Military Spouse Magazine

MAR 2019

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Page 16 of 35

Not only have the Ve- rardos survived, they have thrived, particularly in their role as parents. "Personally, I'm most proud of our ability, through everything we have been through, to raise three incred- ible daughters. Being away from them frequently because of work or Mike's appoint- ments is difficult, but one of the most important things I will ever do is make every effort to raise strong women who know they can change the world," said Sarah. SPREADING UNDERSTANDING And change the world, they have. In 2018, Sarah pub- lished her first book, "Hero At Home," which was inspired by her oldest daughter, Grace. "She never knew her daddy before his injuries, so all she has known is how he is today," Sarah explained. "I learned that through everything, Grace doesn't focus on her daddy's in- juries. She focuses on his heart. When she overheard someone call her daddy 'gross,' she told me, 'Daddy isn't gross. He is a hero and he's handsome.' That's just who she is, and why she inspired me to write this book. It's a way to tell that story, not just to her, but to other children who may not understand why Mommy or Daddy are a little different than the parents of their friends. This is what we hope to accomplish through this book; educating other children, so that they can understand." No two days of Sarah's life are the same as she bounces between appointments with Mike and her daughters, phone calls with the VA and meetings for The Indepen- dence Fund, but through the difficult times and moments of exhaustion, she is quick to remember her why. "The feeling of making a positive change in another veteran or caregiver's life through your own experiences, failures, and successes, makes 'me time' that much more meaningful," said Sarah. H "Spontaneity goes out the window when it comes to vacations or trips, or even just with going out with friends," she said. "It can make it difficult to have a personal life, as much of a caregiver's life is making sure that the rest of the family can live their lives to the fullest. This is why it can be difficult for many to feel like the forgotten part of the vet- eran family equation. The greatest honor of Mike's life was wearing our country's uniform and defending it - and the greatest honor of mine is caring for him, but, the days are long and lonely. Nearly every single decision I make, I have to ask myself, 'If I have to - can I do this alone?' It's a heavy load to carry on the home front - all that baggage that came home from war with my husband. Never did I think that surviving would be the most difficult part for both of us." MARCH 2019 / MILITARYSPOUSE.COM 17

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