Today marks the end of our first week for my husband being medically retired from the Army. “Awesome, finally”, you’re thinking, right? Not so much. I really had no clue what I was in for.
The week started off okay. I could already see the anxiety mounting in my Husband, Tommy, knowing that in a month, he would have to attend college full-time in order receive BAH from the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. It’s not that he doesn’t want to attend school, he really does, but having PTSD and going back to school is really going to a struggle for him. That’s a discussion for another post though. So anyways, I could already tell my husband was getting worried and anxious knowing he was starting school in just over a month. Our little man was staying home daycare with daddy, still recovering from RSV, and the girls were off to daycare and school. The first day and a half were pretty normal, then Tuesday night happened.
It’s about 10:15 at night, I’m laying in bed, Tommy’s in his spot on the floor between the bed and the wall (something that has recently started, it helps him sleep better feeling less exposed up on the bed) and we start hearing noises outside. (It kind of sounded like a cross between gunshots and fireworks, both are major triggers for my husband.) We live at the end of a dead end street, and it is usually pretty quiet. I start feeling around on the nightstand for my glasses, and before I know it, Tommy has gone out the backdoor with his shotgun in hand. Before I can even make it downstairs, I hear him screaming out in front of the house. I run down, only to see him walking back up to the front door, shaking like a leaf. It turns out some of the neighborhood teenage boys were messing around at the top of the driveway (we never did figure out what they were doing to make the noises). Without thinking, I start yelling at Tommy for screaming at them like that, at this time of night, instead of going and attempting to talk to their parents. (More than anything though, I was shocked that he did this, he is usually able to contain himself better until he is at least behind closed doors.) He starts yelling back about how he was trying to protect us, they shouldn’t be out this late making noises like that, their parents cars weren’t in the driveway, etc, etc for 10 more minutes. By now the baby has woken up and is screaming. I go upstairs to get him, and by the time I have him settled back down, I turn around, and Tommy is sitting at the top of the stairs, hysterically crying. At first, I just kind of stood there and looked at him. I think I might have been in some sort of shock. My husband never cries. In the 2+ years we have been together, I have seen him cry only once, and that was the day our son was born. I finally snapped out of it, sat down beside him, and he laid his head in my lap just crying. He started saying things like “I’ve never acted like that before, what if I had hurt them, what if I can’t come back next time…” Finally he cried himself out and crawled into his spot between the bed and the wall and nodded off to sleep.. And there I am, sitting there on the floor in his shadow wondering…what the hell do I do now?