About two weeks ago (or maybe more) I had the extreme privilege of being invited to the annual Operation Home front’s Hearts of Valor retreat, this time held in sunny San Diego at the San Diego Resort and Spa. I traveled with my fellow warrior wife, and good friend Jane M, which pretty much started this incredible weekend with laughs and much needed stress relief. For all that are new to my blog, I rarely refer to my friends by their actual name here. Instead- since I call our brood the anything but plain Jane’s- you’ll see me reference them as Jane [+ the initial of their first name].
The resort was phenomenal; great catered food, impressive suites, to-die-for spa and Jacuzzi, and ultra-plush amenities, made our weekend trip, the ultimate weekend getaway!
|Photos courtesy sandiegohilton.com|
Not only were the amenities amazing, the activities and speakers on the agenda planned by the miracle workers of H.O.V, were incredible and so uplifting. Our keynote speakers on night one were a CSM with PTSD and his lovely wife. They definitely didn’t hold back as they recalled the rocky trails their relationship experienced while navigating this ever so twisty road of marriage and PTSD. I tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after they were done speaking. I know for me, hearing out-loud the very same emotions that I have felt for now 7 years, spilling out of the mouth of another woman in my very same shoes, gave me such a feeling of emotional support. It was great- knowing that I wasn’t crazy for feeling angry, distant, and protective of myself and my kiddo- and helped me to not just hear but truly know that I’m not alone. So moving and powerful!
The rest of the weekend wasn’t as intense, but was still just as powerful. We had classes each day that covered everything from VA benefits, intimacy, journaling, money management and then some. We also had lots of downtime, which included free facials and massages courtesy of the remarkable resort and H.O.V, a bon fire on the beach, relaxing poolside (either in the private cabanas or overlooking the beach), and Jacuzzi time. I can tell you from my experience, that this retreat was a life saver. I had reached my ‘burn-out’ phase, and having a moment to myself, some much needed r&r, and building connections with an amazing group of women, who are turning out to be really incredible new friends, was just what I needed to get me back to being me, and providing me with the tools to help me get through the challenges that life with PTSD and TBI afford .
To all of you Combat Veteran Wives, I definitely recommend you join Hearts of Valor. For me the retreat was much needed indeed, but more than that, what I got out of this amazing weekend was much more than I ever expected. It allowed me the greatest gift I’ve ever been given…peace. At a time where my entire life seemed to be rooted deeply in chaos and stress, the bonds and friendships, resources and information, and time to decompress that this retreat gave me, I know I will be forever grateful for. For all of you out there struggling on your own- don’t! Join, talk, get it out ladies. Just know that you’re not alone.
|Strongest women I know!|