This Too Shall Pass

When life gets tough, the tough get tougher, and tougher, and tougher . . .

My mother had this saying; she had lots of sayings. But this one always stuck: You can get used to hanging if you hang long enough.

Maybe it’s true, I never tried it.

What does it mean anyway? Because there are just certain things in life I can’t get used to, no matter how long I hang. No matter how long I beat and bang against it. If it hurts, I want it gone. NOW!

My husband is battling PTSD. He still cries for his shipmates that died in the fire aboard the USS Forestall fifty-five years ago. He still hears the screams and sees the charred bodies that he put in body bags. And he still feels guilty because he survived while so many others died. Survival’s guilt they call it. But they never tell you how to erase it from your mind.

The fresh-out-of-college psychologist Buck saw week after week thought she had it all figured out. Her theory was that if he kept going back through the flames and reliving that God-awful day over and over again that he would eventually get used to it. That, poof, the nightmares and anger, rage, and depression would all disappear. But, her hanging theory didn’t work. The noose only tightened tighter around his neck.

Today, five years later, his PTSD has gotten progressively worse. Some days, I don’t even recognize my husband of fifty-seven years. He’s a stranger. Mean and argumentative. And I don’t like him; that monster he suddenly turns into.

War breaks out in our house often. A vicious war that neither of us can win. Between my emotional madness and his angry episodes, we attack each other as if fighting a ferocious enemy. It’s like the real us stands outside our bodies, watching and wondering who the heck those two crazy people are!

Maybe this is the part where if we hang long enough we’ll get used to it.

Never! This is the part where we pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and work on fixing it. We’re tired of fighting. We’re tired of hurting each other and crying and begging for each other’s forgiveness. We’re tired of broken promises, of trying so hard and failing over and over again.

Buck’s seeing a psychiatrist, now, and I’m in cognitive therapy to get a grip and a better understanding of this ugly thing inside me called Borderline Personality Disorder.

We will get through this because we love each other. And we talk things out. We bare our souls; those raw, shameful parts of ourselves that we only share with each other.

Yes, it hurts, and we’ve been going through this for too long. And what makes it worse for Buck is that for years he blocked out the pain in his work and family and church and fishing and playing ball. He was young and strong and healthy. And now, he’s not. Now, he’s retired with mental and health issues that require lots of weekly visits to the VA.

Our world as we knew it has been turned upside down. Maybe this is all part of getting old. Maybe my expectations were set too high, and I was foolish for even thinking there is such a thing as the golden years. I don’t know. I just know that we’re going through a rough season right now, and we will have to ride it out. Because, as my mother used to say: This too shall pass.

Author: Sandi Staton

So, I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to describe myself to you, and these are the words jumping up and down in my heart: I'm just a simple human being living in a complicated, messed-up world. I speak my mind. I love hard. My feelings run deep. When push comes to shove, I stand my ground. Sometimes I push back. Sometimes I walk away. I've surfed the crashing waves of life that threatened to destroy me only to make me stronger. I bear the scars of emotional rape, sadness, and depression. I've walked the golden streets of churches and religion only to be disappointed time and time again. And as a result, it's taken me seventy-five years to get where I'm sitting today; a sinner saved by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ. I fell at the cross. I repented of my sins, and Jesus saved and washed me clean. I still fall flat on my face. I still get dirty as a pig in a mudhole. And Jesus still picks me up, dries my tears, forgives me again and again, and continues walking close beside me. No one has ever loved me like that. And no one ever will.

8 thoughts on “This Too Shall Pass”

  1. I am so sorry to hear about Buck and the issues he and you are going through. Life is not easy and there are no golden years but we keep going through all that comes our way.

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    1. Thank you, Connie. It’s tough, but we’ll get through it. I think of you often and the good times and laughter we share together. I hate things turned out the way they did.

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      1. Larry and I both hate it also. Sometimes things in life are not what we want them to be. Tell Buck I love him and I love you.

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      2. Larry now has Covid and not really doing well. He had xrays today to rule out pneumonia and bronchitis . They were clean and he was just told that he has to wait it out and get through day by day. His cough is terrible and he cannot sleep at night because of the coughing. The dr gave him a new med today to help with the cough and it seems to be working. His fever is up and down. Take care. Connie

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        1. I’m sorry that Larry is so sick. Make sure he drinks lots of fluids. Dehydration was the worst for Buck when he had it. Thankfully, Buck didn’t have a fever. COVID is not a friendly virus! I pray that you won’t get it, and I pray for Larry’s quick recovery. Stay safe ~Sandi

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  2. Sandi.. I cannot imagine what heartache your husband experiences with those memories. There are the ‘if only’s’ … if only when he first went for help he had been given better advice… but one can’t go back. I will pray that somehow someone knows how to help him … and for you also. Sometimes these ‘golden’ years are tarnished by the challenges we face. Take care… and my mother also used often ‘this too shall pass’ … Diane

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