Lee Woodruff: Love, Anger, Hope in Caring for Husband

For a time, Lee experienced depression, but eventually it lifted.

"You know I think it getting out of this house [changed her outlook]," she said. "This house was full of sickness to me for so long."

The family spent a summer at a lake where they appreciated the sweet beauty of ordinary things like carpools and making coffee. Bob began returning word by word.

She also allowed herself a version of straying by looking at other husbands with perfectly shaped heads.

"I've been looking at the crew all morning. There are some really good shaped heads in here," she said. "I touch Bob's. It still has big creases in it. When Bob goes bald it's not going to be pretty."

A year ago today Bob was still in a coma.

"I had vowed that we wouldn't make a big deal out of it. So I was tucking the twins into bed, they were falling asleep with me and Nora started crying," she said.

When Lee asked her what was wrong, Nora said, "I don't want you to die."

Lee told her that she wasn't going to die.

Nora went on to say that she liked her "old daddy."

"And I thought, okay ... what have we been trying so hard to make all this right? And I said, 'Well what is it about the new daddy that makes you think he is different?'" Lee said. "She said, 'Well, he has red stuff on this face now and his body's not perfect anymore and he has all those scars on his back and his hair sticks straight up and his head's an oval.' And I thought, 'His head's an oval? I didn't notice that one.'"

Nora also complained that her father didn't always have the right words.

"And I said, 'But he is getting all the words.' And she said, 'But you know what? The new daddy loves me so much more,'" she said. "And I thought, 'Okay, I'll take that.'"

Now Lee says she too is back, completely loving and fiercely honest.

Bob says he does feel guilty about his injuries.

"I think that this is a demanding job ... I guess he should feel guilty in a way, because I think that if he didn't feel guilty there'd be something wrong," she said. "It's tough to balance this career with family and being there. And I mean guilt is a useless emotion, but I think apathy would be worse."

Bob still doesn't know if traveling there was worth it.

"I think that's a good question. Was it worth doing? You know, I don't know. That's a very good question," he said. "If we can somehow help those who are getting injured a little bit more than they are helped now, then that would be worth it."

In the book, Lee has the last word.

She writes about marriage:

"And so we have to choose to laugh and keep smiling, we have to hope that there's always something better around the corner to make the choice to be resilient, ultimately to bounce back is to make the choice to be grateful, as grateful as possible for the cards you've been dealt," she wrote in the book. "As we continue, our journey of healing as a family, I look to Bob for inspiration, I look at the man I choose to walk through this world with and I feel only love, love and unending hope."

Bob and Lee Woodruff have established a fund to assist members of the military who are suffering from brain injuries. To learn more, click here: Bob Woodruff Family Fund.

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