First off a little back story. My husband is a 27 year old Iraq veteran. He was injured while on patrol, and has a severe spinal injury, a leg injury, a traumatic brain injury, and severe post traumatic stress disorder. (Who wouldn’t after being blown up?) He can walk for short periods of time, with the use of a cane. (30-45 minutes at most) The rest of the time he is wheelchair bound.
I’m 21. I married my husband when I was 18, and he had already been injured when I married him. Everyone tried to talk me out of marrying a broken man, because I wouldn’t have a normal life. I married him anyway. We have been married almost 3 years, and I am told all the time how strong I am, and how hard it must be for me.
Everyone thinks the hardest part has to be that he can’t walk, or that I have to bathe him, or that I have to help him on and off the toilet, because he can’t do it himself anymore. That isn’t it at all. The hardest part of being married to someone who is broken, is dealing with everyone else.
We constantly get dirty looks, or get yelled at for being parked in a handicapped parking spot. They see the plates or placard and assume since we’re both young, we stole them from our grandparents. I’ve really been accused of this. People give him dirty looks for using those in store scooters, or his wheelchair. They all see him like a cancer on society. That is the worst part of being married to a veteran.
The hardest part for me is seeing my husband break down in tears after being yelled at by a random person at the post office, and hearing him say “This isn’t what I fought for. This isn’t what I fought for at all.”
So I always tell him, “Loving a military man was not hard. The distance was hard, the sacrifices were hard. But loving you…that’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done.”