HARTFORD, Conn. — Twice a day, Koen Hughes’s medicine alarm beeps and sputters. He yells out across the kitchen to his father, retired Army Staff Sgt. Jonah Hughes, an Iraq war veteran, who suffers from such a severe brain injury that it’s hard for him to remember things like whether he showered, and sometimes how to shower.
Koen is always there, reminding him to take his anti-seizure pills, nervously double-checking his medicine box and squinting as he monitors his father’s behavior.
Koen is 10.
“Daaad! Your medicine!” pants a frantic Koen, who has a mop of light-brown hair and loves geography, Legos and Indiana Jones.
His burly 38-year-old father wears a black Wounded Warriors T-shirt and pocket pants, and speaks slowly, softly, searching for words his brain has lost.
“Got it,” he answers.
He’s what Koen calls a “wounded parent.” And, the boy says, lowering his blue eyes to the ground, “It’s different than having other kinds of parents.”