"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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

To All My Veteran Friends

On April 3, I put an article on the blog with the title, "Do You Still Think About Vietnam?"  

It was an excellent article, by a Vietnam Veteran, who shared his thoughts and feelings about how and why he cannot NOT still think about Vietnam.

He did not put his name on the article, preferring to remain anonymous, but he should feel proud, because it became immediately obvious that his article touched on something important which was universal among all Vietnam Veterans: Yes, they do still think about Vietnam.  

I'm only sorry I can't thank the veteran for his article.  The feelings and memories it evoked have been overwhelming, not only for those in every group where it was posted on Facebook and LinkedIn, but for me, as well.

To All My Veteran Friends:

I want to thank you, all of you, for your honesty and for openly sharing your thoughts and feelings about the Vietnam War.  I expected to hear that you do still think about Vietnam, just like our anonymous veteran.  What I wasn't expecting was how deeply everything you had to say would also touch me.

Every time I read something one of you shared, without your knowing it, you helped me face many things I have also buried since 1969. 

Through reading about your experiences and your loss, I have felt your anguish, because it also touched those things that I had buried and brought them to the surface. Often, it was sudden, like a body slam and it was frightening. Other times, it was a gentle pull, like a whisper and I cried.

But I'm learning. I know that to heal, that's exactly what I need to do more of.

Pain is pain. It doesn't matter who owns it, or from which direction it comes, or how it got there. Pain is pain, it hurts like bloody hell, and we want to avoid it, because we're afrait it will consume us. But stuffing it brings even worse pain, the kind that can haunt forever, through nightmares or flashbacks.

You have helped me see that we are not our fear, nor are we the pain. They do not own us. And, we are not separate.  We are whole, we are good, and above all else ... we are human.

I've found that healing begins with the realization that the horror, loss, or even the guilt of still being alive -- are all significant and defining moments in our lives. They couldn't help but change us.  We are who we are because of those defining moments and that can bring acceptance.

Every time one of us shares something, we are all facing it together -- and we are honoring the men, like my husband, and the women on The Wall, the fallen heroes who can never share their stories.  Through sharing, we give them a voice ...

I just needed you to know how very much you have helped me. So, once again, I thank you.  My only hope is that I have in some way also helped you.

I am here for you ...

With my deepest respect and admiration, I remain ...
your friend,

“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

1 comment:

  1. The definitive answer to "when were you there?" is "last night", then I was reminded that "this morning" as well. It is our shadow, daily, even if the sun is not shining.


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