We celebrate this Memorial Day with the story of a military caregiver whose husband returned from active duty alive but mentally wounded.  Jill Armijo’s husband, Joe, served in the Navy as a machinist and was deployed to a ship in the Persian Gulf just before Operation Desert Storm.  A gentle, generous man, Joe returned from the Gulf War paranoid and with delusions of grandeur.  For the past 20 years, his greatest battle has been schizophrenia.  Although the medical community eventually recognized Joe’s condition as Gulf War Illness, Jill says the VA wasn’t much help when he came back from the Gulf and most doctors didn’t know what to do with him.  Jill talks about the pressure of caring for Joe while holding down a job for her entire family, and how her sons saved the marriage and was patient with Joe while she often lost her cool.  She provides vivid examples of Joe’s behavior, offers coping tools for other caregivers and tells us how she stopped trying to cure Joe and learned to love him just as he is.  Jill is currently working on a book about her family’s journey called, “Home of the Unknown Soldier: How Coming Back Became the Other Ultimate Sacrifice.”

Connect with Jill on Facebook | Instagram: @jarmiji1962 | Email: jilldawnarmijo@gmail.com

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Jill Armijo - Military Caregiver

Jill Armijo, her husband Joe and their sons (2016).