I’ve been reflecting on the importance of telling our stories, as combat veterans wives (or in my case, an ex-wife.)
There is nothing like the feeling of being in “Sisterhood” with other wives and loved ones who have had similar experiences. There also is nothing to compare to being recognized by other combat vets, for the sacrifices WE may have made.
Back in the early 90’s, I self-published a book of poems, (plus a short story) about my life as a Vietnam veteran’s wife. I was in college at the time (after our divorce) and had taken a Creative Writing class.
While in that class, at the beginning, I was totally unaware of what was coming. Shortly into the class, I wrote my first poem about the impact Vietnam had had on MY life. It was as if a dam had broken, and a flood of anger and heartbreak broke out from my soul.
It was hard to “lay myself bare” in front of strangers. Yet there was no stopping once my heartache had been released. And I was amazed by the reaction of my professor and fellow students, all of whom were much younger than myself.
They seemed “hungry” for what I had to offer, and as a result I felt validated in my sharing my “traumatic memories.” This led to my being recognized as a “poet with promise” and I did my first public reading. Again I felt “validated” by the applause from more students and high members of the faculty and administration.
It was much later that I had written enough poems to put together “a collection.” I looked for ways to market my book, and through those efforts, I heard of a Vietnam veteran named Bert Carson, who did motivational speaking.
I attended one of his speeches where he spoke of his experiences in Vietnam, plus the aftermath. At the end of his speech, he said “I want to acknowledge all the combat veterans wives or sweethearts who our in our audience. Would you please stand up?”
I’ll go into this subject more on my next post. Stay tuned.