I love what I do. I wake at 3:30 am and dive into my work and keep at it until my brain shuts down around 4:30 pm. I work 6 days a week and think about how to improve work on the 7th day. Do I love this routine? No. Do I love the pressure I put on myself? Heck no. Then why do I do it? Here's why...
Yesterday, I was covering the phones for my receptionist who took off the week for Thanksgiving. It's been a while since I worked reception, but as I settled into my routine I received fax with a pre-approval letter from the VA to provide services to a service member's family. I called the number and identified myself and the reason I was calling was to schedule an appointment for the person listed on the form. The woman began crying and said she had been trying unsuccessfully to get her and her 3 children in for services with the VA. The name on the form was her husband's name and he had committed suicide a few months earlier. Her story broke my heart when she shared her struggle and that she too had been suicidal trying to cope with all the pain and loss. I could tell she needed a huge dose of encouragement and hope so we scheduled for her to immediately come in. Kristi, one of my amazing team members, forfeited her lunch in order to see the woman. When the woman walked through our door I walked over and asked if I could hug her. She cried on my shoulder for what seemed an eternity. When she left nearly 2 hours later she knew she wasn't in the battle alone anymore. She knew we were there with her.
We see people at their worst. People who have fallen on hard times. People broken and torn asunder at the hands of others. People who never envisioned they would be where they are today. We see their pain and we sit in their suffering with them. We believe in them before they can believe in themselves. We offer counsel, but we offer so much more than that. We open our hearts and connect with their hearts at a level of compassion deeply felt by both. We are honored to be trusted and recognize the responsibility of caring for another's pain. When those who trust us find healing we celebrate with them. We love our active duty military and the many veterans we work with, but we love, love, love, the wives, husbands, and children who also serve our country with the men and women in uniform. They are a treasure.
Sadly, all the attention of the media and the government is focused on debating the number of daily suicides of our veterans. The government praises their efforts to lower the rate to 14 suicides a day, but other reports indicate states are under reporting and the numbers are closer to 44 a day. I think even 1 suicide is too many. Gold Star families fall through the cracks and receive very little attention or care after the loss of a spouse who took their own life. I hear repeatedly that wives and children struggle financially, can't process the paperwork, and are too easily dismissed when they ask for help. Often, the one who died was the main source of income for the family. When the families come for therapy, often they don't have the $33 copay. We are here to help in anyway we can and often we will wave their copay. If you would like to help us help other Gold Star families and continue to support our military and veterans, please donate whatever you can through our donation page.
Encouragers Counseling & Training Centers stands with you!