The other day,Richie was sitting on his lap,and it looked so cute that I had to take a photo:
Yesterday,Rick had a very bad afternoon. Everything seemed fine,I went grocery shopping as normal,and Rick helped me unload the bags from the car. He did the dishes,and then sat down to watch the noon time news.
I was in the kitchen,and I happened to look at over him and he was crying. I immediately went over and sat on the arm of his recliner,and asked him what was the matter. He explained that his hypervigilance was really bad,and he was "seeing everything." Every shadow,even me in the kitchen,was putting him on guard,and it was overloading him. He couldn't control breaking down. It wasn't fair,he said. He didn't' want to be like this. It wasn't fair to Zach and I. He thanked me for staying with him and putting up with all this. I hugged him and told him I loved him and tried to reassure him. There was nothing else I could do. He went into the bedroom to rest,and was in a there a bit,still crying. I checked on him again,and he was upset because he couldn't stop his hypervigilance. He was upset because he has no concept of time. Years seem like a month to him. He can't remember Zach growing up because of his memory loss. A picture might trigger a brief flash of something,but even though he was there,he can't recall it,so it's like he's missed it. He looks at Zach and doesn't know how he is now almost 16. When he went to Iraq,Zach was in first grade. He can't remember if he has spent enough time with Zach,which is why he will drive him to school sometimes instead of letting him take the bus.He can't remember time with me. Sometimes folks will say,"Oh,I lose track of time a lot." It's not the same thing at all. He worries sometimes that I will say I've had enough and leave him. He can't come to grips with his limitations. He tries to be who he was before and do the things he did before,but winds up putting pressure on himself because he tries so hard and it's not the same. He only really remembers military things because,over there,you had to know your stuff otherwise you might get killed or get others killed.
I felt so very helpless. Rick hates breaking down,and never wants Zach to see him like that. I told him that Zach is very smart young man,and that if he ever cried in front of him,Zach would not think him any less a man for doing so. That crap has to come out. I don't care what sex you are,holding stuff in is not good for anyone mentally,physically,or spiritually.You have to purge it.
Richie was right there,putting his head on Rick's leg,his shoulder,and lapping the tears from his face. He knew that Rick was upset,and he did his job well. Rick took some Valium (which is prescribed for something like this to) and took a nap. When he woke up,he felt better.
Folks may wonder why I put something as personal as this out there. I want folks to know about PTSD,and how people struggle with it. I have Rick's permission to do so. I wouldn't do it otherwise.
I told him he was still my knight in shining amour. He always will be.