Tuesday, July 7, 2020

“Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife” by Coronado’s Barbara McNally

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Coronado author Barbara McNally’s second book “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife” hits store shelves on October 3, 2016. McNally will be at Bay Books on October 20th from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm for a book signing and wine reception. Proceeds from the book benefit Sharp Coronado Hospital Foundation.  (Images courtesy of Barbara McNally)

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Barbara McNally’s Mother, Lover, Fighter, Sage Foundation offers support to wounded warrior wives. (Image courtesy of the Mother Lover Fighter Sage Foundation)

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In April of 2016 The Coronado Times featured an article entitled S.P.A. Day for Wounded Warrior Wives Sponsored by Coronado’s Barbara McNally.  At that time I had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara McNally about the S.P.A. (Support. Purpose. Appreciation.) Day at the Hotel del Coronado that she and her foundation, known as the Mother, Lover, Fighter, Sage Foundation, were hosting for the wives of wounded warriors. Back in April, in addition to discussing how she was sponsoring a S.P.A. Day focused on “nurturing the nurturers”, Barbara shared the title of her second book:  Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife.

Join Barbara at Bay Books on Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for a book signing and wine reception. Proceeds from the book benefit Sharp Coronado Hospital Foundation.



UPDATE October 21, 2016 – Pictures from the book launch at Bay Books:



The book, which is scheduled to hit store shelves on October 3rd, tells the stories of a number of wounded warrior wives, whose husbands returned from war as changed men. Some of the wounded warriors’ injuries were visible, such as loss of limbs, paralysis, or burns over much of their bodies.  Other wounded warriors’ injuries may have been invisible to the naked eye, but post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries also were responsible for turning some of our nations’ heroes into men that their families no longer recognized.  For many of those troops who sustained massive injuries while serving overseas, they had the unfortunate luck of suffering from an assortment of both physical as well as emotional injuries.

“The healing process is a journey that lasts a lifetime for wounded warriors and for their caregivers.”

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– Barbara McNally:  “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife”

Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife is an important book that resonated with me for a variety of reasons.  As a military spouse myself, I found myself marveling at the strength that my fellow military spouses have shown as they carved out new lives for themselves, their husbands, and families after their loved ones were wounded.  My husband has gone on multiple deployments, and each time I’ve been blessed to have him return home safe and sound.  After reading each woman’s story, I found myself thinking about everything these military families have gone through as they’ve tried to heal from the atrocities of war. Suddenly the burden of having to move 11 times during the 18 years I’ve been married doesn’t seem bad at all, and I marvel at how very trivial the inconveniences I’ve experienced as a military spouse have been in contrast to these brave women, who found within themselves the same tenacity and resiliency that their military husbands have always had. I admire how many of these women were so affected by their husbands’ scars that they forged new career paths for themselves so that they could pay it forward by helping future wounded warriors and their wives.

“I’ve discovered that institutions don’t heal patients; individuals do.  No matter how many more advances the VA makes, care for a wounded warrior coping with a brain injury ultimately will continue to fall upon his spouse or caregiver.”

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– Barbara McNally:  “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife”

As I read how these caregivers felt, I couldn’t help but connect with them on a different level.  Shortly after my husband Mike returned from his third deployment, he was diagnosed with stage III cancer.  I was so excited for my husband to return home so he could help share the responsibilities of raising our then 2 year old, but everything I envisioned seemed shattered the moment the words cancer, surgery, and chemotherapy came into the picture. Like these wounded warrior wives, I had to follow through on the “for better or worse” part of our wedding vows, and as our immediate plans went out the door, it was time for me to embrace the mantra “It is what it is.”  During that time of our lives, my husband and I learned a lot about ourselves as individuals as well as a lot about our marriage.  I really connected to so many of these women’s stories as I read Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife, remembering that time in our lives when people stopped asking me how I was, and would instead only ask, “How’s Mike doing?”  Remembering the terrible mood swings Mike experienced as he went through months of chemo five days a week, I connected with the women in the book who felt like they were living with strangers at times, knowing the men they knew and loved were still there deep down inside.

“The next time you encounter a family with a wounded warrior, look for the woman by his side, and you will find someone who can teach you more about life than you ever dreamed possible.”

– Barbara McNally:  “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife”

We were lucky to have incredible doctors and nurses who were able to save Mike’s life, and I know that our “bump in the road” as we refer to that chapter of our lives pales in comparison to the lifelong struggles that many of these wounded warriors and their families face, but anyone who reads Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife who has found himself or herself in the role of caregiver will be able to relate to what these wounded wives have had to face as they learned the fine balance of caring for their wounded warriors while also still taking care of themselves.  Caregivers have a tendency to put their own needs on the back burner, and this book emphasizes just how essential it is to care for oneself when trying to nurture someone who is sick or in pain.

“An injury doesn’t have to become an impassable roadblock in a marriage.  Instead, it can become an unexpected gateway to closeness, understanding, and partnership.”

– Barbara McNally:  “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife”

Like the women in Barbara’s book, my experience as Mike’s caregiver actually made me love him even more than I ever thought possible, and strengthened our marriage in a way neither of us could foresee.  When Mike was at his sickest, I never could have imagined that I would someday reflect on his cancer as a gift, but going through that with him made us both learn to appreciate the small things in life so much more.  We’re both a lot more laid back and more of free spirits than we were before his diagnosis, realizing each day is a gift that’s not meant to be squandered worrying about trivial things.

Barbara’s book serves as an incredible resource for those who are in need of assistance as they struggle with their new roles as caregivers.  It’s also an invaluable book for those who are in the midst of being caregivers themselves as they will undoubtedly see parallels between the wounded warrior wives’ stories and their own.

“I hope these stories change other lives as much as they have changed mine.”

– Barbara McNally:  “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife”

Even those who are not affiliated with the military and have never been caregivers themselves could benefit from reading this book.  The raw descriptions of what these families have faced and continue to face is eye opening, and those who read this book will never look at wounded warriors or their wives the same way again.  These wounded warriors and their wives deserve our ultimate respect, and reading about their struggles and triumphs is inspirational.  We owe it to them to make their voices heard, and thanks to Barbara, we gain incredible insight about what wounded warriors, including wounded female warriors, deal with as they focus on “not just surviving but thriving.”

“People talk about being willing to risk ‘life and limb’ for causes or people, and they cast the phrase about casually. But these brave men and women have risked their lives and lost their limbs in order to protect our freedom.”

– Barbara McNally:  “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife”

Additional Information:

  • Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife is available on Amazon.com.  To read more reviews or to purchase a hardcover, softcover, or Kindle edition click here.

(Image courtesy of Mother, Lover, Fighter, Sage Foundation)
(Image courtesy of Mother, Lover, Fighter, Sage Foundation)

  • Barbara and her Mother, Lover, Fighter, Sage Foundation will be hosting another S.P.A. Day on November 6, 2016.

If you’d like to make a donation please make the check out to:

Mother, Lover, Fighter Sage, The San Diego Foundation and reference fund #7043.

Mail to:
The San Diego Foundation
2508 Historic Decatur Rd. #200
San Diego, CA 92106.

Please put to Leslie’s attention. You will receive a gift acknowledgement within a week of the contribution.

Please email barbara@barbaramcnally.com if there is a particular event you want your donation to go towards.

 

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Coree Cornelius
Coree Cornelius
Resident, Educator, Military Spouse, and Mother."I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." - Susan Sontag.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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