These in Between Times

When I was young, I had no money. I made little money and didn’t get to go do things that cost money very often. But I also had no debt.  I didn’t have a lot of income, but it was okay because I had very little out-go. The same cannot be said now. My husband made a very good living for us by virtue of having served his country in the Marine Corps and having been disabled while in service. He received money from the VA and also from Social Security. As his dependent spouse and son, we now receive a benefit from Social Security which is about a third of what our income was prior to his death. As his dependent spouse and son, we now receive from the VA, absolutely nothing.

Our income has dropped by about 2/3 and our bills and debt have stayed the same. Additionally, the VA decided that they overpaid us one month at his rate while he was alive and they took it back on the first of March. I am selling everything that I can to make ends meet. In a couple or few months, I should be getting a little money from my mom’s probate having finally processed. We will eventually be okay. If we can pay off our debts and reduce our cost of living to essentials.

But in the meantime we are overdrawn and haven’t paid much more than the mortgage payment in two months.  We’ve sold a lot of things, but that has kept us in food, gas, and daily living expenses rather than being enough to pay  the bills and start to fill in this hole that keeps getting deeper and deeper.  My friend wanted to help me by giving me some money. She asked if I had a support account so that people could donate to help with this harsh transition. I said that I did not and didn’t even know how to do that. She encouraged me to talk to the bank as they should be able to help with that.

I did and after some struggle (they didn’t want to do it because I was overdrawn) I was able to open a donation account to allow anyone to walk into any Wells Fargo and deposit money in the Alan (Hewitt) Memorial Fund account. (account #9006351614)

I went to put a notice in the local newsletter/paper thingy, but could not because a service organization didn’t sponsor me. I am not a member of any service organizations, churches, clubs or anything like that. So, I did it myself and I feel extremely awkward asking an organization to sponsor me after the fact. Like many people, I am not very good at asking for help or asserting myself, so all of this is is extremely difficult to make myself do.

But, I am smart enough to know when I need to step out from behind my pride and fear to ask for help. I can’t do this on my own. Any little bit will help. And if you can’t help monetarily, please share this so maybe someone else can.

Thank you

Olympians

We watched the Olympics avidly this year. My son is a sports nut so we are definitely interested in watching the best athletes in the world compete at the top of their games in these games.

Those Olympics were full of stories about athletes that had come from bad childhoods, poor neighborhoods, struggling countries to somehow overcome it to make it to the Olympics. We love the story of the underdog winning in the end. At the Olympics we take a little time out from being spoonfed our daily ration of sensationalized news and reality TV. For just a little while we get to watch some really sensational reality on TV. People who work hard, train hard, and dedicate their lives improving themselves. This is the reality I want on my TV. The first ever double amputee to run in the Olympics? How many times did we hear that story? We loved it. We love it still.

We watched athlete after athlete swim faster, run harder, win more medals than ever before. When it was all over I looked ahead to the Paralympic Games to show my son what overcoming adversity and triumphing against long odds really means. We want to celebrate these athletes just as much, if not more, than the first bunch. But we won’t be given the opportunity. The sad fact is that someone, somewhere decided that we really don’t want to see much more inspiration. That we’re just not that interested in the Paralympic Games.

I read this article ,and a few others, about how little coverage that the US is getting of the Paralympics.

I am saddened and shamed by this.

The coverage of the Olympics was extremely extensive. I had 9 hour and 5 hour long recordings on my DVR every single day and we still didn’t get to see everything.  According to the article, ” NBC announced its U.S. coverage would only include video content on the U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel and five and a half hours of pre-recorded coverage airing on broadcast television.”

Five and a half hours total.

I saw nearly three times as much every day of the Olympics as will be aired for the entire Paralympics.

For shame, NBC. What are you telling these athletes, these people about their worth? What are you telling them, and us, about their place in society? You are telling them that they are less than. That they are not deserving of the same attention as “regular” athletes.

You are telling my son that his dad who is a disabled veteran who struggles everyday just to do regular things is not enough. Please don’t use any more disabled people or wounded warriors in your commercials to sell your products if you can’t offer them the decency of your attention in return.

Thanks for making it harder to teach my son that we are all equal.

Thanks for making it easier to explain what discrimination is.

We can

and should

do better than this.

