Elizabeth Torres Evans
I didn’t know how much I loved him, until I almost lost him.
One thing about Facebook posts. The “Memories” feature is a reminder of moments in time, big or small you might forget or even didn’t realize you memorialized until it comes up a year later, or in my case, year after year. I don’t know how many times, events I had long forgotten, or had vague memories of, are brought back to enjoy or cringe over. This particular moment in time, the day after Valentine’s Day, 2013 is not one of those times. My body and my psyche remembered. I have since that day, better understood trauma and how it affects my husband. The entire week I have been sleepless, emotional, quiet and withdrawn. I have sought his touch, his embrace, his all enveloping hugs that he patiently gives me on demand, chuckling at my sudden need, only to feel more anxious and unsettled when released. It was a conversation I had had earlier in the week about the lack of snow we have had this year that helped make sense of undercurrents. At three am on Valentine’s Day, a snapshot of the front of my house taken after midnight so long ago invaded my consciousness as I lay restless, unable to sleep. The reveals come between the moonset and the sunrise. In all my career as an administrative assistant and paralegal, I had never Fridays off until I went to work for Barri. She had offered a four day work week option the year before when she hired me a full-time or part-time position. Because it was a new area of law for me, I chose full-time to become acclimated the process dealing with separation, divorce, custody and child support matters, before easing into a four-day week. Since the first of the year, I had had Fridays off and loved not just having a three-day weekend, but having time to run errands and shop on a weekday. It was once such Friday, when one moment you are in the midst of a beautifully lit late-winter day, doing what you usually do on your day off, running errands, getting groceries, enjoying a cafecito on the ride home on the back roads to the house, without a care or worry in the world. The next moment you are pushing your car to its mechanical limits getting your husband to the emergency ward of the VA hospital. Why was I pushing my red PT Cruiser to it’s mechanical limits? Because my eternally macho Marine veteran refused to call 911 and have EMS come get him. Because my eternally macho Marine veteran refused to let me call 911 and have EMS come get him. Maybe because he was conscious, could breathe and walk but not deeply- the breathing part and for long periods of time- the walking part. Or maybe because he was just a stubborn guy and to admit he needed an ambulance meant his life was threatened. Which it was. To this day, I cannot explain what logic (debatable) he used, all I know was that I was able to get him to the VA without him losing consciousness. He wouldn't let me drop him off at the entrance, while I parked, or get him one of the fifty wheelchairs that sat outside the mechanical doors, so he wouldn’t have to walk. It had been frighteningly obvious when we left our home, the monumental effort it took for him to walk.
Excerpt from Train’s Coming, Our Journey with PTSD.