When we reached five miles, I asked him to take a photo commemorating the point when I officially passed one thousand miles. It wasn't anywhere special, just a spot on a road near the local Exxon just a little over two miles from home. He leaned over, gave me a kiss, smiled and said "congratulations, you did it." Then we continued on our way. We had to get home before his conference call. No time to slow down. I was happy just to have him there beside me as I crossed my imaginary finish line. Come to think of it...I wasn't really crossing a finish line. After all, I would continue to walk. Walking has changed my life, gotten me out of that broken soldier rut. I had no idea had far I would end up going by the end of the year. And heck, I wasn't going to stop after that. I would continue to walk as long as I had my Shape Ups, and as long as my body allowed. I'd continue to walk well into 2012 and beyond.
Well, I had hoped to do a few push ups, sit ups, etc when we came home but Murphy struck home. My husband went to reach for a coffee cup and the kitchen cabinet came right out of the wall. We spent a couple of hours trying to fix that before my husband could wait no more. He had to go to work. I found a new place for all its contents and sat down to write. Breathe... Time heals all wounds, right? Does that apply to cabinets too? Ugh.
By now, you are probably wondering which charity I intend to give the thousand dollars to. Some may have already guessed. Years ago, I was retired from active duty because of disability. I had gone through two back to back medical boards in the two years prior to the final decision. Honestly, all I really wanted was someone to fix what was broken so I could get back to what I had done for most of my adult life, wear the uniform and serve my country proudly. However, I was literally told I was beyond what they could do for me. I was retired. I went back to quarters, took off my combat boots and waited, hoping someone would call and say "Come back. We made a mistake. We do need you."
Time passed. My husband came home from the war and we moved on to the next duty station. It was not an easy transition, from soldier/spouse/mom to retiree/spouse/mom. Everyone thought I handled it so well, but inside I felt positively useless and a bit abandoned.
I am eight years older, but I still have those boots in my closet. The old uniform is now obsolete as well as too big on me, but its still there. You know what? I'm beginning to think they aren't going to call.
Still, "Once a soldier, Always a soldier." So, I've thought it over and I've decided that I want to give to "Homes For Our Troops". With this charity, I can support a local veteran from Virginia. I know its not much, but in a small way, I can help him regain his independence, and the whole family benefits. I like that. http://www.homesforourtroops.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homepage
|2002, I think. : P|
Today, I can say I have walked over one thousand miles this year alone. I did it...despite the pain, despite the injuries, and regardless of my age. I did it!
I know there are other warriors out there, warriors who may have lost hope, who might feel as I once did.
I am here to tell you, "Whatever it is you aspire to do in life, you can do it." Me? I'm just getting started.
My husband just called. He says he'll pick up the hardware he needs for the cabinet on the way home. I miss the days when we could just call on post housing and say, "please come fix this", but I'm so very thankful for what we do have.