By Melissa

Locally we have a few units deploying to some areas overseas. When I see these things come up I can’t help but flash back to what it was like preparing and watching Tyler leave us for Afghanistan. I remember all of the feelings as if I’m still living it. The terror, the anxiety, the hope, the excitement, and dare I say the relief?

Now, before you think I was HAPPY to send my husband to war and that I’m the worst military wife you’ve ever heard from, hear this; Tyler signed up for the Army with a desire to DO something. So, no, he didnt want to leave me with our 2 children under 2 years old, BUT he wanted to leave to serve a purpose larger than himself and for that I was relieved that he was getting to do so.

Then I think about the struggle. The daily anxiety of what we are in for. The constant juggle of wondering when the other foot will drop, even when things are looking up. Wondering what’s next, what’s about to go wrong, and what we will be enduring next. Am I speaking of the 10 months I spent home with 2 children while my husband was away fighting for each and everyone of our freedoms we take for granted? Or am I speaking of the daily life we live now that he is home, has been home, but never really returned from war?

Well if you are a military wife or partner, you know which one I’m speaking of. That’s right, the days we live now. You see, the military trained my husband impeccably to GO, to FIGHT, to ENDURE….. but no one ever trained us for him to come home. Physically he’s here yes, he’s been home for more than 4 years, but do I have my husband back? Do my children have their father back? No. Not the same one that left us in December of 2013. Instead, we received a physically injured, and mentally traumatized man who does the best he knows how.

You see, nobody ever tells the soldiers what to expect, and their families? Forget it! Hell, we even lost our military mental health support person for the families at home DURING the deployment due to budget cuts. If you ask me, that’s one of the MOST important positions to keep budgeting for! So let me be the one to open your eyes as to what you can expect upon your soldiers return home.

Things will begin with an amazing, honeymoon period, things will seem perfect, like you never missed a beat. Things will be the best they have ever been! Everyone will enjoy each others company, and life will be grand! And then… out of nowhere, something, somewhere, will set them off. Now this could mean many things, but for us it was anger. Extreme anger to the point of instilling fear. Aggression that I didnt even think my husband was capable of. Think I’m exaggerating? Come check out the repairs to my drywall and then talk to me. Then, suddenly this beautiful man who you’ve loved for as long as you can remember is standing right in front of you, but you can’t find him. He’s lost. He may be physically home, but he’s mentally still at war. The constant rollercoaster of emotions… sad one minute, not sleeping for days the next, then can’t stand to go to ANY public location with you, so instead you stay home like hermits because neither of you can handle it. You are dying to go out and adventure, do the fun things like you use to, but if you try all they are consumed with is how many exits there are, where is the nearest door, who is the biggest threat, what will we do if a shooter shows up, what’s that over in the corner, a loud bang or crash – guess what it’s time to go. Oh and not to mention that the ONLY acceptable seat in the entire place is nearest the door with a wall to their back, where they can see everything happening around them at all times.

This is living with a Veteran. This is being the spouse of a combat Veteran. I’m constantly on the watch for things that could set things off of our track of complacency. I do the driving. I choose the restaurants. We stream movies instead of going to the theater. Kids being loud or arguing? That’s right, me again. Why? Because this is how I keep our rollercoaster on track. Now, this is not me telling everyone that my husband doesn’t do his fair share. He absolutely does. He’s a great father, and a fantastic spouse, and the very best friend I could ask for. This is just a tiny glimpse into our reality.

To the families of those preparing for deployment or currently gone – I see you. I hear you. I get it. I am here. Prepare yourself, because the deployment is the easy part. You will have everything taken care of, you will fly through the deployment with a few hiccups here and there, but just know that that tiny battle is nothing compared to the war that is coming your way when your beloved soldier comes home.

When you find yourself in the throws of reintegration and the military nowhere to be found, know that we are here. We are living it and we are happy to help you. We have solutions. Solutions that have made our life more enjoyable, given us control, and not turned my husband into a zombie, ‘cuz yeah… we did that too…. but that’s a story for another time!

Sending you love and strength ❤



We’ve grown a bit!

We’ve been a little preoccupied lately. We welcomed our third child, Leonidas Rae in April after a long and trying pregnancy. Since his arrival into the world things have been so busy! Having three kids is crazy! Camren & Riley have fully grown into the roll of big brother and sister, and we couldn’t be more proud!

I feel right back at home with another baby. I truly truly enjoy the world of having a newborn/baby. Toddlers on the other hand are NOT my forte. Probably because they can talk back :-O.

I think Tyler is still adjusting to the new addition. I can tell that he’s uncomfortable, and I think that it stresses him a bit. Tyler has also gone back to working, doing a construction type field. I think that he really enjoys the work, but not necessarily working for someone else.

