As a battle hardened Marine, I expected that fear was no stranger and had a familiar essence. What I did not anticipate, was that fear is actually wavering, and adapts. You see, I felt as though there was only one true kind of fear. Intimacy on the MSR’s of Fallujah and the streets of Ramadi. Throughout the villages of Marjeh, or the isolation of Somalia. I assumed fear had lost its grip on me and I had somehow came out as the victor. How wrong could I have been.
For those that follow my website, fromtumor2autism.com, you know that my son Carter, has had a pretty rough go at life. Brain tumor at the age of 2, an adult VP Shunt put in his head shortly after that, which needs to stay alive. Then diagnosed with autism at the age 5, Carter is also a battle hardened warrior. Daily therapies that my wife Kelli manages and dedicates her life too, Carter has so much going on. On my last deployment, Carter had such a hard time, he was removed from school. He was hitting and screaming every day, he lost all control over emotions and could not understand why his family was torn apart. All of this with Kelli by herself, with our daughter Kinley to take care of as well. Family tried to come visit as much as possible, but with the risk of losing jobs, that can never be a permanent aspect. Life is hard, the absolute definition of hardship.
This has our family now discussing the possibility of putting in for an early retirement. Using TERA, we would be able to retire at 15 years, with an actual date of Jan 1 that we are looking at. This is when the real fear, fear that I had never experience before, kicked in. Knowing you may have to figure out a new way of life, and keep your family safe and taken care of, digs deep into even the strongest exterior. Healthcare for Carter is a concern, but his well being is also important. Being close to family and having a stable place to live from now on would be a blessing for him. My wife getting even the smallest break after 8 years of constant moving and driving to therapies daily would be tremendous. This is why we have submitted our request and will wait for the Marine Corps to make their decision.
That, howeer, would give us 8 months to find a home, jobs, and healthcare for Carter somewhere in Tennessee. The challenge will be accepted, and we will continue to fight and survive. We must stop the hands on the clock and choose what time it is for us. Accomplishing tasks are important, but the mission is the priority. The current mission at hand, is to find a stable environment for Carter and ensure the most important years of his life are not spent in turmoil, but in a healing and growing setting.