“Don’t Give Up”: A Veteran’s Wife, Ex-Wife, and Current Girlfriend Discusses Dealing With Post Traumatic Stress

Abby Bryant


Abby Bryant was born in Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania, in June 1951. Her father, who worked on the railroad, died when she was seven, and her mother raised four girls on her own. As a girl, she enjoyed riding bikes, crafts, and sewing, and was involved in her church group. Following high school she attended Williamsport Area Community College starting in 1969, becoming the first woman to graduate with a Mechanical Drafting degree. She remembers the night she met Leland Bryant (who had returned from Vietnam), noting that he was quiet and good-looking. They ended up living together for over 6 years. She got a job in Harrisburg as a draftsman and Lee eventually became a Pennsylvania state certified welder with a two-year degree from Williamsport Area Community College. Lee eventually rejoined the Army because he struggled with being a civilian, and he and Abby were married so she could be stationed with him (they were married for about 29 years, although they were separated part of that time). Their relationship suffered from Lee’s Post Traumatic Stress, but he was in denial that he was experiencing it. Abby overlooked a lot of his issues because she loved him. They had two daughters, one born at Ft. Stewart and one born in Hawaii. Lee got out of the Army and they moved to Florida. Abby got a job to support the family and Lee stayed home to raise the girls. Eventually, Lee went back to work as well. By this point they were experiencing relationship problems, and one incident escalated to the point that Abby took the girls to a shelter while Lee was arrested. The court mandated that Lee receive counseling. Lee refused to talk about the underlying issues. Part of the problem was that he had blocked out a lot of the memories, but now attending reunions is helping him recall events. The counseling was not helping, and he and Abby separated and divorced. They were divorced about 30 years, but have recently reconnected. Abby credits Paul Gregg with getting Lee to attend reunions (which is a big part of his recovery) and suggesting that Lee needed help. The only reason Lee and Abby are back together is because Lee is finally receiving counseling. Abby states that “wives don’t get enough credit or help” for dealing with veteran spouses who are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress. At the end of the interview, Abby returns to add some additional thoughts for the spouses. She recalls the hell that the spouses go through and how they suffer alongside their veterans. She urges others not to give up, encouraging them to work hard with their veteran, actively participate in the recovery process, and seek help for themselves if necessary.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics PTSD Injuries Life After Military Military Family
interviewer David Siry
date 11 June 2023


name Abby Bryant
specialty Army Spouse