Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vacation Almost Over


I've been in California the past couple of weeks visiting family and friends starting with friends in Antioch, San Francisco then Sacramento and finally, down to Los Angeles, where I am now. I'll take a train back to Houston leaving on Fri nite. I'm actually in Santa Monica to be exact, where i was born, visiting with my best friend from 6th grade.  Over all its been an excellent and very healing experience.  I got through a couple of assignments my last Vet Center head doc gave me before she relocated.

One was to participate as a volunteer at the Sacramento Stand Down for homeless veterans.  I did it last year and loved it. I work at the Community Service desk, and I trust the Marine who runs it.  He knows what happened and assured me I'd be safe. I knew this, and certainly trusted him to look after me,  but my breakdown happened after that, and I've had a lot of difficulty being around many veteran since then.  This was 99% good. I did have a couple of triggers, and had to work to hold my boundaries a couple of times, but that was good too. Before, I would have caved to any 'Commands'.  A defining moment came the first morning when one of the tent leaders told me I needed to get on the camp microphone and call for the 'community service' folks to show up for a work crew, but we didn't have the assignment for it yet, and I was in charge of the Community Service desk and  was supposed to make the decision.  I told him I wouldn't do it till I got the job assignment.  He pushed me to do it again and I got sorta mad and told him no again, and that part of my therapy for my PTSD was to hold my boundaries, especially with other veterans.  He said something about being disabled from being shot in the leg in Viet Nam.  He asked if i was a combat veteran, I said no, I got my PTSD  from MST.  Well.. his eyes got huge and his entire demeanor changed in a flash.  He  said "Oh my gosh.. I'm sooo sorry.  Right.. you DO have it worse then me for sure!".  And after that, he became something of a protector.  He'd come around and make sure I had cold water, and got food when the lines were going.  I was first, surprised that he KNEW what that acronym meant... (I dread explaining it to folks) and deeply touched by his brotherly and protective attitude during the 3 days in camp.  My friend Marion went with me, and it helped a lot to know she was near by too.

First evening in camp

 The next afternoon
Breaking camp Sun morning

It was really an wonderful experience and it was great how well everyone got along and the amazing services that were provided.

The other big assignment was to talk to my friend C's parents, as they had been like (and often more compassionate) then my own engineer parents. I wondered when the 'right moment' would present itself, and it came last Friday when her folks were at the framing shop the family owns while C was working.  I cried while I held her younger sisters hand, and both her parents were upset, especially her father.  My only living parent is my step father and he has Alzheimer's too much to really understand what happened, and he doesn't remember where I've moved to and why.  But my doc was right, it felt good to tell my other 'parents' and have them respond the way I wished mine would have.  C's younger sister was always like having my own little sister and I love her and the rest of the family sometimes more then my own.  They've called me their adopted daughter since the 6th grade.  Everyone is so wonderful and supportive that it's really been one of the best vacations I've ever had.  

Today I got to see my beloved step daughter Ms. P. for a short brunch and it was great to see and hug her.  She just got her Master's in psychology, I am sooooo proud of her!  Tonight, I go see my second cousin B, who I've not seen since the mid 90's.  And tomorrow nite, I get to see my beloved Uncle and Cousin, who I've not seen since the mid 80's.  Whew! Getting lots and lots of catching up done.  Tomorrow is also the LA County Museum and La Brea Tar Pits.  Thur we go to China Town for (hopefully) some dim sum and shopping, then on Thur evening dinner with friends and then we're going hunting for the Space Shuttle Endeavor as it will be parked here in LA overnight on its journey to the museum and C is determined to get pics of it. 

I've enjoyed this trip a lot but it will be nice to get home to Texas and my friends and new family there.

I'll fill in more sometime next week when I get home... 
Over and out,

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