Many of us carry the remnants of our ancestors’ war traumas and don’t even know it. The traumas, energies, behaviors, and patterns may show up in very decontextualized ways through triggers, relationships, or experiences. Sometimes through unexplained and irrational (to us) fears. Perhaps you have a fear of being on a ship or large bodies of water and can’t explain why.
What if you could learn more about your ancestor’s trauma and better understand some of your fears, behaviors and patterns and heal? What if you learning this information not only healed you but also your lineage?
I read the experience of an Army nurse named Laura R. Hindman who was part of the 2nd Auxiliary Surgical Group and stationed on the British Hospital Ship HMHC St. David, on 14 February 1944 off the coast of Italy. Laura survived this sinking and a prior one, as noted in her testimony in the IDPF of Major John E. Adams, who did not survive the sinking.
Now, you might be wondering if you were a relative of Laura’s, how would I ever know Laura had given testimony about a ship sinking? Well, you would need to do some collateral research or just stumble upon the information. Collateral research means to look at records of those she served with. You might find those names in a Morning Report, a newspaper article about the ship she was on, through an internet search that brought her name up because someone else talking about that ship, the sinking, or those on board may have mentioned her. Ship histories or unit histories may also provide names, dates, and more information. Her testimony may also be included in those histories. There might also be information in her personnel file. When you leave no stone unturned, you might be surprised at what you discover.
Laura survived not one but two sinkings, that I know of, during her time as an Army Nurse. You can read a little about it below.
Every client I’ve spoken to and every person who has shared their veteran’s story with me tells me, ‘He or she never talked about the war.’ Now that most of our veterans are gone, we rely even more heavily on records, testimonies, histories, and photos to tell the stories that our veteran’s could not. Nurse Laura’s statements are powerful. They might answer questions a family had about her experiences and how she lived, what she believed, and also what her behaviors and patterns were after the war. This testimony might also explain some of her fears or the fears that descendants carry.
In his book, It Didn’t Start With You, by Mark Wolynn, he talks about many of his patients who have these irrational fears or nightmares that have nothing to do with experiences they had in their lives. These fears and nightmares actually belonged to an ancestor. Often those fears and nightmares appear at the age of the patient which is the same age the ancestor experienced the trauma. Once identified and released, the patient has a calmer life.
Is it possible any descendants of Laura might have had irrational fears or behaviors that couldn’t be explained easily? Is it possible her extended family might have because of the energy carried through the family? Yes and yes. The same can be true for any of us who had an ancestor experience trauma that remained unintegrated, unprocessed, and unhealed. War, natural disasters, abuse, accidents, and so many other traumas can create similar experiences in descendants. The key is to search for information to help us have more context about an ancestor’s life and experiences.
Read Major John Adam’s IDPF here and all the testimony about the sinking of this ship.
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