We are still pushing forward with our mission to aid all Veterans & military in their reintegration process, ailments, and issues. We are so passionate about helping those who have served overcome the demons of war. To aid us in doing this, we’ve created a couple of different avenues! We have created a store, which I will post the link to at the bottom.

We also have a group on facebook! If you would like help, or would like help serving those who have served please ask to join our group. There is help available. It does work. You CAN have your life back.



Cam leoLeo 1Riley LeoLeo Newborn

The never ending rollercoaster



Its been awhile. Life took over for a bit. We’ve been riding that rollercoaster of ups and downs with life in general and also with PTSD. Overall, things have been pretty good….some occasional bad days….some scary moments….and some moments of “oh no not again”. Do you have those? Do you ever wonder if you will ever be able to stop the rollercoaster? There are days that I wonder if this is just the way life is now……like it will never “go back” to how it was pre-deployment. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that I love about post deployment life, but there are also things that I really wish would have stayed in the desert. Or maybe that’s the problem? Maybe too much stayed in Afghanistan…and only pieces came back home. Its hard to say for me. I’ll never truly understand…and maybe that’s for the best?

From the perspective of the spouse, wife, lover, partner, etc, there are days that I wonder if I can continue on living on egg shells. Wondering if the struggles we are dealing with are hurting our children….will the remember? Will they be scarred? How is it affecting them? How is it affecting me? Will Tyler truly ever be “back to himself”? Is this who he is now?

When I can find the time to get away, I’ve taken part in a group “decompression” for spouses of PTSD diagnosed Veterans….the common theme? “Is this PTSD or is he just an Asshole?” Surprising to some, seemingly disrespectful to those who don’t live this life…it is a question I seem to ask myself regularly. What brought this on? Was it something from OVER THERE….or just something in his every day personality? How can you tell? Is there even a way? Does it matter? PTSD is such a vast and unknown world that I don’t think we will ever know. To me, its a very general term given to basically every symptom that COULD be related to trauma, whether war related or not, and plopped on people like a hat. Similarly to IBS, in my opinion….basically it seems like the doctors way of saying “well we don’t really have any idea of WHAT is wrong, but we know its in your gut so lets just say its IBS”…… REALLY?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not starting a mental health diagnosis debate here, but PTSD presents very differently in each person, so to me it is very generalized term, and maybe thats because we just don’t know enough about it….but believe me we are on the rollercoaster of PTSD that doesn’t seem to ever stop…. The Highs are amazing, exciting, gut wrenching even….but the lows….are like when you are upside down in the dark and you feel the safety harness shift and you’re terrified its going to unlock and you will plummet to an uncertain future….. and the best part is…. you cant see the front of the cars, so you don’t ever know which way you are headed……

I’m going to coin a new phrase…. who want’s coffee mugs?

“I’m married to PTSD….whats your super power?”


Some days are good-Some days aren’t

from Melissa

I think this statement is something that any of us can relate to, regardless of your path in life. Well, let me shed some light on what this statement means from the wife of a Veteran with PTSD. The good days–they are amazing. We laugh, we love, we ENJOY our time. We take the kids to the park, we stay up late to watch movies and eat popcorn, we have watergun fights in the backyard and invite all our friends and family over. I begin to have hope that this is how life is going to be from now on.

Then, BAM! out of nowhere the next day I wake up next to a man who can’t stand the sound of his children playing, won’t speak to me, barely gets out of bed, and refuses to leave the house. He sits in a chair and I watch as tears run down his face. Is it physical pain? Is it emotional pain? Does it matter? Our kids play rambunctiously and he screams at them…for what? Even I get startled by the sound. I try to play interference but sometimes it only escalates things further. Who is this guy? Where did he come from?

Oh yeah…. Afghanistan.

So the question becomes how do I get MY husband back, not this somewhat familiar shell of a man the military left me with? Who knows if I ever will, but I can tell you that I will NEVER, EVER, stop trying. My husband, this man, my hero, the father to our children, gave up nearly 1 year of his life to go halfway around the world to protect us from people with much much more deep rooted issues. So yes, the days and nights may be long, may be exhausting, and some downright terrifying but I know my goofy husband is in there and I know he wants to be well, and as long as he doesn’t give up on that, neither will I.

Now, that being said, are there days that I think, “man this would be so much easier if we weren’t together”? Of course. Are there days when I understand why the military divorce rate is so ungodly high? Yup. Do I worry about how this could affect our children? Who wouldn’t? But you know what….I think that truly our children will learn that when you make a vow you never, ever, give up on that. I think my children will grow to respect that their dad is trying, and see that this is something we are ALL going through, not just him. Deployment changed our family, yes, but one thing I will never regret is fighting for us.

So yeah, some days are good…..and some days aren’t.

