I’m not broken, I’m bent

“Our son always tells people, ‘My mom is bent, she’s not broken.’ I am fully disabled. I was told I’d never have children, and lo and behold, I got pregnant. You don’t see a lot of disabled military spouses. When my husband was active duty, I didn’t have the support I needed. I was 600 miles from home and I had no one. We both knew that if we could make it through that, we could do anything. 

“In 2006, I was searching for some way to give back. I stumbled upon Soldier’s Angels and started writing letters. Two years later, my husband developed PTSD from a non-combat related incident and left the service. It is truly teamwork at our house. I take care of him, and he takes care of me. Writing became like a therapy for me. There were so many things I couldn’t control, but I could always sit down with a pen and paper. Someone saw my Soldier’s Angels t-shirt I was wearing once and told me that all kids wanted these days was care packages, and that letters didn’t matter. I told him I was going to write even more letters that year because of him. I know they make a difference. I told him to name a number and I would write that many letters. He said 4,000, so I did. In fact, that year I wrote 6,345. Last year I wrote my 10,000th letter. Now I write between 4-6 letters on any given day.

“I write these letters because I don’t want anyone to ever feel alone, or like no one cares about them. I wanted these soldiers to know that they have support from the general population. You expect to get support from your friends and family, but there is something so powerful about hearing ‘I’ve got your back’ from someone you don’t even know. Some of the soldiers write back, and some don’t. I had a private carry one of my letters through three deployments. I like to ask the soldiers I write to about their family, find out about who they are, and let them know how proud we are of them. It’s so important to say more than just ‘Thank you for your service.’ That’s a good start, but also saying, ‘You matter. You are not alone.’ And like my son says, ‘You might be bent, but you’re not broken.’”

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