I write this story on the one year anniversary of the day our lives changed forever.
My husband left the family home, just saying he had to go away for a while and I couldn’t understand why. He is a general duties police officer, working in the same district and dealing with regular offenders for the past ten years. He said it wasn’t me, wasn’t any fault of mine, or the girls. But that he needed to breathe.
And then he left.
He stayed with a good friend and work colleague, so I knew where he was. Between the two of us, we convinced my husband to see a psychologist, who diagnosed him with PTSD.
But he continued to stay at his friend’s place for the next two months, not responding to our phone calls or messages, not telling our girls that he loved him, not even being able to say the same to me.
I could only trust and have faith in the messages I would get from his mate, letting us know that he was safe, talking and trying to release all the adrenaline that had built up over the past years, from not dealing with the emotions of the job.
And all I could do was protect him from afar, keeping our family going, making sure I told our girls that he loved them, but he was just so sad that he didn’t want to make us sad.
My saving grace was a phone number to a PTSD support line, and the kind and understanding voice on the other end that belonged to a retired officer and paramedic, who told me I would never be alone.
I gradually came to understand what my husband was battling, and how even though I felt abandoned, he was really trying to protect us. Only he could deal with the demons in his head and the memories that continued to occupy his thoughts.
The challenges I faced at home were endless – trying to explain to our 8 and 13 year old daughters what their dad was feeling, making excuses for not attending social events, and keeping my promise to him to not mention what was going on to anyone.
He returned home after a couple of months and we continue to ride the waves every now and again. I sometimes have to remind him of where he was a year ago so he doesn’t revert back to old habits of keeping it all inside.
And even though I would like to think that everything is going to be okay now, I still have moments of resentment and fear that this job has taken the man that I love away from us.
I married a man that cares too much, and I swear it’s those type of people that suffer most.
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