It’s Not Okay!


Being the Wife of a Wounded Warrior, I have been blessed with some truly, for lack of a better term, unique experiences. All things, good and bad, have contributed to the person that I am today. This past weekend Wounded Warrior Project and The Writers Guild Foundation hosted myself and 39 other Caregivers of Wounded Warriors. They encouraged us to share our story, to open the hearts and minds of the world, and more importantly, to heal. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Throughout this whole experience, the one thing that has been a constant is my life is writing. It has been something I turned to when I couldn’t take the pressure, something I turned to when I was happy. It has been my catch-all. It was not until this weekend that I truly realized that I could do more with it. I can share my story on a bigger level. This weekend, surrounded by some of the most incredible people I have ever met, I let go of some of the hurt that was stored inside me, freed the anger and resentment and took a step forward. Today, I will begin another chapter, both figuratively and literally, as I continue to pour my heart onto the pages of what will someday be MY STORY. I would like to share with you a small preview of what is to come, the start of my story. As you read this, keep in mind that while your experiences may differ from mine, everyone has a story, and only you can decide how it ends.

Sometimes, I think I just need to talk. There are days I bring up my husband being injured in conversations about Tupperware. I think I do that because I want someone to ask, I want to tell someone. To cry, to laugh, just to get it all out. I want people to ask if I am okay so I can say…… NO, I am NOT okay. Would you be okay if your husband went away and the Army sent you another man in his place? Would you be happy that no matter what you do he will never be the same? Or that this man that was once so much the pride and joy of the Army that they kept him away for 75% of your marriage is now merely a number being swept under the rug by a government fearful of its own reputation?  It’s not okay that he didn’t get a retirement ceremony, or even an award like other Soldiers who retire. This wasn’t his choice, or mine. It is not okay that he is still having nightmares and bouts of rage after being on 17 meds a day. Its not okay that I have nowhere to turn, no one to tell. It’s not okay that at 25 years old every ounce of intimacy has been sucked from my marriage. Can I say there wasn’t sex? No, but it was merely to TAKE back what he believed was HIS.

It’s not okay that my kids will never know the father I chose for them. What did I do to deserve this? Some days I cant take it, and to throw the rest of the world at me too makes it unbearable. I secretly hope for something else to happen, some other drama so I can forget about it all, even just for a moment. I crave any bit of “normal” I can get. I know I am not the one who got hurt, I’m sure its much worse for him, but I am hurt nonetheless. I stay awake at night to make sure he is still breathing, or that he hasn’t tried to hurt himself. If I fall asleep and he hurts himself, it will be MY fault. What if he can’t hold out to see my kids grow up, graduate or get married? How can I encourage him to fight the fight? It’s not okay that my 5 year-old makes excuses for his dad’s erratic and unpredictable behavior. Its not okay that I never know when he is going to flip, at any second he could slam on the brakes in the interstate, break a window, punch a wall, or better yet, my face. How can I love him? How can I devote my life to this man? I can’t, and THAT is NOT okay. Everywhere I go I am afraid, afraid everyone is going to try to hurt me, to try to take away my life like he did. If I can’t trust the man I love, whom can I trust? I wish I knew.

Was it all worth the price so many of us have paid? As selfish as it sounds, sometimes I think it might have been easier if he didn’t come home at all.


Posted by Admin: Click here to read Kristle’s introductory post, which will provide more background on her life.

About the Author

Kristle Helmuth is a 26 year-old Army veteran, wife of a wounded warrior, and mother of two children. She is currently working toward her B.S in Communications and digital media. Kristle is the author of, a blog that chronicles her journey through healing and self-discovery. Kristle has used her broad skill-set to increase awareness of the issues facing our nations wounded heroes, share resources, and provide hope for Military Families. Kristle is always there to offer support, encouraging words, and a kind open heart to all Military Spouses.

32 Comments on "It’s Not Okay!"

  1. Thank you Heather! I appreciate your kind words! We have come so far since then, but the struggles are always there, things will never be the way we wanted, the only thing you can do is show your support for those facing similar circumstances! :)

  2. Brooke Hatfield Scandrol | June 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm |

    I can't begin to understand how you feel because I haven't been there, but I want to thank you for sharing your story. I admire you for putting this out there.

  3. Christina | June 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

    You are brave woman to share this with the world. There are so many people that hide this part of their lives, but in all actuality you are helping some many other woman to realize they are not alone. I pray that God shines His light on you and your family and blesses you all with His love and comfort. We love you and thank you. God Bless

  4. <3 Great post girl. Love you.

