After you read this, click on the link below and watch the CBS Evening News piece on Project Sanctuary.
I am going to get into Bob's story on Wednesday and how we are very different and very much like the other families at Project Sanctuary. But today, I am going to talk about the retreat itself and what it did for my family.
This past week, Bob and I were on a marriage retreat through an organization called Project Sanctuary. This is a non-profit organization that provides retreats, in the Colorado Rockies, for military families. In May, we went as an entire family. But this month, they offered a marriage retreat for couples only. Bob and I were lucky enough to be able to attend.
We aren't a typical military family, as Bob was enlisted in the Marines from 1989-1993. We were married then, but the kids were not there to experience deployment. Many of the couples at Project Sanctuary have a service person who is active duty or recently retired. Many have had multiple tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Some will deploy again. There are some unbelievable stories there. Stories that blew my mind. Incredible people. The military families, and what they go through when deployment happens, the horrific things these men and women see, have more of a toll than is explainable. It is seriously something that shakes me to my core, and gets me very fired up. I hate war.
When we went to the family retreat on April 27th of this year, Bob was living out of the house. There were many reasons for that. But like I said before, I have sat down with two attorneys to discuss my options. I was emotionally separating from a man who I thought had given up on life. This retreat, gave me some hope.
When we arrived both times, we were welcomed by Heather, the founder of the organization and one of the biggest hearted people I think I have ever met. Every move she makes is for other people. And she moves a lot. So it is a LOT that she does for military families, tirelessly and never ending. She is an inspiration. So are the volunteers at the retreat and the other staff, such as a woman named Missy. Missy runs the kid program and also hooks up all of the activities. Not to mention, she is hilarious. Laura and Katie are volunteers that I connected with. These women only knew our family for a short time, but made it feel like we had been friends for years. We had a LOT of laughs.
They tailor the retreat to meet the needs of each family. They could see that Bob and I were stressed back in May. They took special time to take our kids away so we could have alone time and reconnect. It really did a lot for us. The Healthy Marriage classes did as well. He really took it seriously, which surprised me. He had been so disconnected from our family, this honestly woke him up.
Since that retreat in May, Bob has been consistently in the house. He started weekly therapy sessions AND we started marriage counseling. We still have our issues. But as a family, we have come so far in this little bit of time. The retreat seemed to wake up something in him. He was sleeping all day before, now he still sleeps a lot, but is being more active.
We went horseback riding, zip lining, bowling, swimming, fishing, taken to a 5 star restaurant, had family photos taken, hiking, did ropes courses, healthy marriage classes, financial classes, and were treated like royalty. Not to mention, the mountains are so beautiful, my kids thought they were fake! It was a trip we could not have afforded by ourselves. All paid for by donations, and the hustle of a woman named Heather. PLEASE watch the clip below.
At this point, this is what has kept us moving forward. The appreciation Bob felt, the connections with the other service people, that someone gave a shit about him, made him lift out of his fog a little. I can't thank them enough.
Click the link, watch, and think about what you can do. They always need donations.