Got the holiday cards from the family and exchanged holiday emails.
On the wife's side, her sister's manufacturing company is being sued by her former employer and her son has been diagnosed with PTSD.
J was in the Navy. After finishing with officer training, they wanted him for centerline jets. he was a natural pilot, according to him and I believe it because he was a good athlete, but he didn't want to land on carriers. The told him, okay, you don't have to, we'll put you in helicopters. He didn't want to fly those, either. He wanted to go into intel. They weren't interested in having him in intel.
His marriage lasted less than a year. During the reception, the bride, from a very religious southern family, kept talking about how she was ready to start a family, while her new husband, J, sat on the other side of the room ten feet away saying he didn't want to ever have kids. We had a premonition it wouldn't last long.
Meanwhile J separated from the Navy and looked for employment. He gained weight, which stopped him from entering police and sheriff training, so he worked for a private detective for a while, following people, taking pictures and eavesdropping, but then was called up for duty in Afghanistan. The Navy was loaning him to the Army.
J was sent to Afghanistan to help rebuild schools and communities. He enjoyed the life and volunteered to stay on in a second tour. After returning from his second tour, he kicked around a bit before finding a stint loaned out to the drug scene in Colombia, Bogota. In the meanwhile, he's become a lieutenant commander.
We don't know what's been going on down there in Colombia, but he'd changed personalities. This is his fourth personality. We liked the third one, found while he was in Afghanistan, best. That person was mature, measured, calm, relaxed and responsibility. This current guy is obsessed with money and all the things money can buy. With it came a dose of unpleasant rudeness. His younger sister, who adores him, calls him a jackass. His mother told me he has issues. She said he's never been stabile but now he seems more unstable.
He was trying to return to Colombia but that didn't happen. Now he's hooked up with an old friend, a female, and they've become an item. She has two children and they're going to live together. Meanwhile, counseling, how and why he want unknown to us, reveals he has PTSD. We watch to see what will happen next.
This information was revealed through emails, which brought corresponding emails from my wife's other sister. Her husband, a retired contract postal worker, has PTSD.
D has always been an unusual guy, slender and short, quiet and withdrawn, with a dry sense of humor. He served in Vietnam and was left for dead when a mortar found his unit. He remembers hearing American troops finding them and thinking he was saved. He couldn't talk or move. Tagged as dead, his teeth were stolen for their gold fillings. A few days later as the bodies were collected and moved, it was discovered he was still alive and he was sent to the hospital and treated for all his wounds. Now 60 years old, he's lived since then with shrapnel throughout his body but especially in his back, few scars on his face, and a large measure of deafness, principally on his left side.
He doesn't like eating new things, tragic since his wife loves to cook. She orders for him when they go out together, telling him things like, you don't like that, get this. He doesn't seem to be able to remember anything about food.
After Vietnam and leaving the service, he met my sister-in-law at college. They married and sought job opportunities in Chicago, where he was from, and southern West Virginia, where she was from, before he returned to the Army. He went back in as a motor pool mechanic and lived in Hawaii and Texas, serving for eleven years. After that, he mustered out and they moved back to her home in southern West Virginia, where they've been ever since. He used his military service to help him get USPS employment.
In her email, his wife said he had been seeing a therapist and has been diagnosed with PSTD. We don't know what prompted him to start seeing a therapist. Dave was not the sort that would appreciate seeing anyone to give him advice. He retired from the post office a few years ago.
So we don't know the deal but there it is, PSTD book-ending the family, from Vietnam to Afghanistan. War and secrets can be hell on people.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com