This story is about my husband and me. He returned from his first deployment to the Gulf War…changed. Over the next months and years, as his symptoms, including paranoid delusions, bleeding, and pain increased, we tried everything to cure him. The VA turned us down, and regular medicine didn’t know what to do with him, since his symptoms don’t make sense or fit any syndromes. We were both scared and frustrated. We thought something had gone terribly wrong. After many years, we’ve realized that nothing went wrong. Nothing is a surprise to God; life gives us the best ways to learn and grow individually, and as families. My husband is my hero. He’s resisted temptations to leave us, take his life, or resort to addictions or destructive behavior. He loves me and our children. My love for him has strengthened as we’ve worked through the communication and coping required to navigate schizophrenia, and not being able to work for the past 20 years. He’s experienced shame and guilt about not being able to hold down a job, and usually not being able to even help with chores. He does his best to maintain our cars and perform minor repairs, which sometimes takes him weeks, working 30 minutes at a time, then resting for 48 hours to recover from that much exertion. He wants to provide for his family. I tell him he IS providing for us…by staying married to me, taking care of our cars, loving his children, and making me laugh on a regular basis. I’ve never, in 30 years, been stranded on the side of the road, and I’ve never done any of my own car care. I cherish my husband just as he is, and he loves me, even though I’m a mess. Life is beautiful. It’s just different than we thought it would be. I think it’s that way for everyone.