After serving in Afghanistan and barely making it out alive, Robert came back with more damage than he realized at first. Aside from the PTSD and depression from losing so many comrades, he discovered years down the road that the chemicals he had been exposed to overseas weren’t just any chemicals. For him, and many of his troop, they were a slow death sentence.
It wasn’t until after his ten-year marriage ended in divorce that his health started becoming a real problem for him. He suffered multiple heart attacks and strokes, and a broken leg nearly spelled death for him. Not sure of what could be happening, he reached out to his friends, some who had served with him, and he discovered that many of his war buddies were suffering from the same issues, and some had even died. He took this information to his doctor, and the best guess they could give him is that a certain type of mustard gas that his troop had been exposed to could’ve been to blame, and there was no cure to the issues he was dealing with. It was a tough blow.
He was in and out of the hospital for a couple years before things got progressively worse, and it was no longer safe for him to live on his own. Despite being a disabled veteran, he has found it challenging to find placement in a nursing home, so he’s been with us here at GRM until they are able to get him settled somewhere. When he was first checked in, he told us that his doctor had given him only a few weeks to live, but he promised to be great guest in the meantime. It was shocking news.
While his health has been steadily declining, he has been with us off and on between his hospital stays for a few months now. In spite of his grim prognosis, his attitude has remained sunny and bright. After all, it was several months back that he was given a few weeks to live, and yet, it’s been God’s will that he’s still here. He is very close to the Lord, and while he’s accepting of his condition, he also knows that God is the God of miracles, and this whole ordeal has strengthened his relationship with the Lord.
He has met many great people along the way, had the opportunity to experience love, and the joy of being a father of four and a grandfather of two. He’s got to dip his toes in the warm white sands of Marco Island, feel the strength and honor that comes from defending our great nation, and he feels no regret that he has literally put his life on the line so that his children and grandchildren will be able to truly know freedom. He’s connected with other veterans and people in our community, forming many relationships that he hopes will carry him through his final days. “Don’t give up,” he says often, and he is definitely a poster child for that! Even on his worst days, his friendly smile and warm words are enough to lift anyone’s spirits, and our staff has been so grateful that God has allowed us to be part of his incredible journey.
Keep our nation’s veterans in your prayers as their battle continues beyond the war field with PTSD, depression, physical disabilities, and other conditions resulting from fighting for our country, our freedom, and our families. If you or someone you know needs additional support, you can find it at https://www.maketheconnection.net/