Veterans Day: Military Spouses Share Their Pain


Like Seligman, Honaker has taken to keeping a blog, which, she says, the VA has asked her to stop doing.

"Writing is feasible for us,"she said. "It's free, it's cheap, you don't have to find a babysitter for the kids."

Honaker said her blog has gotten 5.9 million hits so far.

"I can write it out, publish, post and let it go, and I don't dwell on it anymore," she said.

She believes she has been able to receive the disability benefits she has because her blog has landed on the desk of so many people.

But as she fights for her husband's awards, citations and benefits, she acknowledges that she might never get her old husband back.

"He called me from Iraq and said, 'I don't want to come home. I want to die here.' I knew something was seriously wrong. He started sounding hollow," she said.

When she picked up her husband post-deployment, she said, he looked like her husband, but was a different person.

"His hair was solid white, he was 31 years old at the time," she said. It's a complete 360 of what my husband used to be. He yells and screams, he lies. He's just the complete opposite."

Honaker says she and her three children have to learn how to love somebody different than who they knew.

She knows her husband has gone through a lot in Iraq. He was stationed in Ramadi from 2006 to 2007 as part of a unit of combat engineers, building bridges for Marines. She would find out that he saved a friend who was shot in the face with an armor-piercing bullet. But he also lost a 19-year-old boy, he said. He would tell her, 'Mine was the last face he ever saw again.'"

She says he had to wash the boy's blood from a truck, and has nightmares about washing blood from his hands.

"He tells me bits and pieces. I gather much of it from his nightmares," she said.

Their home now has child-proof locks on the door, and a service animal that will wake him up and wake her up. She said her youngest son is afraid of his father, and has nightmares. Her middle son says he doesn't fit in with the other kids whose worst complaints are being grounded by their parents.

"Every three to four weeks, I see my old husband," she said. "You're so excited. It's like a rose. You're in awe of the beauty, but then you see it shrivel up and die. I keep thinking if I work hard enough, it'll be once every week. And then once every day. I can't let my husband become another stat on a VA suicide sheet."

Honaker is hoping that if he receives his awards and combat medic badge, it would give her husband some closure, but that is hard since his records have been lost.

"He went over there and he gave them his all, and he didn't get anything back. I don't know if getting all his stuff would help him find closure but I hope it would," she said. "He doesn't want anything more than he didn't earn.

"What about the ones that don't have spouses to stand up for them? We are their only advocates. Then we wonder why there are 18 suicides a day."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...