Being a caregiver means playing a part in serving the country by taking care of someone who voluntarily put on the boots to fight for freedom.
What are you most excited to do as a Dole Caregiver Fellow?
I am mostly excited to be able to connect with other fellows who can relate to me, and to hopefully be a light to hidden heroes all over the country who feel alone.
How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? What sacrifices have you had to make?
Every day I wake up is a mystery with what he will be triggered by or if he is going to have a good day. I live one day at a time. It has honestly brought me closer to God who gives me strength daily. I have had to sacrifice being able to have structure and routine in the household. Because no day is the same, it makes it difficult to keep a routine.
What does being a military or veteran caregiver mean to you?
It means everything. It means having the love of my life next to me for as long as the Lord allows him to. It means playing a part in serving the country by taking care of someone who voluntarily put on the boots to fight for freedom.
Jessica Beck was a single mom with two kids and attending college when she met Landon, a Marine veteran. After a few conversations, she knew he was the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with and they married a month later.
On their first night living together, Landon exhibited some strange behaviors. He was irritated, paranoid, and anxious. He would low crawl throughout the house at night to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be and would continuously look behind him on suspicion of being followed. Jessica didn't know what to make of it.
After months of living in what seemed like a twilight zone, Jessica gave Landon the ultimatum of getting help, or she would not stay in the home. Landon went to his local VA where he was diagnosed with severe post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Jessica had no idea what PTSD was, so she took it upon herself to find out and started attending Landon’s medical appointments to make sure she was getting as much information as possible regarding his diagnosis. With each new appointment, Landon was diagnosed with more mental disorders, as well as physical injuries.
Jessica's best day as a caregiver was the morning Landon woke up and told her he wanted to go to church. Jessica's faith has always been important to her, and she grew up attending church regularly, but because of Landon’s aversion to crowds, they rarely, if ever made it to church. However, after returning to the church Landon attended before joining the military, she saw a change in him. She believed God was working for him by having him reconnect with people he had not seen since before his deployment.
Since that day, Jessica and Landon have become very involved in the church; Jessica even works at the church's school as a member of the support staff. The staff at the church has always been understanding and supportive of Jessica and Landon, especially when Landon has a particularly bad day. Jessica is able to bring him to work with her and the church provides a quiet and safe place for the day.