by John DiCiacco – Guest Blog (John is a veteran & brother who helps make a difference)
I can’t speak for every person who reads your blogs, but I can and will say this, I have missed not reading them. The only thing that ever depressed me was the first paragraph in your latest blog. You always come up with something that touches someone, whether it be thought provoking or light hearted.
Your words always mean something to someone. Blogs can and should present different topics and when folks consider one to be difficult to read, then they can choose not to read it. But don’t just complain to the author, because life isn’t always a bowl of cherries.
As we all know, you can’t be everything to everyone so don’t try. But please don’t stop writing your blogs. Take it from this Veteran, I have never read a single one of your blogs that made me feel depressed. You write about reality, especially meaningful to veterans and families who suffer from the wounds of war.
I know that some times during any given month you have your own personal traumatic experiences that make life a little difficult and so you do your best to just survive. Just like the Veterans whom read your blogs. When moments arrive that you can’t seem to come up with something to talk about, I can assure you that I do. Or have a Request Button on Note asking the readers if they have something that they would like to talk about through you.
Oh, by the way, your ticket into Heaven has already been secured. Your Ancestors and Guardian Spirits have made sure of that.
As you know, I spent two tours in the Nam and Holiday’s are still very hard for me. Too many Ghosts and way too much guilt for one man to carry. The haunting reality for many Combat Veterans is the same unhealthy thought pattern we carry and wear on our chests like a sort of Medal. That thought is this and I quote: “Why in the hell am I here and not so and so”, or “I don’t have the right to celebrate or be happy when so many of my Brothers will never be here.” Most Veteran’s never come right out and say these things but the thoughts are real and they and their fallen Comrades are there as well.
Of course, in my efforts to be jolly I would have to self medicate and numb the pain just to get through the ordeal. Afterword the Guilt followed by the shame for drinking was much worse.
I don’t know how I got on all of this but I better stop.
You can blog me anytime you want.
Filed Under American Patriotism, Bless Our Troops, Chrisrmas, Christmas, Family, Healing, Holiday Season, Holidays, Journey, PTSD, Tears of a Warrior, Veterans, War | Comments Off on Having a Happy Holiday
by Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D
It has been several months since I wrote the last blog. Honestly, I chalk it up to lack of motivation and simply feeling I had little else to say that would be worth anyone taking the time to read. Some individuals even commented on how many of the past blogs were a bit depressing. No kidding! Many of these individuals may have never had the combat experience or served in the military. It is difficult to understand something that has not been experienced. Humor at times can be difficult, especially during the holidays when you live with a person suffering with Post Trauma Stress. The experience is so not funny.
Yelling at those who don’t seem to appreciate or understand this type of suffering would definitely be something I’d have to mention in my next visit to church and confession. Just hope it might be a different priest who won’t say something like…. “Well, seems like you haven’t made much progress in this area”.
At this point my entry into heaven would be further compromised. At the very least I would be on Santa’s naughty list.
So, why am I writing a new blog now? Because it is Christmas. My favorite holiday (along with Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day…). Really, I love the smell of the season, the food, the lights in and outside of homes, carols, and the various displays around town. Unfortunately, as much as I love Christmas, I am reminded of how many of our veterans find this particular time of year a huge challenge. Christmas may be an unpleasant reminder of all that was lost – those who never returned home and those still serving in harm’s way far from home. Depression, anger, feeling alone and removed could be emotions that have to be dealt with once again. It is hard to be jolly or even be around those who are jolly when you are fighting to just keep your head above the waters of Merriment.
Tonight Tony was talking on the phone with a friend and veteran who was facing another season of cheer and trying to simply get through it and keeping his emotions/temper in check. During the conversation Tony mentioned that it was this time of year when he was in Vietnam and severely wounded. He lost many of his men during a horrendous battle and later spent months in various military hospitals trying to heal from his injuries. All these decades later it is not the physical wounds that test him the most. It is the emotional aches that make the holiday season taxing. Instead of all the Ho, Ho, Ho,….. I know that certain days he wants to scream, No, No, No More!!!
For years I had no idea of what he faced or continued to face. My delight during this time of year only exacerbated his loss thus causing more than one argument. Now that we both know better, we finally do better. I try to be a bit calmer in front of him, and he tries to take better care of his emotional needs by having more quiet time, going on long walks or taking Bailey pheasant hunting. And both of us focus on counting our blessings.
We’ll be darned if we let the PTS Grinch steal Christmas ever again.
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Tony & Janet Seahorn
by Tony & Janet Seahorn
The story of Gail Halvorsen, a young pilot in the US Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, in which US forces flew much-needed supplies into a Soviet-blockaded Berlin.
On his missions, he dropped candy to children and became known as the Candy Bomber.
Filed Under American Patriotism, Bless Our Troops, Chrisrmas, Christmas, Combat PTSD, Dream, Holiday Season, Holidays, Tears of a Warrior, Tears of Joy | Comments Off on YES, MY DEAR VETERAN, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS
by Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D
“Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.”
