Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes

Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes

What all does a Service Member come home to when they return from the military? Typically, “home” involves more than just a house. It’s the relationships — family, romance, friendship — that come to mind when people think about what “home” means to them. The same goes for Veterans. However, when a Service Member becomes a Veteran, at least one of their relationships is bound to change. A wife, husband, child, parent, or friend, evolve into a new relationship: a Caregiver.

Many Veterans struggle adapting to their renewed civilian life. Such is the case for the Caregiver learning to navigate their new role. It’s a journey that’s experienced mutually by both parties, but involves different perspectives. Imagine a train ride. The view through the windows sitting on the right side will be different from the windows sitting on the left side, but the destination is the same. The destination for the Veteran-Caregiver relationship will depend on varying factors. However, the destinations tend to fall within similar lines: a restored sense of comfort, happiness, and peace.

U.S. Marine Veteran Jackie Drakeford and his wife, Geneva

“They changed.” That’s the answer you tend to receive after asking, “How’s (Veteran’s name) doing since he’s/she’s come home?” Getting to know the person you once knew is tricky.  How much has changed, and how much is still the same? Certain words may weigh heavier. Certain sounds might illicit irrational reactions. Certain images could alter reality. How can you identify someone’s triggers if you never see what they’re carrying?

It takes an immense amount of empathy, patience, and love, to serve as a Caregiver for a Veteran. It’s an effort that tends to go unnoticed by others, as people tend to focus their attention solely on the Veteran. If you are a Caregiver for a Veteran, please know that we, at Purple Heart Homes, always appreciate your strength and support. The challenges you endure do not go unnoticed. Thank you for the vital impact you leave on our Veterans.

Theresa and her husband, U.S. Air Force Veteran Alex Sawchyn

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