My personal oil protocol

I have been contacted about a dozen times this week, by new contacts.  Most looking for advice on what EO I personally use. So, I’d like to share my current protocol.   It is really fairly simple.  Four drops of the following in a vegi cap.

Ginger.  Easily my favorite oil!  Great for gut health and a healthy inflammatory response.

Bergamot.   A pleasant citrus oil that I use for mood.

Copaiba.  Works on the CB2 receptors to help support the immune system and a healthy inflammatory response.

I also diffuse juniper berry at bedtime for nightmares.

Essential oils have become topic of many debates on internal use.  Let me say that we use DoTERRA and I trust the science behind the company.  I do not know about the safety concerns of any other company or their products and can not offer advise on taking any other brand internally.


Some quotes will stick with me forever

I meet a man today, I won’t say his name for the sake of his privacy.  I guessed he was a veteran because of the person that referred him to us.  After talking for a brief while I found out he was a Vietnam Veteran and was struggling with some back pain.  He said that they got hit [in an explosion] while he was carrying an injured friend to safety, he was hurt but his friend was in a pretty bad situation.  He said that the VA does a great deal to help him with his mental health and side effects from agent orange, but he recently went to the VA for back pain and they are not able to help him.  I gave him and inquisitive look and he said something that struck me like a ton of bricks, it made me really understand that for every problem a veteran deals with there may be dozens more that go unreported and untreated.   The VA told him that they didn’t have any record of a back issue being reported, to which his response was, “my friends were bleeding out and dying all around me, I didn’t think it was a good use of resources for me to complain about my back hurting.”

As time goes by

The world is constantly changing.  In fact, change is the only thing that I have come to count on.  But, when you leave to a theatre of combat you miss all the change.  It is almost as if your world stands still.  While your children grow and develop, while your family builds a routine that no longer includes you.  While the newest iPhone goes to market.  While movies are released and music is created and businesses open.  You miss it all.  I left the day after my son’s 2nd birthday, 2 months after the birth of my daughter, 6 months after purchasing our first home.  I came home to a 3 year old son, and a 1 year old daughter that didn’t know me, and a wife that had developed a routine that didn’t involve me.  It was a very hard time for me.  I didn’t sleep well, actually I didn’t sleep at all.  Maybe once every 3 or 4 days, for a few hours at best.  I still don’t sleep well and have used multiple prescriptions to try to help, with little success.  DoTERRA Vetiver has a permanent home on my night stand to help with sleep.  It only took my children about a week to become afraid of me.  I was hard to live with.  Angry, crabby and filled with hate.  Often starring into nothing, physically present but mentally gone.  The VA called it an adjustment disorder at first.  Now, almost 3 years later they call it PTSD.

I injured my lower back and knee overseas.  Along with that came acute and chronic nerve issues and now a problem with my hip.  Along with all of that fun I was also diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which the VA believes developed from an acute infection acquired in Afghanistan.  Thanks a lot Bin Laden.

Looking back on it now.  I can tell you that I was clearly depressed.  My outlook on life was very negative.  I remember having days where I could barely get out of bed and Melissa had to help me get dressed.  At times tears would pour down my face as I as sitting because I was in so much pain.  It is a horrible feeling to believe that you will never be able to play catch with your son, or be able to help your daughter learn how to do a handstand.  I was defeated.  I had given up.  The person I saw in the mirror was not me, rather a hollow shell of my former self.

From where we came

from Melissa

Tyler and I met in high school. We became close friends during those years, and then lost each other after graduation for a short period. As fate would have it, we both moved back to our hometown within a month of each other, and reconnected. As they say, the rest is history. In the beginning of our relationship, we had a lot of ups and downs, and enjoyed our 20’s together. Towards the end of my radiologic technology training, Tyler decided to join the military. In February of 2009, Tyler was sworn in to the Army National Guard of South Dakota. Little did I know our lives would never be the same.

September 11, 2009 was the day that Tyler flew to Fort Knox, KY to begin his training as a soldier. At the time I thought this would be the hardest thing we would ever go through, to be away from each other for 3 months, boy was I wrong. During his training in Fort Knox, and then Fort Leonard wood, MO, Tyler grew to love the military and his purpose with it.  There was even discussion of leaving the National Guard, and transferring to active duty.

After returning home from his training’s, life returned to normal. He spoke of his “battle buddies” often, keeping in touch with several of them as they all went separate ways after AIT. One of the most frequent names that I heard him speak of, was Dawson. You see, Dawson was his bunk mate at Fort Leonard wood. They grew to be as close as brothers.

Shortly after leaving AIT, Dawson was activated and deployed to Afghanistan. He was only 20 years old. I could tell that this affected Tyler, he had a desire to be there with his buddy, but knew that it wasn’t his time yet.

Then the news came. Dawson gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. I watched as this rocked my hero to his core.