Saturday, October 4, 2008

Till Death (or drugs) Do Us Part...

Today was harder than most. Today, I miss my husband. Before Iraq. Before all the pain, drinking, fights and drama. I miss being able to cuddle up with him and feel like the world was going to be all right.
No matter what happens, for a while; I loved him. He was my knight in shining fatigues. He made me feel like the most beautiful, fabulously important person on Earth. We only got married after he begged me to give life with him a chance. His persistence only made me love him more.
I honestly believe, had he never been to Iraq, our marriage would still be intact. He wouldn't feel the need to punish himself for doing things he inherently felt were wrong. He wouldn't drink to drown out the voices telling him that he made a mistake.

Sergio was injured playing football on a "morale day." After his tour of duty was over, he had surgery and was unable to re-deploy with his company. The soldiers he'd trained would be facing some of the toughest provinces of Iraq without him. They would be led by someone else.
He failed them.
In their tenure during the deployment of 2006, the Infantrymen of Bravo Co. 1/68 captured (or killed) more insurgents than any other deployed group at the time. My husband was proud of the job he was doing for our country. More than that, he was proud to be a soldier. Truly. He was groomed as a solder, raised as soldier, he was always supposed to be a solder.

I thought things were going to be ok when he came home. He would stare at Corrina in awe of his little person and ask me, "Do you think she's happy here?" "Do you think she knows how much I love her?"
He was so gentle with her, so curious about all her little movements. He wanted to see her crawl, and walk. He couldn't wait for the day that he could take his little playmate outside and have fun.
But, somewhere between there and here he got lost. He found out that his knee would require not just one, or two, but three different surgery's. He developed infections, and was in quite a bit of pain. Through that, he became addicted to Percocet. He was being prescribed 50 pills and they were being refilled every week. Sometimes more. For months after the pain should have been gone, he kept popping those pills. When his doctor refused to prescribe more, he stole them from our neighbor. Or, bought them from friends who'd had similar surgery's but didn't require the pain pills for them.
In November, I lost a baby. After I came home from the dnc, I left my purse and bag of prescription medicine on the dining room table and went straight to bed. Several hours later, I woke up for dinner to a beautiful bouquet of flowers and 5 of my Vicadin gone from the bottle.
Even knowing the emotional and physical pain I was in, my husband stole the medicine the doctor prescribed to me.
His addiction petered out once he realized that people were talking. Still, to this day as far as I'm aware, if he sees a pain pill he starts complaining that his knee hurts.
How very 'Army Wives' of us, 'eh?

I don't know the exact moment where I realized that my husband had an addiction. I know that his Mother warned me that he had the personality to become addicted. To alcohol, drugs, pills...whatever. She did warn me. But, when I called her for help; she brushed me off. Told me that I needed to take my children to church. That God was punishing me through Sergio for not being the wife I took vows to be. She warned me that if I didn't start going to church every Saturday, (they're Church of God, they believe the Sabbath falls on Saturday and not Sunday) that my marriage would continue to deteriorate until there was nothing left to save.
When I asked her why she couldn't talk to her son about his problem she told me that it was between her son & God, and she wouldn't intervene.
Instead, she bought him a plane ticket to go 'home' to PA for the holidays. Just him. He left the kids and I alone for 30 days over the Christmas season. His family doesn't celebrate Christmas as a holiday Per Se. I was once told that having a Christmas tree in my home was blaspheme and that I was teaching my children to disobey God. So, even though he'd previously promised me that he wouldn't be a "Grinch," and he would celebrate the holidays as a time for family, food and fun...he left. He spent over a grand on liquor, & beer and fun money in the month that he was there, while the kids and I scrimped just to get by.

I truly believe that he uses pills and booze as a way to forget Iraq. To numb the pain of the friends he lost, and the lives he took. Before Iraq, Sergio was full of life. Happy all the time. After a while, he was only happy when he was on something. Part of me thinks that he killed our marriage as a way to punish himself for whatever he did. He's told me so little about the things that happened. And, he tells them in a way that make you feel excited at the progress being made over there. He speaks proudly, animated and even boastful at times. But, I saw him when no-one else did. I saw the times that he drank alone and watched video's of troops being bombed in Iraq on youtube. I listened while he railed and ranted about the people being killed because they weren't being vigilant enough. And, I held his head in my lap the very few times he let himself cry over his mixed up and despondent emotions.

It's been 5 months since he last saw his daughter. 5 months since he heard her voice, or smelled her hair. He's cut her out of his life because I left. In so many ways, I feel that I failed him. Us.
But, I had to get my children out of a volatile environment. Things weren't getting better. Counseling didn't help. Being military certainly didn't help. I wish I could have helped him. I wish I would have done more, or tried harder. But, even now, I don't see any options that I missed.I feel like I'm the only person who sees what has happened to the real Sergio, but he won't let anyone else close enough for the truth. He stays jolly and happy until he's alone and can brood in silence. His family believes that God will sort it out. The minister that married us believes that his Mother knows best. His Commanders believe that he passed all the reintigration testing and therefore the matter should be closed.

I am a wife who lost her husband to Iraq. He didn't die, but he's just as lost as if he did.
I miss him. And, I will always love him. I wish he knew that.

This is probably the one and only post I'll ever write where I outline the X in a decent light. The things he does angers me so much that I rarely have moments to reflect on the true reason for our demise.


ChiTown Girl said...

I'm sitting here in tears right now after reading this incredibly moving essay that professes your love for your (ex)husband. I feel your pain, your loss, your heartache. I'm so sorry this happened to your family.

That's such a beautiful photo of you two. You can see the love just bursting out of the picture.

Rabidparadise said...

Thank you so much. I try not to obsess over it, but sometimes it gets to be too much. I appreciate knowing that someone understands how I feel.

ladyfi said...

This was a very moving post. You sound as if you are a strong woman - and believe me, things will eventually get better.

Polgara said...

Such a sad story, nobody talks about losing the living to a war, you are very brave
Pol x

The Girl Next Door said...

Wow. And I complain b/c mine is a jerk just to be a jerk. I feel like a fool. You gave your family for this country. And I am so sorry about that. And I can understand how you can love him and miss him, even after the bad stuff. We married them for a reason, right?

Hugs to you.