djlm
 
 In 2011, I had the first of 2 surgeries to implant a Spinal Cord Stimulator to help control chronic pain in my low back and legs, the result of nerves that were damaged by a combination of Spina Bifida Occulta and trauma to my spine. During my recovery, I kept a journal to help me focus on the positive aspects of the situation while I was lovingly served by my husband Tom. In rememberance of Veteran’s Day, I would like to honor and thank those that sacrificed their time and lives by sharing an entry that I made to my journal on November 11, 2011.
 
 
I am currently in physical therapy and although I still have pain at my incision sights, I am experiencing much relief in my lower back and legs from the device. Looking back, I feel that I have come a long way from the first few weeks Tom assisted with my every need. He lovingly served my meals, fluffed my pillows, even washed my hair and bathed me. In my eyes, he is the picture of a humble servant. In his eyes, that’s what every husband does. I thought about Tom’s willingness to serve me while we were having dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant on Veteran’s Day, which offered a meal at no charge for current and retired members of the armed services, delivered to their table by the owner, a Marine. All evening Tom quietly watched the man clad in his dress uniform, personally greet each veteran as they were seated and engaged them in conversation. Throughout our dinner, we saw many plates being carried to tables; (including Tom’s) by this impeccably dressed man. We observed firm handshakes, warm hugs and heard words of thanks as patrons left. Tom seemed fascinated by this beharior, so I asked what intrigued him.  “His humility and willingness to serve.”  Tom’s reply surprised me. Didn’t he realize that he possessed those qualities too? Tom demonstrated them regularly to me and to others by dropping what he was doing to assist with whatever, whenever, wherever it was needed. As I looked at my husband across the table, I saw the embodiment of the story in the bible that told how Jesus served others as he washed the disciple’s feet. Tom, like the restaurant owner, and so many other people I have encountered in my recovery, regularly and unselfishly demonstrate servitude towards me. I need to learn from their example. Lord please give me the strength in love and humilty to serve others as I have been served.
 
I am very grateful for the help Tom has given me and quite frankly, I have come to expect this after 17 surgeries in 23 years. After all, when we enter into relationships, take marital vows, have children; we willing accept the duty to serve, protect, defend and care for our loved ones. This made me think: members of the armed services take similar vows however, they volunteer to serve and protect complete strangers! Guess I have come to expect this too.
 
 
Every year we set aside a day to say thank you to Veterans. Perhaps we should extend our gratitude a little more often than once a year.  Whether they are still serving, or have retired, these brave men and women remember each and every day the choice they made for us. Some suffer chronic pain, PTSD,  have lost limbs, eyes, hearing and unfortunately, some have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives – for us.  They deserve more than one day of gratitude.
Please visit the RedCross.org to and choose ways to help say thank you throughout the year.photo curtesy of DJLM