Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

I went to a reading last night held at Bates College by Brian Turner, award winning poet and veteran of the Iraq war. (He’ll be at the Lewiston public library tonight for those of you who live in the Lewiston/Auburn area.) After the reading someone asked him a question about healing and his response was one that I plan on mulling over for some time. He suggested that perhaps the appropriate goal of veterans (trauma victim/survivor?) is not to heal from their wounds but rather to learn to integrate them into the rest of their lives. From a narrative therapy perspective, I wonder if he meant that the wounds of war must be woven into the larger story of the veteran’s life, and while certainly a defining chapter in the overall narrative, must not become THE ENTIRE STORY.

I was moved by his poetry, and when I returned home I couldn’t put his book, “Here, Bullet” down. I read it from beginning to end and didn’t sleep until night had given way to the fledgling hours of morning. I was revisited once again by the jagged and shattering stories shared with me by the veterans with whom I’ve worked over the years, the haunting beckoned this time by the horror and heartbreak of war transformed into poetry.

I found a quote in an old journal entry by veteran, Timothy Kudo, who wrote, “ I thought my war was over, but it followed me. It followed all of us. We returned only to find that it was waiting here the entire time and will always be with us. “ And I acknowledged then that in some ways, the war will never end for me either, for any of those of us who have served as inadequate and yet fully present witnesses. I honor in my heart and in my own tortured memory – the boy, the girl, the wounded warrior and the poet that lives on in each and every one of them….

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