I wrote an article for Veteran’s Day for Military Press. I hope you enjoy it.
Communicate with your Veteran before it’s too late!
Have you ever thought about what it’s like in combat? For a second let’s imagine what it might have been like for your spouse in the sandbox, constantly in a heightened state of fear for his life. As things are just getting back to normal around here, Veteran’s Day next week may bring up some of those same mixed feelings.
Typical Duck Dynasty loving Americans don’t realize what we go through, let alone what our spouses choose to go through. I think many fail to realize that everyone who’s gone to combat comes home with some sort of extra baggage. Mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically — if they even come home at all. It’s not all civilians’ faults though because it’s either not a part of their lives or it’s just out of sight and out of mind. I understand we’re a very small percentage of Americans but the more Americans know, care and understand, the less all of our Veterans and service members will feel isolated and misunderstood.
What always gets me is the statistic that 22 Veterans a day commit suicide. That adds up to more deaths from suicide than were killed in action in the current war. That’s a suicide every 65 minutes. Even more astonishing, according to CNN, is that the numbers are underreported due to Veterans not registering with the VA and states not turning in accurate numbers because of lack of information. The numbers are mainly for older Veterans. Apparently 30% of the OIF & OEF service members have considered taking their own lives and 45% said they know a service member who has attempted suicide.
Steel Magnolias, I encourage you all to teach your children about Veterans Day and educate them on how things used to be and why we should cherish and respect not only our elders but especially the Veterans. Volunteer and speak up so that we do not let the cycle of unknowing civilians continue. Always try to keep positive communication going with your spouse not only for your marriage and yourself but also the well-being of your family. So many of our marriages end up in the drain because of things that are out of our control but there are many wives who don’t get to make this point or celebrate holidays with their husbands anymore and only get to visit them at national cemeteries.
Don’t let them stuff down their feelings and suck it up living in horrid silence alone. Please don’t wait until it’s too late to try and communicate. If you need a push start don’t be afraid to contact FOCUS, a local therapist, find a couples retreat or even simply go run errands together, hold hands and keep that constant feeling of support and openness there.
Don’t forget yourself in all of this. Have a glass of wine with a fellow spouse occasionally. As Steel Magnolias we have the strength to be the spouse, cheerleader, researcher, mother and health advocate these men need but the only way to prevent all of this is to simply talk.
I had the extreme pleasure of reviewing a local theatre’s Spanish translation of Jose Rivera’s work last month. I still can not get over how parallel and spot on the entire play was to many military couples past and present. I wrote this for Military Press where I write my editorial so I thought I’d also put it on here for many more to enjoy! Thankfully a fellow Wounded Warrior Wife came along for the experience. When things like this pop up in your neighborhood whether they’re PTS conferences, seminars, meet & greets, panels & lectures please feel free to pop in to chat or volunteer to help run the show.
MOXIE Theatre Review: “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot”
Breathtaking, sensual and surreal love story hits San Diego
By: Crystal Arriaga, Military Press
SAN DIEGO – “There will always be things you do not know about each other.” The quote is true for many couples but especially military couples who are bombarded with deployment & training schedules, seen & unseen injuries, moves, money and kids.
Director Dana I. Harrel creates a raw and stimulating translation of Spanish Playwright Jose Rivera’s work. With choreographer Derrick McGee, stage manager Ryan Heath and costume designer Alina Bokovikova; all of Jose Rivera’s rich language and passionate detail to the script are transformed into a mind numbing, deliciously exotic and panting experience. As the play goes on it reveals a young woman who has been through so much being married to her military career minded husband. She’s endured moves across the world, a combat deployment and now the unseen and often unspoken realities that war leaves on the mind and heart. Like so many military spouses all of this leaves her wondering, in her own at times hazy fantasy way, if the man who captured her heart is the one who will come through the door this time or is he just another ghostly casualty of war.
The play is innovative & provocative in a Salvador Dali piece of art type way that will have people wanting to stay up late into the night discussing the many layers hidden underneath each another. The story is so passionate & thought provoking; you feel as if you are Gabriela, the military spouse played by the graceful & emotionally torn Jacqueline Lopez married to the hard-hitting and intensely portrayed Benito, played by Jorge Rodriguez. This is one play that is anything but conventional. It delves into what most of us know about military & combat stressors on a marriage but don’t always talk about. As shown in the performance not everyone can deal with the military wife lifestyle with so many obstacles being hurled at once and I’m overjoyed the stage and costume design was true to a very real and typical military housewife and not another cookie cutter commercial portrayal of a surface only-happy couple.
With so many outstanding small companies in San Diego I implore you to show your support of this captivating performance.