'Fun-loving' is a good description for Kelly Caldero. She once decorated a colleague's office with everything spider-esque she could find. After enjoying his "freak out," she told him it was just a little thing she could do to help him overcome his arachnophobia.
Her perfect day would be spent in Disneyland with her family playing. She would like to be able to fly! Kelly's son joined her in the quest for fun.
Her son was a joy to be around. He lived every moment to the max! People loved him and his friends and family adored him. This one in a million young man loved life. He determinately joined the Army shortly after high school graduation. The day he was deployed was gut-wrenching for Kelly as she watched her beautiful boy go off to war.
His boots touched the ground in Afghanistan the day he turned 19. He served as a scout sniper for a recon platoon. The combat was heavy. The experiences were shattering. The hardest year of Kelly's life took the joy out of her fun-loving son, sending home an angry, dysfunctional man in his place.
The Mayo Clinic defines Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a type of anxiety disorder triggered by witnessing a traumatic event causing intense fear, helplessness or horror. In the civil and revolutionary war it was called Soldier's Heart, Battle Fatigue or the Thousand Yard Stare. In World War I and World War II it became known as Shell Shock or War Malaise.
Later we heard the titles of Vietnam Syndrome or Gulf War Syndrome.
According to information provided by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, about 25 percent of returning troops between 2001 and 2009 have some form of PTSD. Evidence in a 2014 VA Mental Health Overview suggests it may be worse in the Afghanistan war than in any previous war. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, severe depression, hopelessness, sleeplessness, anger, shame, self-destructive behavior, hallucinations, and re-experiencing.
Kelly's son returned from Afghanistan distressed by symptoms of PTSD. The condition of her previously happy son is too painful for her to describe. She sadly says, "There have been really bad days, which if not for God Himself holding me up I don't believe I would still be here today."
Like the majority of veterans with PTSD, her son was reluctant to seek help, but he eventually did. He is currently being treated by the Veterans Administration and is on disability for PTSD.
What about the parents Post Traumatic Suffering Daily? They feel the hurt each day as they witness their once dynamic child tripping down a self-destructive path. Kelly says, "War is hell on earth, and often times the hell does not end upon the soldier's return. The fun-loving happy child I knew is no more. Part of him died over on that battlefield and I will grieve for that the rest of my life." She gets through it one day at a time by praying and believing God gives her the grace to get through as she stays on the His path. She says her suffering from migraine headaches is nothing compared to the suffering of losing her son.
Kelly perceives laughter as healing and encourages people to laugh loud and often. She anticipates performing in the Macy's Parade as a once in a lifetime opportunity. She feels performing with RHM is a way to bring on the laughter.
Her advice to other Moms going through trauma is, "Don't take yourself too seriously. Stop caring what everyone around you thinks. Be confident in who God made you to be. Use your gifts and talents for His purpose."
There are many organizations offering a boost of new life to participants. Be encouraged to get on out there and seize the day. The Mamas can be followed on Facebook and reached at www.rhmamas.com
• Meet Kelly Caldero
Married 23 years, two children, one grandchild
Works at Real Life Ministries
Red Hot Mama: 7 months
Pet Peeve: Dictated rules that are not inspired by common sense
Favorite quote: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go." Joshua 1:9
Enjoyments: Jesus. Camping. Vacations. Nature. Chocolate. Reading. Movies. Pride and Prejudice. The Bible. Contemporary Christian, Michael Buble', and Old Time Crooners music. A night out with the best husband in the world.
RHM Besties: Being treated as rockstars at the Seafair Parade in Seattle. Friends. Laughter.
RHM Tuffies: Trying to be upbeat at rehearsals after a long busy day at work. Caution: Grumpy when tired.