Harmony Through Caregiving: Finding the Balance and Blend

Stacey Shade-Ware smiling at the camera
BrainLine Director Stacey Shade-Ware blogs about life as a veteran caregiver

My name is Stacey Shade-Ware, director of BrainLine, veteran caregiver, mother, daughter, and soprano with the American Military Spouses Choir (AMSC). My husband, Russ, proudly served in the United States Air Force for nearly 25 years. In that time, he deployed more than he’d care to recount, receiving both physical and emotional wounds. We married in 2006, just in time for him to be sent overseas again. Retiring from the military triggered something in him and now we take life one day at a time.

Here I will share what works for us – and what doesn’t. What life is like for those who live with those who served. I will be honest about what keeps us going and what is overwhelming. I hope to share a little hope and reminder that you are not alone on your journey of healing. You may have heard, “It’s okay to not be okay.” Well, that goes for caregivers too.

I live near Washington D.C. with my husband, our two daughters, my parents, two dogs, and our rescued ten-foot boa constrictor named Bubbles. I am also an avid crafter and enjoy baking and sewing… when I can find the time. Learn more about Stacey >

The Latest from Stacey

Suicide Is Not a Bad Word … Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Suicidal Ideation

A yard sign reading "Your Life Matters" with a teal and purple Suicide Prevention ribbon

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. If you are military-connected then you know the 22-veterans-a-day average. You’ve seen the blue ribbons plastered everywhere on base/post. If you are a veteran or caregiver, you’ve seen similar posters at the VA. You’ve probably gone to an annual suicide prevention training or two. You know the signs, you know what to look for and what to do if you are worried about someone’s safety. But nothing can truly prepare you for when it happens.

Self-Care Through Singing: Trauma, Resilience, and Representation in Musicals

Stacey Shade-Ware smiles at the camera with music stands, a microphone, and others in the background

I will admit when I first watched Encanto I was not terribly impressed, though the songs in Miranda’s signature style are quite catchy. I have two little girls, 3 and 5, and for those of you with children or grandchildren, you know that they must watch something like Encanto again and again and again. So, suffice it to say, I had the opportunity to really listen and pay attention to the story more than once.

New Year! New Me? Ha! Not with PTSD

Russ Ware (left) and Grandpa Russ Ware (right) in an antique car museum

In the past, Russ and I would celebrate across oceans and time zones, sometimes a half hour off. Yes, really. Afghanistan is nine-and-a-half hours ahead of the east coast, 10-and-a-half from Texas. It was wild trying to sync up schedules but I would never turn down a 3AM-my-time video chat. I am grateful we don’t have to contend with that any longer. But Russ being home hasn’t made the transition from 2021 to 2022 any easier.