UPDATE: I got mad enough to send an angry email to NBC Sports. Here it is:

To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing this letter to find out why we are being so limited in coverage of the London Paralympics. I was dismayed to read that there is only going to be 5.5 hours of coverage offered here in the US. In total. I think the disparity between the coverage for the “regular” Olympics and the Paralympics is truly unconscionable. 
Are we so accustomed to our sensationalized reality TV that we aren’t able to recognize sensational TV in reality? I like to think that that is not the case, but somewhere, someone in your hierarchy decided that we aren’t interested. That America’s Got Talent trumps talented Americans. I am ashamed of this discrimination against these athletes.
I am so angry right now.
What are you telling these athletes, these people, about their worth? What are you telling them about their place in society? You are telling them that they aren’t worthy of your, and our, attention. You are telling them that they are Less Than. You are telling them that they are not enough.
Broadcasting companies are quick to use a wounded soldier or triumphant disabled person to sell their products by tugging on our heartstrings to reach our purse strings. Please, put your coverage where your mouth is. 
I am trying to show my son that we are all equal. I am trying to teach him that his dad, a disabled veteran who struggles everyday just to do regular activities is not less than. I am angry that you are undermining those teachings.
Thank you for making it easier for me to teach my son about discrimination.
Sincerely,
Brook Hewitt
and a petition on change.org that you can sign if you’re interested and angry like I am.
http://www.change.org/petitions/nbc-give-the-same-news-coverage-to-the-paralympics-as-the-olympics

memorial day

I married a Marine.

I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. The only experience I had had with military men prior to my husband were my grandfathers. My dad’s dad was in the Army as a young man, but was not a lifer. My mom’s dad was a career Navyman. When he retired after twenty years, he continued to work with them in the civilian sector. Neither one of them would have ever been described as soft. Though they had their moments, of course. But they were not Marines.

Marines are a different make and model. As they will tell you, not everyone is cut out to be one. My husband was a lifer. Had he not been injured, I’m sure he would have stayed in until they kicked him out and then, as my Grandpa did, would have found a way to work with or for them until he couldn’t anymore. He’s stubborn that way.

I was raised by card carrying members of the hippie tribe. They are anti war and free love and tree huggers–though they are not so much war protest as peace rally. This upbringing of mine in no way prepared me for a life with a military man. Nor, at times, does my husband know what to do with me. Had I known what being married to a Marine meant before I did it, I might not have done it. It would have seemed overwhelming.

But I am glad I did not know. Because not only have we been in loving friendship for ten years with a beautiful son as well. Not only have I had the privilege of learning about life from this other perspective. But had I not married this man, this warrior, I would not have known of one of my purposes on this earth. Part of my job here is to show my Marine that the way is not always hard. That love and kindness are valid and necessary emotions. Soldiers, I think, have trouble with these emotions because they are not helpful emotions to have in wartime. The military does its very best to create soldiers who have the best chance possible of surviving and coming home. That means fast, strong, smart, brave, aggressive traits are cultivated. Anything else is not.

I long for the day when we have no need for a military. When we as a planet are able to use our words to problem solve and not our fists. But until that time has come…

Somewhere on a wall, there is a Marine

Standing up for my freedom to protest against him.

Somewhere on a gravestone, there is a name

A memory of someone’s loved one who did not come home.

Someone who stood up to protect the ideals that we forget we have because we don’t know what it’s like not to have them.

Someone who fell on a battlefield, fighting to survive and come home safe.

Someone who deserves recognition for having done the best job he could at one of the worst jobs we could ask him to do.

I do not believe in war.

I have never met a soldier who had truly been to war who didn’t long for peace.

Who knew full well the cost of war and was willing to pay it, but shouldn’t have to.

I support our troops.

I support our troops by trying to ensure that their lives are not wasted on petty politics. I support our troops by trying to ensure that if we are going to ask of them the ultimate sacrifice, that they, and their families, are paid a decent wage. It is the very least that we can do. I support our troops by trying to ensure that when they come home as veterans they are given the respect they deserve and the care they need.

As my husband likes to say, “Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die.”

And he is correct. It is not the job of a member of the military to reason why. Don’t join the military if you want to reason why. Because that is our job. As civilians, as citizens of this nation, it is our duty and responsibility to reason why. To exercise the freedoms that have been so dearly bought. To hold our politicians and admirals accountable for their actions.

Honor Our Fallen Heroes

Thank Our Military for Their Service

Honor Our Veterans

Support Our Troops: Bring Them Home

Today I am grateful for….. Freedom…..ServiceMen and Women…..Veterans……Those Who Have Gone Before……and…. My Marine