Forward by Ron Meuser, Jr.
Jen Yackley and I originally met with Dana (who wrote the story below), her husband Ed and his service dog Rex to hear their story and learn how I can help. They founded an organization called Soldier’s 6 whose mission is to provide honorable discharged veterans, police officers, and firefighters with specially trained K-9 dogs. The support they provide these brave individuals is nothing short of amazing and, unfortunately, very much needed. We hear from our police officer and firefighter clients with PTSD that the suffering doesn’t end when the job is over and many don’t want the job to end. Dana and Ed’s story is very real, heartbreaking, and a reminder that we must be continuously supportive in any way we can. Please join Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, P.A. in supporting this worthy organization by going to https://www.soldiers6.com/how-can-i-help
Life can be hard and sometimes complicated for adults let alone kids. It’s a horrible spot to be in when your child asks, “mom, why is dad sad?” Millions of answers and ways to explain come to mind. But the simple answer, “we all have days buddy. Today is just his.” What I want to say creates almost an anxiety panic within myself. Dad is sad because he’s an alcoholic that has fallen again with no one there to help him. He’s sad because he messed up again. He’s sad because he feels like a failure. He’s miserable because he can’t find his way in life since retiring from the police department.
But that’s part of what made him sad. How complicated to be struggling finding your way after retirement when the job took so much from him. He’s sad because sometimes his mind travels back to calls he can’t forget. Mangled car wrecks, a young boy who hung himself because life was too much. Domestic abuse victims screaming for help and no one is helping, kids that need and deserve a better life than the one their parents can’t give them because drugs are more important. The guy who used a shot gun outside in his yard to end his life, the wear and tear on his body for the physical demands of the job and adjusting from nights to afternoons then days. Watching your partners get promoted and friendships don’t remain the same. Feeling like shit because you are open with your struggle and everyone runs from you. Responding to an officer down call and realizing he will never make it home to his family. And the suicide of a former partner.
These are all viable answers I could give as to why dad is sad. Instead, I smile as big as I can, bury my tears for a more private time, and hug him with all I got. I have learned resilience and the strength to always keep moving as I have young eyes looking up to me. I have learned all these things through life experiences. I don’t expect him to be able to handle the big kid answer yet. So, for these days, we tell the short, kid appropriate version, and that is “we all have days buddy” and we keep moving. We protect where we can and how we can. And just hope and pray that our army of support carries us through.