Archive for September, 2010


David, my seventeen year old, came downstairs for breakfast this morning, and asked what was going on, why was he hearing sirens in the distance.  “Sirens?’ Burke and I asked.  “Yes, sirens—like when there’s an attack,” he said.

We walked outside and heard the kind of siren that crests, subsides, crests again, over and over, the kind that made me remember the drills we had done in grade school to practice for the event of a nuclear attack.

Burke logged on to the CNN website, where we learned that someone had opened fire at the University of Texas library, had killed himself, and that a second shooter was suspected of still being on the loose.   The university was in lockdown.

I could not allow myself to register these facts.  Any fear or anxiety I revealed would trigger alarm in David, alarm that would reverberate for days, if not weeks.

I drove the long way to his school, so we would come nowhere near the university.  But on the way back home, I drove closer to the university and saw helicopters circling round and round the campus, the sirens still wailing.  They would continue for over another hour.

Only later in the morning, when I talked on the phone to my older son Ray, who is attending a college in Chicago, about what he had heard from his friends at UT, did my feelings emerge.  I am still having difficulty finding words for my feelings.  Terror immediately comes to mind, but no, I tell myself, that’s too strong a word.

But no other word approaches what I felt and feel.

Terror when Ray reports that his good and dear friend was on her bicycle, heading to the very block of the library, when an acquaintance saw her and told her what was going on. Terror at knowing how thin a line there was between the outcome of no one being shot besides the shooter, and a tragedy like what befell the students of Virginia Tech three years ago.

Terror at being forced to acknowledge that there is no protecting our children.

I am sitting on a plane on my way to a conference in Pittsburgh.  In the Austin airport, all the televisions showed images of the library, of the police cars, the street empty of students.  The reporters said that the coast was clear, there no longer being an indication of a second shooter.  Yet classes were cancelled for the rest of the day.

Ray’s friend told him, “How can I go back to class now?  How can I feel safe again?”

Veterans suffering from PTSD face this truth every day, every second of their lives that the rest of manage to block out:  we are all vulnerable, exposed, at risk—always.

What matters is how we respond to this basic aspect of life, a fact that our technology and politics seem to exacerbate even as they cloak it.

On the plane, I happened to read these words of Ann Patchett:  “I think we have lived for a very, very long time in this beautiful country, in a beautiful life, and it’s made us quite lazycertainly to the extent that we can barely remember we are at war because we don’t have to give anything up, at any moment in our life.  We have no seeming responsibility to a larger whole.”

At times like this morning, one truth emerged with crystal clarity:  We are all mortal. Random violence can strike any of us. We cannot keep our children safe.  But we can decrease, rather than increase, the possibilities of such violence if we live out of humane connection to our larger society rather than to just our immediate circle of friends and family.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog

In the last year I have had the great fortune of getting to know other children of veterans.  Their friendships have given me many gifts:

-companionship that has ended a sense of isolation I carried ever since my early childhood.  For most of my life I felt alone with my trauma, with my deeply broken family and immense emotional pain.  But with other children of veterans, there is immediate understanding and recognition; there is community;

-a deepening of my own understanding of trauma’s dynamic within a family;

-a enthusiastic spurring on and renewing our commitment to doing what we can to help families of returning veterans, to sharing what we lave learned;

-and the opportunities of remembering the intrinsic cruelty of trauma.

That cruelty is that we pass along our trauma to the people we most want to protect: our children.  If we remain in the tenacious grip of the trauma, we cannot see we are passing along the consequences of anxiety and depression because we cannot even see that we are traumatized.  Perhaps the hardest step for a traumatized person to take is to recognize that they are traumatized, that they need help, that being “strong” and shutting out all emotions takes one in the opposite direction from healing.

Why is recognizing our trauma so hard?  Because who wants to recognize that their spirit is profoundly damaged?  Every day it seems new research confirms that trauma damages us on a cellular level, on a genetic level.  Who can accept such knowledge gracefully?

But we must accept it, because if we don’t, we become the unwitting vehicle of transmitting the damage to our children.  We model passivity, negativity, defeatism, depression rather than optimism, renewal, courage, confidence, and transformation.

Which brings me to another gift fellow children of veterans have given me: the gift of empathy, the reminder that holding empathy for others is essential.  We must take great care never to judge, never to convey a sense of blame, always to reassure victims of trauma that any damage that resulted from their wounds was not their doing. We must keep our hearts open wide and remember that in healing our own spirits, we can move our society closer to accepting its responsibility towards our veterans.

The Multigenerational Ripple of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Category : Uncategorized | Blog

Category : Uncategorized | Blog

As thousands of troops return from Iraq, let us remember that for their families, the war is from over.  As the joy of homecoming gives way to daily routines, horrible memories surface, bringing depression, rage and isolation with them.

We must all  urge the government and the VA to provide essential resources to all family members of the troops.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی گن لاغری شکم بند لاغری تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ بوی دهان بوی بد دهان