My journey of healing is truly a life-long work in progress that has provided a peace of mind never before achieved. My life transformed after publishing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story in November 2011. I no longer have anger or hate in my heart from growing up in profoundly dysfunctional family circumstances.
Like tens of thousands of families living in the post WWII and Korean War era, we lived without any awareness of the painful outcomes resulting from exposure to traumatic experiences from wars, domestic violence, child abuse, maltreatment, and alcohol self medication. My family was fractured over 7 decades, consumed with the challenges of post trauma stress symptoms that replaced the gift of love with the pain of anger and hate. In our military family life, the wars of our father never ended when he came home from years of hard combat. The “battle stations” experiences of his deeply held emotional struggles came home to the dinner table. My mother was scared and numb from this exposure as well. We children feared going home from school or play with friends. Our family life was profoundly dysfunctional, especially during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
I now have a completely different perspective of a most challenging childhood circumstance and experience. I see my parents as doing the best they could do with what was available in their parental toolkit during this difficult time in the lives of so many who returned from extended deployments in hard combat during WWII. We did not have a trauma informed society back then…just the opposite. Sailors and soldiers were told to go home when the war was over and forget about it, never talk about the horrific experiences, battle buddies who were left behind, death and carnage almost daily for months and even years at a time. But the severe emotional pain became bottled up in the heart and soul of these hardened combat veterans. The pain did rear its ugly head at dinner tables all over America for decades, including the post Vietnam War era, until we started learning about severe trauma’s long term affects on the children and families of sufferers.
For those of us lucky enough to find a path of healing and recovery from the damage of severe traumatic experiences, it is possible to achieve peace of mind. It is possible to learn how to love yourself and others. Forgiveness seems like a gift rather than giving in Being vulnerable is not only okay, it is a healthy disposition in our daily lives.
I think about Mom and Dad with love in my heart and a healing soul… I could not have felt or said this a short 7 years ago. I feel blessed and at peace, living with joy and love for family and friends. My journey of healing continues each day with the good work of public service in Lincoln County Oregon, being mindful of living in the moment, and appreciating the blessings each day offers.