I am finishing the writing for Volume 3 of my Stories from the World War II Battlefield series on writing the stories of war. This book will be released in two versions in May, and contains over 500 writing prompts to help you write the stories of war, from a U.S. or European perspective.
When I was creating the writing prompts, I spent an entire day thinking, writing, and crying, over a subject I was not sure if I should include. The trauma of war.
Today I am thinking about my grandfather, who was born this day, 17 March 1906 in Chicago.
My grandfather, Joseph Holik, served in the US Naval Armed Guard for almost two years, 1943 – 1945. In July 1945, he was removed from his ship and sent to a Naval Hospital in California for treatment. His mind was not what it should have been and Grandpa Joe ended up living the rest of his life in the VA Hospital. My grandmother essentially became a single mother when he went to war, with three boys under 12 at home. When I started researching and writing the stories of my family, this is one story I was not ready to touch. The last few years, being a single mother myself, really brought the story closer and I could see similarities between me and my grandmother.
My grandfather’s story has been too painful for me to really get close to until this year. I never knew my grandfather. I only heard whispered stories about his service and his life. Each story was different and even my grandma didn’t tell me much while she was alive and I was asking questions.
Have you every stopped to consider the words we speak, and those we do not, affect us, our families, descendants, and everyone else they might touch?
Have you ever thought how the trauma of war filters down through the generations and affects those of us who were not even alive during the war?
This is the first in a series of articles I will write about the Trauma of War and how it affected me, my family, possibly my kids, and how we can heal. The idea has been swimming in my head for a while, but it wasn’t until I started reading the book, Gated Grief by Leila Levinson, that it really pushed me to the edge of, ‘Now is the time to start really dealing with and sharing this.’
For now, I encourage you to think about the questions I posed in this article. Feel free to share how your family spoke of, or did not, the war and the effects on the soldier and family.
© 2016, Jennifer Holik