War Veteran Vehicle Lisa Post-Project Interview

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Carla McManus: So Lisa, how did you hear about the War Veteran Vehicle Project?

Lisa: I knew about it because Rob was going through, and I got a phone call from yourself asking if I wanted to come down, give a different point of view from the family side and I said "yeah."

CM: Did you feel as if your role in the project would benefit you to get involved and share that experience with Rob?

L: At the time I just thought it was a load of baloney if I'm being honest, I did, and I found it so emotional I just couldn't handle my emotions, seeing my life, and Rob's life, being displayed on buildings and, you know that's odd but it's my life, you know.

CM: That was really difficult for you wasn't it? And you said that the other voices, you could relate to them?

L: I couldn't believe--it was like listening to Rob at the beginning, the middle, and ongoing, because I don't think it will be an end, you know, not that kind of end that anyone is going to get better from.

CM: And do you think it was an important dimension to the project to have your voice, the wife of an ex-soldier, involved in that project?

L: Yeah, there should have been a couple more, as well. I think that's what it was, as well, I felt an outsider because I was the only one there that was giving my side of the story. And that's only my side, it's not anybody else's, do you know what I mean? So it was a bit one-sided, you know what I mean?

CM: Do you think it would have benefited if there were more wives and families involved?

L: Yeah

CM: And the process itself, did you think it was good to go through with Rob, and do you feel that affected your relationship, then?

L: It did, I think it's helped both of us because I've got more of an understanding now and, as he said, he's got more of an understanding of how I was feeling. I only felt what Rob was feeling when he was having his bad days, but I know... not just the bad days, to focus on the bad days, but to put them behind, carry on with the good days.

CM: And during the recording sessions, how did you decide what you wanted to talk about? Was there anything in particular?

L: It just came out, talking to Steve, and I think I was ... as well, so a lot of it was to do with how I was feeling. Steve was there listening and I wanted to get my point across to Steve.

CM: I think a lot of what you maybe talked about was the lack of support that was available to Rob when he came back. What additional support do you think is needed?

L: I think families need a lot more. I feel quite isolated now because Robert's getting a lot more help. There's no thought at all for the family. You know what the family goes through when he goes away and they send him back? And he's just sent back to me, and I've got to cope with what mood Rob comes back in.

CM: And it really has much more of an effect on the families as well and there should be more support. Do you think it would be beneficial to have a project soley dedicated to the wives and the families?

L: Definitely. The only way I can think now is perhaps coming in for the lads and I don't know about the families that are going through these current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Well just a minute. The lads from Falklands, and all these other ones that took place twenty, fifteen, ten years ago, these are the ones with the problems now. So, these are going to be pushed aside to cope with the lads that are coming through. It's not helping anyone, really.

CM: And, do you think projects like this help raise awareness of these issues?

L: Yes

CM: And were there any problems with the project, or anything you think could have been done differently or improved upon?

L: I think what was annoying me most was it was treated as art, but from my point of view, although I was doing it as art, at the end of the project I felt like it was my life being displayed and I couldn't cope with that. I just didn't know how to cope with seeing it in front of me. And I think that's what it was.

CM: Do you think more support? During the projections? Do you think that was the most emotional part, during the projections?

L: Yes. Especially, night after night. It was like a pounding, and it just kept going on and on and it was like I can't wait to leave now, I want to go home and forget about this, now. I've got to put it behind, but we couldn't until the last night. It was good to see Rob, for me it was draining.

CM: And would you say one of the successes of the project was seeing how Rob developed and how your relationship developed?

L: Yeah, definitely, it was. You know, the way, like I've never seen that side of Rob anyway. But it was more like the Rob I new before the PTSD took hold. So it was nice to see that, but at the same time I was worried in case it was going a bit manic with him. And I was waiting for the come-down, and it still hasn't happened yet.

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Last modified: Thu Feb 18 22:55:46 EST 2010