IMAGINE Magazine-Spring2016 - Page 12

their service, even if it is decades old. And for Prolonged Exposure Therapy, they must tell their two worst experiences. After scanning wartime memories and selecting two experiences, my husband became more depressed. Thankfully, he participated in 10 weeks of the VA-offered therapy. Frankly, there were only temporary shifts in behavior during the course of therapy. It did not provide any lasting benefits to assuage difficult behaviors triggered later in civilian and family life. Thirdly, every time there are reports on the numbers of suicides among veterans—some say up to 22 a day—our family was impacted. Each time we have gone to war since Viet Nam, as well as 9/11, were triggers that provoked unintentional negative actions or reactions. Fourthly, later stages of life may touch off a veteran’s despair, guilt, shame and anger. Who then assists veterans and families throughout these times that may also trigger deeper wounds in the spouse, if they have one? I assert that this population of veterans, first responders and their families is a large population. This is especially so in Arizona due to renowned veteran services, an older demographic, and climate. We need to expand our resources for veterans and families. We must compassionately revise the process to enter into the VA system. We need to have therapies that address and pacify symptoms of PTSD beyond the traditional modalities that do not always tackle the source of the trauma itself. We must create a platform or forum for veterans, first responders, those trained to kill, and their spouses 12 IMAGINE l SPRING 2016 and partners to speak up and begin to truly heal. And lastly, if we can break the cancerous code of silence that surrounds a traumatized service person’s career and harms our families and our communities, we can come to a greater sense of empathy and compassion for those gravely impacted by their selfless service to our nation. HEALING OF MEMORIES A s one of the participants in the first Healing of Memories for Spouses of Veterans in October, 2015, I wrote a poem on the final day of the workshop. Three participants joined me to read it, musically supported by India Aire’s “I am Light.” Although I have participated in and led hundreds of transformational workshops in over 30 years, I was deeply impacted by the power of this workshop to touch and heal my own deep wounds and connect me with those fellow spouses who were given voice, were heard, and took an important step toward healing. Ode for Fellow Spouses of Veterans We have travelled this dark lonely journey of hurts, pain, disease and even terror. We muster Courage in the face of Agony, Faith in the face of Despair, Honor in the f XHو]^X[ [][[[HXHو[\ۙ\˂K\\و\[Y\[ܜ\HHYH\[ܜوH[X[X\ H\H[\[\\X]H”YY[H\\[ۋ\H[YH\XK]\HH\^KH]KHX\[\HZ\ܘKH]HX[و[]\[[P\K]\XX[HX\و\[[][[ۋ[]\X\ۈو\[[[ݙKX[\]HX[[%Y[[%[[H[[]HH]H[\Y H\HH\\\܈HUSH\HHYH\\\܈HTSH\HH[\HX\܈TTS•HY\\[ۛH[X] ][STS“\][H[X[\XXY[YKBHX\\]HX]\ؙ\ MK MB