For those in this the United States who read this blog, I hope that you had a lovely Memorial Day weekend.
My holiday was indeed special as I was working on Monday as an activity coordinator with memory care residents. It was a day filled with the usual schedule plus a time in which companions who were lost were remembered. One person from Assisted Living spoke to me of the 1000’s who were killed and his four days in the water waiting to be rescued. He was rescued, lived his life, and was sitting in a wheel chair at the receptionist’s desk wanting to tell his story.
Lest you think that it was all serious. There also was a delicious barbecue with ribs, chicken, and sausage. The luncheon feast ended with peach pie. Delicious!
My take away from my time with these residents as well as some in Assisted Living is the importance of their memories, their stories. If you have a chance to listen to a Veteran recount his or her war stories, I hope you will listen, look at their pictures and enjoy their reminiscing. I believe that it is necessary, and potentially healing to them, and possibly to ourselves as well. It doesn’t have to be Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, or Veteran’s Day. Any day will do to listen.
I have no proof of this but, my assumption is that we all share in a collective trauma, or traumas, of war. My grandparents and parents carried the often un-spoken experiences of World Wars I & II and then there was the Korean War and Vietnam, and conflicts since. As a person who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, I am an inheritor of these often unspoken memories of lives lived, and lives lost. How about you? I can only imagine that others can tell stories that are perhaps even more immediate. I believe that when we stop to listen to these memories, to give space to the unspoken, we may also give space to a moment of healing for them, for those they lost, and for ourselves.