I’m sure many bloggers struggle over what to write about first. Others are able to just let it flow from their brain to their keyboard. I’m the former. A good friend blogs and is amazing. She writes about being a single mom, her struggles and how her faith pulls her through. She’s the one who suggested I write. . . . because I’m an English major and because it’s cathartic.
We’ve both had similar experiences in that our marriages fell apart. . . . hers more recently than mine. My marriage of thirty years ended four years ago and since then, I’ve lost a business; become responsible for a lot of the business and personal debt; and was unemployed for a year. My employees found jobs quickly, thank goodness. I thought I would start with how I’ve struggled to keep my faith. I’m not.
Last night, I was suddenly hit with my topic. . . . Tim E. Tim, from Kentucky, is a dear friend of mine from my college days. . . . days almost 40 years ago, spent at a small university in a small North Carolina town. Tim has that Kentucky mountain drawl, when combined with his sense of humor, would make us all laugh and enjoy the person Tim was. He was relaxed, comfortable with himself and a happy-go-lucky young man. Another friend and I surprised Tim at Thanksgiving by arranging a road trip to Kentucky. He had come down the third week of August and hadn’t been home since. We saw Tim in his own element and learned how close he was to his family and friends back home. Tim wasn’t the best of students, so unfortunately, he was my very close friend for only two summer sessions and a fall semester.
The Christmas holidays came and along with the joy of them, came the sadness that Tim wouldn’t be back in January. With hugs and promises of keeping in touch, our eyes welled with tears and I watched Tim board the bus for his long ride home to the Kentucky mountains. I waved goodbye, knowing how tough it would be, even back then, to stay in touch. Everyone would miss Tim, but I knew I would miss him most.
Years passed, as our early adult lives flew by. We remained close in our friendship and with phone calls here and there, Tim and I kept in touch. No matter the gap between calls, each time we talked was as if we had just talked the day before. Suddenly, his calls stopped and mine went unanswered. Several years later, a call came out of the blue. . . it was Tim. We talked, laughed and caught up, but Tim didn’t tell me, at that time, that he was now a Gulf War veteran. His military service was the reason for our communication gap.
Tim, a devout Christian, now suffers from PTSD, as do many veterans. We’ve talked many times in the past few years. I’ve learned how he struggles to live a normal life. He can’t. He has called on his minister; he has had Christian counseling; he has prayed for normalcy. It doesn’t come. He takes medications that should help, but a lot of the time, they don’t. He attends church and prayer groups regularly. He works with a Christian equestrian program to help him and others in his situation. Still, he can’t be the one thing he continues to pray for. . . . normal.
I called him Saturday night. His wonderful wife, Sherry answered, telling me Tim wasn’t there. She said he had left, that she had meant to text to tell me it wasn’t a good night to call. I asked if she knew where he had gone and she said no. Then, she shocked me by telling me Tim was right beside her. . . . but he wasn’t there. She said she didn’t know the Tim that sat there, that she had never known that Tim. She told me he didn’t know who I was and refused to talk to me. She and I talked as best we could. After assuring me she was in no danger, I reluctantly hung up the phone. . . . and I cried. I cried so hard for Tim, for Sherry, for me and for all the other veterans who suffered so. I cried out to God to heal my friend.
I cannot imagine the hell that Sherry must live with, but she loves Tim and refuses to leave him. Worse yet, I cannot imagine the hell Tim lives in mentally, struggling to be normal; forgetting his closest friends, his neighbors and even his family. I cannot imagine what it must be like to suddenly pop back into reality and not know where I have been.
I ask that those of you, who will, please pray my prayer to God:
Lord, I just ask that you be with Tim and Sherry. Father, I pray that you will heal his soul and mind. Almighty God, I ask, too, that you give him strength to continue to fight this horrible disorder and that you give Sherry the strength needed to hang in there and continue to support Tim.
I thought my last four years were tough. I’ll get better. Tim’s struggles will never end.