  5. Well done, Kristle. The truth might not be pretty or easy to read, but your writing rings with truth. What a gift.

  6. Bridgette | June 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm |

    Thank you for writing this. My husband died last month after being a wounded warrior. It seemed like one thing after another went wrong for years and when we started adjusting to his limitations he got diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Less than a week after his last radiation treatment he died of a heart attack from a genetic blood disorder. We were best friends and partners through all of the obstecles put in our way but now I have to fight alone. It pisses me off. I am angry at God, my husband, and the world for not understanding. So again thank you for being so brave or just being angry enough to write it all down.

  7. Reading this post makes me wonder once more what I wondered so often, what it would be like to send my love off to war and have a stranger return home to me. For a while I had the chance to volunteer at a Fisher House and came in contact with quite a few wounded warriors and some wives, and I can only imagine how difficult life has become for everyone involved. I, too, am in awe at your strength, and at your openness about this rather difficult topic, and will keep you in my thoughts!

    • I am glad that my words were able to bring you some insight into this life. The more awareness we bring to this difficult topic the more things I believe will come available to families like mine! Thank you for your support!

  8. We hear and feel your pain and frustration. Thanks for the courage to share so openly.

    I have not been required to walk this path but the thought has passed my mind as one of our sons has been in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He has a wife and two very young children.

  9. Kristle, you are an amazing woman. I admire you for writing about your experiences, and I will be the first person in line to buy an autographed copy of your book. Keep on keeping on my friend.

  10. Thank you for your brave post. Huge hugs to you as you try to find a new normal with your husband. I have to think there are so many of us struggling with the same issues, to some degree, and your post makes ME feel normal.

  11. Being a severely wounded warrior, I dont know exactly how I feel about this article. I understand what you deal with because I spent 14 months recovering from wounds at one of our military hospitals, but what I dont understand is how you can justify wanting your "old husband back" after so many have lost theirs? Do you not understand how fortunate you are to even still have your husband after so many other wives husbands have been killed in action?
    I am compeltely disfigured from my wounds and I hope to God my kid will not say "i wish I had my old daddy back". That would break my heart, because I know I am the same person I was before I was wounded, even though I look differnt and I suffer from PTSD.
    My advice is whenever you start feeling sorry for yourself for your husband not being "the man he was before" and your kids wont know "the man you chose for them", think of the thousands of wives who's husbands came home in a box and the thousands of children who will only known their fathers by memories and photographs.

    • I accidentally got into this website, but fate led me to your posting. My beloved husband died last May. He was awarded a silver star, bronze star, purple heart, prisoner of war (twice) and many other awards from his 23 years in Special Forces. His poor body had shrapnel from stepping on a mine and countless parachute jumps into combat zones. He served two infantry tours in Vietnam, one in Laos, Korean War, Panama conflict, Germany, Iran, etc. . I could go on forever because i was so proud of his service, but he only talked about his nightmares to me and was very modest about his military career so when he died & our friends saw his obituary, they were stunned. He retired as Lt. Col. and I was privileged to spend 30 great years with the kindest man ever. In his honor, I decided to support other brave warriors, like yourself, and donate to the Wounded Warriors Project and he would be happy I continue my support of our brave men & women. So, now i know from your post, how he felt–he came back ALIVE & grateful, while many men never came home. He often told me that most combat military feel guilty for coming home at all. and leaving others behind with no future or life. He was determined his service would not be in vain & he would live life to the fullest and support our troops. He's not here, but i will continue that support for him and others like you. Thank you for your service.

  12. This is how I get through my "feeling sorry for myself" moments and I recommend you try it, ma'am.
    Is this hard? Yes. Is it unfair? Maybe. Are you one of the lucky ones? Definately. Have you paid a greater sacrifice than most military wives? Most definately. Embrace your duty as a wounded warrior wife and family and set the standard for American wives and families. People will listen to you, use your unique position in a positive manner.

  13. Let me just start by saying THANK You!I am grateful for your sacrifice as well as that sacrifices of those families who’s loved ones didnt make it home. I cannot begin to imagine the things that YOU have gone through. I can see how this article will hit some people in the wrong place but my feelings are just that, my feelings, and if you read where I said that this is the start of my book I guess I should have emphasized the word START. My husband and I have come a long way, and we are in a much better place now, but in order for me to get there I had to process everything, and deal with it in MY way. Writing is my way of dealing with things, when I put my anger out on paper it gets out and is no longer internalized so I can move on from that anger. You are so right it is VERY sad when families are no prepared and THAT is why I have exposed my vulnerabilities to you today so that those who are feeling the same way understand that they are not alone and can work through it, and those to follow may have just a little bit of insight into what could happen. If you get a minute go check out my blog and you can see just how far we have come, and why I do this. I needed to show my readers my lowest point instead of just preaching to them that it gets better. 

