“I didn’t care anymore. I felt worthless,” said Bea, who sustained serious, life-altering injuries after a car accident. Bea was rushed to the hospital where she underwent hours of therapy to help stabilize a brain injury and cope with permanent vision loss.
“It was as if a dark cloud had settled over me and a deep fog was in my head,” she said. Things that were once routine like paying bills or cleaning the house became near impossible. “I could barely get out of bed in the morning without falling over in a fit of dizziness, let alone remember how to do every day things.”
The widow of a longtime U.S. Army intelligence officer, Bea found help through Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) Military and Veteran Services. The broad range of services are aimed at empowering military members, Veterans and their family to find the treatment and support they need to improve their quality of life and find stability.
This wasn’t the first time in her life, Bea said, that she had faced unexpected tragedy. Years earlier, Bea watched her husband’s mind and body steadily decline from the effects of severe diabetes and Lewy Body Dementia. Once vibrant and strong, Bea says her husband, who had a decades-long decorated career in the U.S. Army, became a shell of the man she was married to for nearly 50 years. “The drastic change was horrific,” she said.
After her husband passed away, Bea says she didn’t think she’d ever go through anything harder. Then she had her accident. With limited mobility and vision and without a steady income, she began falling deeper in debt and behind on taxes. “I was in a real mess and needed help,” she said.
Running low on options for turning her life around, Bea learned she could get help through LSS Military and Veteran Services. “My husband was on military disability for years and received wonderful services to help him,” said Bea, who was her husband’s full-time caregiver. “After my accident, I thought my life was over. The LSS Military and Veterans program helped me find hope that things could get better.”
A certified financial counselor helped Bea create a plan to pay off her debt and regain control of her finances. But the most impactful, life-changing support, she said, came from a behavioral health counselor who helped her refocus her perspective and find value in her life again.
“He saved me,” Bea said of the therapist whose own experience with the military and a brain injury made it possible for her to connect to the support he offered. “He was the first therapist I trusted in years. He helped me understand that it’s okay not to be exactly who I was before my accident; that I can put myself back together, move forward and be even better as who I am now.”
Bea says she’s on the road to healing through growing stronger bonds with her children and grandchildren, “My LSS therapist helped this entire family grow closer together,” Bea said. Slowly but surely, Bea said, her life is stabilizing.
“I am so thankful for the support I found in LSS Military and Veteran Services,” Bea said. “It brought me from hopeless to hopeful.”
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota understands that each person’s experience is different. Our model of Veterans serving Veterans helps build trust and resilience while supporting every individual’s unique healing process. Visit our website for more information.