The Day After

Yesterday was the Bombshell Patriots Conference for Nebraska. It was a very emotional day. Stories shared, we heard about lives of patriotism, valor, anxiety, depression. How these people fought their way out of the darkness are stories of victory, faith, hope, and a strength that builds spirit, character, and heart. Some, unfortunately, cannot find their way from the darkness. The depression takes over.

They may not reveal depression, hopelessness, and PTSD symptoms. Their careers could be over by admitting these things. They struggle. Many cannot do it alone. We lose many to suicide. It breaks my heart to know that. The ratio of killed in action to killed by suicide is reversing at a frightening speed. Fewer KIA’s last year. Four times as many killed by suicide. We cannot look the other way while this happens. We owe our servicemen and women better.

The sisterhood I entered yesterday was incredible. Women helping women. What a noble concept. Not having any sisters, I often am at a loss figuring out how to fit with groups of women. I don’t need to do that with BSP. They honor each other where each of them are. This is key. The encouragement is something I’ve not encountered a lot. It was refreshing and comfortable.

The downside? For a person with fibromyalgia and chronic pain, I have pain every day. After a while, I needed to overcome it mentally. Sure, it hurts, but I know it won’t kill me; I don’t like it, but dang it, I can’t give up everything. That said, conferences and classes must be carefully scheduled. Not too many hours, no carrying stuff and off loading alone. I need to ask for help. And I need a day or two after to do nothing. Recuperation takes strategy, patience, and lots of self-love. And of course, gratitude.

Why gratitude? It’s because twenty-seven years ago, I had a tumor in my spinal column that was growing, pressing the spinal cord. The bone crushing pain I experienced was the worst I ever had. It would have paralyzed me except the neuro doc saw an arachnoid cyst. He learned about it in school, but never saw one. Surgery took over eight hours. I’m grateful every day I can get up and walk. Sure it hurts. It could be so much worse. Sure, it could be so much better. That isn’t even a remote possibility. I have to choose positivity.

Do I have days I don’t want to move? Yes. I have days I don’t want to. I know I’m better up and living. Each day has hope for me. It’s a necessity. Creative endeavors are a must. Writing clears my whole soul. I get strength from it. I’m better at creating than anything else. Quilts, stories, and many needle arts projects will have my time.

As we have a quiet evening and consider what we need to do the next week, I hope you are also enjoying a quiet evening. The week will be another busy one. And I will think of the room full of women and a few men who spent time yesterday with the Bombshells. Long may they reach out. Female veterans need them. I support that. Bless all of them.

Take care this week. Be purposeful about your work and play. Be sure to play. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.

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