By: Jessica Manfre
Every year, almost 500,000 military families will move. This means the majority of service members and their families are changing their entire lives every two to three years, leaving many feeling lost and detached from belonging anywhere. Brittany Boccher was one of those military spouses.
For over 14 years, Boccher believed what most military families believed: home was where the military sent them. This means the definition or foundation behind the word “home” was always shifting and changing. “I didn’t realize the significance of owning a home until the moment I became a caregiver and I realized our home was and is our sanctuary,” she explained. “Our home is now a place for healing and recovery and is a place for our family to learn and adapt to a new normal.”
When Boccher was 35 years old, she found herself thrust into the role of caring for her combat wounded husband. He had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, neuro-vestibular injuries, PTSD, and a rare sleep disorder. “On the outside, everything appears fine. Most people don’t recognize my spouse’s injuries because they are invisible, but I see them and it’s hard,” she said. “My husband is not the same because war and recurrent trauma stripped away from him parts that we can never get back.”
Building and creating their own custom home changed so much for the Boccher family. Her warrior husband can now relax and breathe, finally able to focus completely on healing and living in a world where his invisible wounds will always be present, but the home supports their management. They’re home.
Boccher wasn’t alone in redefining the thought of what home means. It is a notion that leaves many military children baffled, since “home” typically always meant where you were from. But without a permanent place until transition, it’s a question that has complicated answers. Instead of focusing on where you belong, it can instead be a way to shift to the space itself and the joy it can bring – no matter where you are.
This is a benefit that homeownership can truly bring joy into your life. Instead of living in a space that is put together by someone else, purchasing your own house can truly lead to creating your home – regardless of where you are. This means painting the walls with colors that make you and your family smile. Buying a space that you don’t try to fit into but that instead, fits around your needs. Home can be the one place that doesn’t have to be hard. Instead, it can be your sanctuary.
Although many military families remain leery of homeownership because of the responsibility that comes with it, sometimes it’s the choice that makes the most sense. With proper budgeting, research, and care, it can be the easiest and best decision you ever make. Gone are the restrictions on what you can do to the space. Now your home is an open canvas ready for your brush.
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