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Caregiving as an Act of Kindness

Caregiving as an Act of Kindness

Helping My Veteran Live a Full Life

By Briarly Wilson, California Military Caregiver

I am a caregiver for my husband Marcus who is a Marine combat veteran, mother to our 10 children ranging in ages 5-25, and a member of the United States Air Force Reserves.

While deployed to Iraq in 2006, Marcus suffered life-threatening injuries when his vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device that resulted in an above-knee amputation of his left leg, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

I draw strength from my own military service and deployments while caring for my husband. After enduring 48 surgeries, Marcus still relies on me for his care. I help him with bathing, using his prosthetic, administering medication, scheduling appointments, weight management, keeping him calm, and anticipating his emotional triggers. 

As a mom, I also manage the emotions of our children – some who remember their dad before his injuries, and others who have grown up always knowing his wounds. I try to shelter them from the hard parts, but we have conversations about why we can’t do things other families do, or why their dad can’t always make it to their sporting event or school activity. 

America’s wounded warriors have shouldered the burdens of the nation, and I believe that we all have a responsibility to help

I know that I have a lot on my plate, but I have to manage my own health and stress so that I can be there for my family. Our kids do so much to support Marcus, I didn’t want them to have to worry about me too. When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a few years ago, I didn’t want my family to worry, so I went to every doctor’s appointment without telling my husband. It was only after I scheduled my surgery that I shared what was really going on. 

People understand that the moment of the injury is traumatic, but they don’t recognize the challenges never go away and we live with the lasting effects of his injury every day.

I don’t know where I would be without the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.  Thanks to the Foundation, I have found a community of caregivers who have mentored me through my journey. I know now that I am not alone. Now, as a Dole Caregiver Fellow, I have the opportunity to pay it forward and help other caregivers.

If you are able, I hope you will make a gift to support military caregivers and our wounded warriors. Your donation will have a direct impact on hidden heroes and families like mine. 

Thank you for being a part of our story.