"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vietnam Vets, Speak Out

I've written before about a group I belong to on LinkedIn.  It's appropriately called Vietnam Veterans.  There are some wonderful people there and a lot of interesting articles have been posted, which help me very much.

The other day I posted a link in the group to a couple of articles I wrote for Veterans Watchdog.   I hoped that possibly, by sharing my articles about losing my husband, Douglas Kempf, in Vietnam, it would help others to also write about their own experiences.  It is my belief and my experience that by writing about it, it brings a cleansing and an eventual healing.

Today, one of the veterans from the group posted a heartfelt comment on my post at LinkedIn.  It underscores everything all Vietnam veterans share and hold inside, even now, nearly half a century later.  I would like to share that exchange with you today between myself and a friend from LinkedIn's Vietnam Veterans Group, Lenny Yanchar.

Lenny:  As a Nam vet who has kept quiet for the most part, and who took five years of going to the wall before he could make it all the way down, I for one, believe (because my grandson keeps asking).  We need to share what we remember so no one has to go through what some of us did. I thank God that Americans, in general, are supporting our vets of today, even if they are against the war, (except for a few, who I stay away from because of a fear of what I might say or do).

As far as family, even some of us who came back hurt them and they carried the scars of the war and some of us did not understand until it was too late.  CJ please keep posting because if it helps you, it helps all of us.

My reply: Thank you, Lenny, for responding.

Writing articles for online Veteran sites and my own blog, Memoirs From Nam, has helped me deal with the pain of losing Doug in Vietnam -- they're feelings that have been buried for nearly fifty years and, each time I take a memory and write about it, it brings it out into the light where I have to face it and can begin to heal.

I wish more veterans could and would write about their experiences -- I can't begin to express how much it helps to write it all down. I don't know, it's cleansing somehow, facing it, feeling it, and then to see it through your own words. If I had a penny for every tear I first shed writing about it, there would be an awesome high pile -- and then if I had another penny for the tears I shed after reading what I wrote, I can count on one hand those pennies from new tears.

Once again, I invite everyone here to write something, anything -- just one memory, or one experience about your time in Nam. Submit it to me for Memoirs From Nam. Please. It would be such an honor for me to post it and it would help you immeasurably. Trust me, I know it's hard to write about pain. Think of the number of fellow veterans you would be helping to heal, as well, when they read and relate to your words.

Welcome Home.
My warmest regards and respect,
CJ Parrish (Kempf) Heck

Memoirs from Nam:

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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1 comment:

  1. I'm looking for someone his name is Frederick D. Bersey, he is the father of my son who passed away on his birthday. I am looking for him on behalf of my son who would have loved to have known his father, I would like to share with him how wonderful his son was. This may hurt, but, I need closure also.


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