By: Brittany Boccher
For more than 14 years I said home is where the military sends us. That was true, but now home is where our family is transitioning from active duty life to medically retired life. Our home is a place for healing and recovery, our home is a place for our family to learn and adapt to a new “normal”.
Britt Hubs HouseI 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. Therefore, we recently embarked on a new journey of custom home building to meet the needs of my warrior, and to provide a place of recovery and growth for years to come.
At 35 years old, I found myself caring for my husband, my wounded warrior, who was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, neuro-vestibular injuries, PTSD, and a rare sleep disorder. It’s been almost three years, and we are still trying to learn our battle rhythm, we’re still learning what our new “normal” looks like.
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. My husband is not the same because war and recurrent trauma stripped away from him parts that we can never get back. This is a challenge each day for our marriage and our family, but it’s also an opportunity to grow.
Becoming a caregiver is challenging, just as challenging as being told you are PCS’ing (permanent change of station) to Florida, followed by the new orders that say you’re are PCS’ing to Alaska instead. You’re in shock because you planned for Florida, and you’re frustrated because you know nothing about Alaska. So, you start researching, purchase appropriate clothing and gear for the weather in Alaska and you meet people you never knew existed.
There are people who want to help you adjust to Alaska, welcome you to their community, and make you feel at home. Soon you realize Alaska isn’t terrible – it’s simply different than what you planned for in Florida. Alaska may be more challenging but once you settle in you discover it’s not so bad, it’s actually beautiful.
Being a caregiver is challenging but also beautiful once you accept the challenges, seek assistance, and rely on the people who are there to help you and your family.
Don’t get me wrong.
I smile, laugh, and engage with others. I work to support my family, volunteer, advocate and complete my responsibilities, but everything is not okay. I’m a wife and caregiver of a warrior with invisible wounds. He looks okay, but he is not okay.
So, why is our home so important? Well, Boccher Familybecause our home is a place where my warrior can be himself. Our home represents freedom and independence for my warrior and enables him to focus on recovery – and rebuilding our lives. My husband doesn’t have to put on a show or be hyperaware of his surroundings. He can relax, breathe, and take the time and steps he needs to recover and learn to live in this world with his invisible wounds. When our old normal ended abruptly, the career ended abruptly, and our identities were challenged. But the one thing we knew that was ours and, in our control, was and is our home.
This article originally appeared in the USVCC customer newsletter.
In 2019 the USVCC selected Caliber Home Loans as it’s #1 option for home mortgage loans.
Since 2018 Brittany has worked at Caliber as the National Administrator of Military Engagement to help engage our national network of 1,300 Loan Consultants with outreach opportunities that will serve the needs of military families in their areas. Prior to working at Caliber, Brittany was voted the 2017 AFI Military Spouse of the Year by military spouses across the country. In this role Brittany traveled the country, speaking on behalf of military spouses and creating awareness of their role during a family member’s deployment. Her husband is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
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