It's hard to believe that a year ago today the bridge in Minneapolis collapsed. I was sitting on the bed in our room at Fisher House. The blue floral print comforter lured me to the cushion of the mattress where I sat in a moment of relaxation. The room was torn apart, boxes lay half filled on the floor and paperwork was scattered everywhere. The light at the end of the tunnel was getting brighter and we would be returning home soon. Home to the comforts of our own couch, our own kitchen, and our own quiet neighborhood. It was in this moment of relaxation at the Fisher House that I would learn of the bridge collapsing in Minneapolis. After a fast check to make sure that no one we knew had been traveling the bridge we would continue to watch the news in disbelief that such a tragic event could happen in a city that we love. A few weeks later we would return to life in the Midwest and the site of the collapsed bridge.
It's been a little over a year now since we left Walter Reed Army Medical Center and returned home for good. Our move was full of so many emotions. There was excitement to be in our own space, fear of what the future held, and anxiety over going back to school. Mixed in with everything else there was heartbreak. We were leaving behind friends that became family, therapists that became our best cheerleaders, and a house that became a home.
The move home was incredibly bittersweet and the last year we have come so far. There have been ups and downs but somehow we've managed to not kill each other. It took a lot of time to adjust to life after Walter Reed. For the first time in a long time it feels like J.R. and I are once again in sync and we have a somewhat normal routine for our life.
This year the warm weather brought logrolling back into our lives. It was so amazing to watch J.R. roll again this year. His body transformed from the thin frame of post war injury back into his toned muscular self. His eyes had a new light shining in them and his smile was bigger and better than ever. Although the end of the Lumberjack season didn't go exactly as planned, the summer of training was not wasted. J.R.'s return to the log proved that the enemy may turn your life upside down, but they can never break the spirit of any American Soldier.
As our one year anniversary of returning home from Walter Reed approaches, there is once again a move happening. In a few days we will close on our very own home. A cozy three bedroom farm house built in 1900 will be the new Salzman residence. The home comes with five acres of property and two extremely large man caves (AKA pole barns). And although I'm not sure I've convinced J.R. that cows would be a lovely edition to the property, I am confident that Brutus will be very pleased to become king of the hill and will rule the yard accordingly.
Although I am excited to be moving into our very own home I am struggling to leave behind my two bedroom apartment. This was my very first place that I made my home. It was in this apartment that I weathered a deployment. It was this apartment that J.R. longed to come home to while he was in Iraq. It was in this bedroom that I learned of J.R.'s injury. This was the home that helped me survive Walter Reed. It was my light at the end of the tunnel, my refuge when I needed it most, and because of that it will always be a special place for me.