Francis P. Church
At this time of year it may be hard for many to believe in much of anything, not to mention a person named Santa Claus. Nevertheless, I still love the story of how the letter, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” came to be. It was written way back in 1897 by a man named Francis Church. Mr. Church was an editor of the Sun newspaper and when receiving a letter from a small girl by the name of Virginia O’Hanlon asking if there was a Santa Claus he wrote his now famous letter. You see, Virginia’s father told her if something appeared in the Sun it must be true. Golly, how times have changed. At any rate, I still find his response to the small Virginia a reminder how important it is to believe in the kinder, sweeter things in life. How miracles surround us every single day, but in our despair we may only be able to see the cruel, bitter, and oftentimes heartbreaking fragments of the moment. Perhaps reading Mr. Church’s famous letter might remind us all of what is really important during this holiday season. His words are as enduring now as they were way back in 1897.
The answer as published in the New York Sun was:
Virginia, your little friends are wrong.
They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
If you are finding yourself in the Grinch mode, read Virginia’s letter and think about whatever is good, precious, or beautiful in your life and choose to believe.
by Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D
Ok, its official, I’m in love with Hope. Always have been. Don’t know why. It defies logic most of the time. When days are good this is an easy task to be in love with Hope. When things are tanking in the toilet being in love with Hope isn’t so simple. For any individual who has experienced loss, trauma, or any of life’s emotional challenges, Hope may be the only thing that serves as one’s raft in a storm. Without Hope it can be impossible to manage getting through the present minute let alone waking up to another tomorrow. Hope is the ingredient that provides emotional as well as a sense of physical safety.
You may ask what gear can we put in our life rafts that may help us sustain our journey with Hope. For a start – include at least one person who believes in us. One person who will stand with us during joyful and difficult times. One person who can demonstrate we are loved and worthwhile. To have that one person be part of our crew we must also be that person for another human being. Taking without giving does nothing to encourage or grow Hope. Another piece of gear is simple giving yourself permission to step back and take time to let go of some of your stressors. Give them up to a higher source or put them in writing and then throw it in the trash. One last, essential item in your boat must be joy. Be willing to search out a bit of joy each day, and be optimistic that a tiny bit of joy will be waiting for you the next.
For me, Hope is the one thing that gives a deeper purpose and meaning to life. In spite of the horrors of combat, warriors (and their families) seem to truly understand such a concept. Being stripped of personal well-being, observing others injured and killed sometimes leaves you with only one thing, and that is the capacity to perceive that our existence has a purpose greater beyond our immediate understanding. This is HOPE in action. Hope that boosts our resilience. Hope that enhances our emotional muscles and Hope that gives us a vision for a better tomorrow.
Whatever our pain, however stressful our lives might be right now, we cannot let these things take up ALL of our time. We must leave some room for laughter, for pleasure, and for joy. Hope can live within us even in what can be the most desperate of times.
So here is my Holiday wish for you,
May you be filled with the power of Hope and what can be — Be in Love with Hope.
by Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D
It is time to begin a new Holiday Season. Dang, some stores started playing their carols, displaying Christmas ornaments, and advertising the grandness of spending oneself into shopping debt even before Halloween! I truly expected someone dressed as a reindeer or elf to ring my doorbell for trick or treat.
Now, don’t get me wrong I love Christmas. Really! It is my favorite holiday. Almost everything about it is a special time filled with amazing sights, fragrant smells of evergreen trees, bells, carols, and my list goes on and on. I even enjoy buying a few gifts for family and friends, and I make sure that Tony NEVER accompanies me on these shopping excursions. The Grinch is one of his Christmas heroes which, as you can imagine, puts a huge damper on my jolly shopping expeditions.
Therefore, as we begin this new 2011 Holiday Season, I thought I would put down a few ideas of how to survive the coming days.
- Begin your new Weight Watchers diet. Watch others eat less and lose while you wait and enjoy every morsel of goodies you can grab. As military veterans, you had far too many C-Rations or MREs to endure food rations now.
- Don’t start off on the wrong foot at Thanksgiving, give away leftover turkey and celery to guests, but keep the pumpkin pie at all cost.
- If you have to ask for seconds, you are already sitting at the wrong table.
- If you are the wife of an anti-shopping Grinch, pray for them daily. We’re still a month until Christmas. You can even offer to share your Prozac if they become overly anxious during this joyous (hectic) time of year.
- If you are the Grinch, breath deep, meditate, and appreciate that the Holiday season only comes once a year, even if it seems to be coming earlier each year.
- And, last, if you are worried about excessive shopping and overspending, the banks don’t seem to care if anyone follows a budget anymore, so I’m sure they will extend your credit for say, the next thirty years.
Seriously, I definitely understand the challenges of trying to negotiate the many pitfalls and stimulations of the Holidays and not just for veterans. For many, it is never an easy time of year, which is the reason why I decided to begin this season’s blog with a bit of humor. Some of us are going to need to store up as much hilarity as possible if we are to survive the absurdity ahead.
You see, I am really, really, really trying to stay on Santa’s “Nice” list.