Thursday, February 16, 2012


As I write this, I am doing so to try and find the words I so desperately need to string together to make sense of the chaos and the anger and the sadness in my lap, in my life, right now.

A precious friend's little daughter is fighting for her life,  and is in her second surgery in two days at this moment. A freak accident has injured her to the point of not knowing if she is going to make it or not, with a 2% chance of survival.  If she lives she will lose her arm and be terribly scared.  Prayers are being said across the world for her right now. Her mom calls me every hour from Tennessee to update me and to cry and to alow me cradle her in arms that have to reach that far, until her own mother makes it to the hospital.

An Air Force friend, moved to another state, who was a PTSD patient here in San Antonio, is driving an hour to a psychiatric appointment which is agony to him.  He is stressed and eaten up with anxiety and I have told him that Kelsie and I are in his pocket and to know that no matter what, we love him and are by his side. I feel his pain. I want to take it away.

Then to add icing to this cake of tears, I find that horrible rumors have been viciously spread about the Penny's from Heaven Foundation at SAMMC, stating we are asking warriors for money and pocketing it for our own personal gain. Additionally, they have spread the word that our therapy dogs are 'inferior'. They have removed our dog teams from the 7th floor psych unit.  We have been told we are not to enter the hospital again.  We have been removed, hopefully only temporarily, from the psych hospital and from our PTSD patients who so dearly love our therapy dogs.

I can guarantee you that our dog teams working with this population have had a massive amount of training prior to working with  PTSD, TBI and MST patients.  The dogs are hand picked and certified to become PTSD Support Dogs.  The handlers are also hand selected for their compassion and knowledge of working with this very special group.  I am sickened, angry, and this burden is heavy.  Anyone wishing to see our financials is welcome to do so.

I have compassion.  Tons of it.  It isn't sympathy or pity; it is much more powerful and a very difficult emotion to endure sometimes.  To understand the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it is a responsibility I often find too hard to carry.  Some, many, simply say, "Oh isn't that too bad."  Then there are those of us who stand at the ready to do whatever we can to make it better.  To help, to assist, to bend over backwards to change the circumstances.  When people I love suffer, I suffer.  I want to fix it.  I want to make it better.  But in so doing, the burden on me is huge.  When words are tossed and bantered about that are false and hurtful and lies, I hurt for my teams who are engaged in this journey with me.

I wish I understood all of this.  I wish I had answers.  I only have an enormous feeling of anguish for the pain and suffering of this little girl and her family, and for my warrior who is having to relive whatever it was in combat that has caused his acute PTSD, and for my foundation whose sole purpose is to share their most precious therapy dogs with warriors and patients in need of a little comfort.  For others to suggest that we do otherwise makes me furious. 

Penny's from Heaven is a harbor for the type of people who never underestimate the good that can be done with sympathetic thoughts and feelings that walk hand in hand with compassion. I want to clear my head.  I don't want to have these negative thoughts and feelings for those who malign our good works.  I don't want to waste any more time dealing with people whose sole agenda is to harm others by word and deed. There is no sense in it.  But when your face is rubbed in it time after time after time, one gets a bit weary. 

So I sit looking at my BOOK OF POSITIVE QUOTATIONS and opened it to a page that makes me feel least for now. We wonder what words we can say to those in pain and distress.  We wonder if any words we say will hold any meaning or simply fall flat.  Linda Picone in her book says, "It's not what we say that matters, but that we care enough to say something.  The words don't matter so much as the thoughts and feelings behind them.  And we should never underestimate how much sympathetic thoughts and feelings mean to those in trouble." 

Okay, so no matter how many times people try to batter me and ruin my reputation, I will remain who I am.  I will not alter the compassion I feel for others and the consistent absorption of their pain.  But somewhere in the back of my heart is a place that has very little compassion for those who think only of themselves and nothing of those we so badly want to help.  It isn't about us, it isn't about those who besmirch us, it is solely about those struggling to heal.  Seems many have forgotten that one very important point.  For them I feel anything but compassion.

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