Warrior, Survivor, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Marine
By Sue Kaszynski
My name is Sue. I am Fred and Margaret’s daughter, Dave, Barb, Mary and Steve’s sister. I am a wife, mom , step mom ( step monster lol) and grandmother to 12 beautiful grandkids. But above all else I am me. For without me I can’t be any of the others.
I come from a loving if not a dysfunctional family. I have a childhood with trauma and childhood health issues. All this comes into play later. I married young and divorced young ( it was doomed from the start). He threatened to kill himself if I didn’t marry him. I was young and naïve, when that wore out I sent him packing back to his parents. I didn’t want to be fifty and wonder what I did with myself so I did what any sane young woman in 1977 would do. I joined the Marine Corps. Then became a Military Policewoman. Yes I was a rare breed. There were not very many women in the Corps and fewer in law enforcement. I was 5’4” and 100 pounds soaking wet. They had to special order my black gear because the smallest belt went around my waist twice ( I had an 18” waist) and oh what I wouldn’t do for that body again!!!!
I met my second husband while stationed in Japan. He was another Marine. I had had no intention of ever marrying again and planned on making the Corps a career, I loved being in. I was actually in the process of applying to go through a program that would allow me to become an officer. Then I got word that an injury I received during training to become a police officer would prevent me from ever reenlisting. So I got married. I had two beautiful children, a son and a daughter. Unfortunately their father was not a good choice for a husband or a father and after a particularly bad incident I left with the clothes on our back. I moved back home and I had gotten a job in two weeks. I got my own apartment
within two months. I applied for VA vocational rehabilitation and was accepted.
At my counselors suggestion I went to become a social worker. Now personally I thought she was crazy. I didn’t feel like I had the temperament to be one. But the VA would pay for an entrance level degree and in social work that is a Masters degree so basically more bang for the buck. Only catch, I had to complete it in 48 months.
I met my current husband as I was finishing up my bachelors degree. He proposed on our 1st date. I told him hell no. A few weeks later he gave me his mother’s engagement ring and I punched him. Six months later we were married. Third time was definitely a charm and we have been married for 31 years this month. He was been my everything. My lover, my best friend, my confident, my sounding board but most of all my soulmate.
I became a social worker for a VA medical center as well as a social worker for entire hospital on weekends at a nearby city. We actually had the second busiest Emergency Dept in NYS, second only to Bellevue. I eventually had to stop the second job ( I ended up working what amounted to ¾ time on top of my full time job). My health was taking a hit and my doctor put his foot down: HARD. I kept my full time job for awhile longer. He was after me for a year and a half to medically retire. One day at work I
was having a rough day and called to see what was involved IF I decided to try. Next thing I know the Chief of Staff had a letter in his hand ( less than a half hour after I spoke to my doctor ) stating I was unfit for duty. I was blindsided. It ended up being my last day of work. The employee doctor had concurred and stated no one knew how I had worked for as long as I did. In case you hadn’t picked it up yet, I was not addicted to alcohol as many family members were I was a workaholic. I had my 1st retirement check
in four weeks with no extra exams needed. I went from being 50% service connected to 90%\100% due to unemployablity within six weeks, yes six weeks. Took me two years to figure out how bad I had to have been for everything to have gone through so fast.
I recently had two specialists and my Primary doctor all tell me they don’t know how I do what I do. For all intents and purpose I should be bedbound. According to my Primary I am not because of who I am. That I persevere and that I am stubborn. But there are so so many more reasons to how and why I am still me.
Stay tuned as I share my story, my outlook, my philosophy and my very sick and warped sense of humor.