I would like to honor today, those who have served, do serve, and those who have fallen to protect our nation and other nations. No one wants war. But here we are in the midst of it. These wars seem to span quite a range of dates, and those who serve and their families are the ones most affected. Either PTSD is more common now, or it was under-reported in the past, unclassified. There is evidence of it going back to WWII, but it was called “Shell shock” back then. My grandfather on my dad’s side fought in WWII. What I remember of him was a man who seemed to wander around caught up in his own little world, detached from reality. He would hum and sing songs from a time period long ago. He lived in the past. But I remember, the one time that he was truly lucid…he gave me advice because I was having trouble sleeping (a life long ailment). He told me to think of the things that made me happy, positive thoughts, and sleep would come. I will never forget that. We no longer house his dress uniform, we gave it to my Uncle so that he could have a turn to have it in his house. It will always be very precious to me no matter which of my Aunts and Uncles have it.
He met my grandmother post WWII in Germany, during the occupation. She lived in a castle that had been made into apartments. They had trouble getting bread. Well my grandfather, smitten with this woman, bought her family bread and delivered it to her home personally. At some point he fell in love, even though he was Jewish and she was German. The family was outraged. They couldn’t believe that he would bring a German wife home. Some of them disowned him. I can’t blame them, quite a few of my Jewish relatives had ended up in Concentration Camps. I saw the branding on a few of them when I was younger and attending a Bar Mitzvah. Many of these relatives are now passing from old age.
I have tried dating soldiers, but in the end, I just can’t cut it. It’s a lifestyle that is very challenging, demanding and oftentimes lonely. I have dated a female soldier and our relationship fell apart due to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The stress of keeping such a relationship secret was too much for her to bear. This was before it was repealed. The others were men and I truly admire them, even though our relationships didn’t work out. Both have gone to Afghanistan and I pray they are well. But I fear they won’t be the same again.
To me, war isn’t worth the cost of lives that we lose. Lives to death and violence, and lives lost to trauma, PTSD, depression and guilt. Our soldiers are bringing the war home in their minds and will always be haunted by it. I think, the least I can do, is become a counselor or therapist to soldiers and their families. It’s my way of giving back. And while I can’t do this now, I will be able to in the future.