The tent’s a diversion,” he said. “They’ll come at the tent, thinking we’re inside.”
“Who?” I asked, all starry-eyed idiocy. “Who will come?”
“Whoever,” he said, as though that explained everything.
In a way, it did. I was just too stupid in love to recognize the answer to the question I hadn’t yet even formulated.