Matthew Wilson

Shared experiences and mutual respect are the foundation of enduring the hardships of caregiving. My wife and I share a deep bond forged through our military service and experiences, which has been critical in overcoming challenges together.

Tell us about you! Think back to before you became a caregiver – what did your day-to-day life look like?

I joined the Army as an Infantryman and served multiple overseas missions before transferring to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where I met my wife who was also in the Army. Post-9/11, I deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division and when I returned my wife deployed to Iraq. During that period of 48 months covering both of our deployments, our children did not have their parents at home with them at the same time, underscoring the sacrifices military families make. It was after my wife returned from Iraq that we began to understand the extent and implications of her PTSD. I opted to transition to a role as a recruiter for the Army instead of becoming a Drill Sergeant because the recruiter role allowed more flexibility to address my wife’s and my family’s needs. After nearly 20 years of service a medical condition forced me into retirement, and it was then that I began my life as a full-time caregiver for my wife.

Tell us who you are outside of your role as a caregiver. What interests you? Do you go to school, work, or volunteer? Are you an entrepreneur?

It’s an interesting question for me because everything I do revolves around ensuring my wife can participate in activities that enhance her quality of life in a safe and comfortable environment. Having a personal identity is important, but it is not yet my focus and won’t be until my wife can experience that as well. That said, I enjoy gardening and traveling if my wife can accompany me and feel secure in the environment. There’s value in expanding our horizons in ways that add joy and variety to our daily routines, and not letting our situation limit us if her needs are addressed.

What have you learned about yourself through your role as a caregiver?

Through caregiving, I’ve learned the true meaning of devotion and that my relationship with my wife is worth any personal sacrifices. Although I have physical injuries from my military service, I have learned how to manage my injuries, so I’m not prevented from assisting my wife. But I also know my limits, and I know when to get help. Above all, my role as a caregiver has redefined my understanding of commitment, love, sacrifice, and compassion. I applied to be a Fellow because I believe that with what I have learned and experienced, I can help other couples be successful in their relationships while navigating through difficult caregiver circumstances.


My Story