    • No worries ma'am. I'm an outsider, therefore my opinion can be taken with a grain of salt. I wish you and your husband well and I appreciate you beign open with your feelings. I understand that is not a easy thing to do, especially when it makes you open to criticism.

      Im sure your husband appreciates your understanding and continued support. I just hope you are personally able to continue to deal with the challenges of being a wounded warrior spouse. I feel a part of your extended family as a wounded warrior. Look to other wounded warrior families to help you along the way.
      As civilians do not understand what its like to be a Soldier, neither do normal military spouses understand what its like to be a the wife of a wounded warrior. As I tell my former Soldiers, the best way to receive help is to look within our own community of warfighters. That community is even smaller and harder to come by as a wounded warrior or wounded warrior family member.

  14. Why is no one talking about the domestic violence part of this? I understand he served honorably but cops don't get to beat their wives, nor firemen, nor victims of 911 because of PTSD. Call familt advocacy at your nearest post!

  15. Thank you everyone for your support! It means the world to me. If you had not I would like to encourage you to read the link to my introduction post, or stop by my blog, I’m new to all this and I should have emphasized the fact that we are past all this now, and that is why I am here, to be the beacon of hope for those going through this.

  16. "I should have emphasized the fact that we are past all this now, and that is why I am here, to be the beacon of hope for those going through this."… yea after how many punches to the face though….

  17. My husband is a wounded warrior. I understand your pain. (((HUGS)))

  18. Kristle, so sorry for your pain. So proud of your courage to tell the truth.

  19. Natalie! You have no idea what that means to me! It is always scary to reveal my vulnerabilities in such a way that I did today, but the mere knowing that there are people behind me, that I have the support of the Military Spouse community is MORE THAN ENOUGH! The reason I can continue and share my story is because of people like you who let me know that I am doing the right thing. We have come so far, but our journey is still long, and unfortunately this story is not just mine. I have heard my story come out of the mouths of sooo many others, we share the same fears, and hopes for the future, and THAT is why I am here today, to be the voice for those families!

  20. One example is the whole topic of anticipatory grief. I used to think I am incredibly morbid for imagining the worst possible and planning it out in my head. I used to think I am just a horrible person for even going THERE. And then I came here to SpouseBuzz and found out that I am NORMAL. Imagine my relief! Now imagine another wounded warrior spouse coming here after having Kristle's thoughts, feeling like the lowest person on earth, and suddenly she discovers she's not alone. Can you imagine how liberating that can be?

  21. I understand. I'm on the other side of this article I guess. Its just disapointing to hear a wounded warrior wife speak of her husband in this way. We are all prepared to suffer the consquences of our combat service (especially as combat arms Soldiers). Its disappointing when we are the unlucky few to become casualties, but its even more disappointing when families are not prepared to deal with it when it becomes a reality.
    Yes, its hard, but dont make it any harder by internalizing your partners disabilities. Its bad enough when the wounded can not avoid the physical and mental aspects of being combat wounded. The spouse has to become the rock of the relationship if the wounded warrior is to ever to mentally and physically recover. This requires strong wives and I especially know the Army and Marines have them. Without you, we could not do our jobs, so do not falter when we come home not as we were before.

  22. "Was it all worth the price so many of us have paid? As selfish as it sounds, sometimes I think it might have been easier if he didn’t come home at all." -Kristle

    With that being said, I think its time for this woman to seperate herself from this situation. Its probably better for the entire family.

  23. Mr. Bob Lee,

    I suppose that because you are looking at it from the other side, you may not be able to appreciate that the ENTIRE family, many times over, IS affected. A marriage consists of two people, but you appear to be saying that the wives should face the load entirely, by what you call "feeling sorry for myself." The events of such magnitude do change people…some FOREVER!!

    My husband is a Gulf War Vet with many deep issues, still, even after 20 years of returning and still trying to deal with it. We have been married a long time, through his career in the military, through the war, and through the immense changes in our lives and our marriage. I have not abandoned him, but let me tell you, it has not been an easy task to see the whole character change right in front of my eyes. Our children are grown adults now, but they also LIVED the changes!!


  24. Of course, I don't wish him death or dying, so please don't misread. However, in my life experiences, I have found that there are some events that are just as challenging as death. I am a fellow human, with my own thougts, feelings, emotion, and needs. I can be allowed to grieve for what was lost!! So, should she…

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