First, let’s put it out there that when I ask the question, How has military research and writing saved your life, I’m not necessarily asking if, or implying, you have been or are suicidal. Though some people may have had thoughts. Something or someone stepping in to save our lives doesn’t always mean it is life or death on a physical level. It can be emotional, mental, or spiritual.
I can say without a doubt, military research and writing has saved my life and healed deep parts of me on multiple occasions. It all began in a small way in 1996 when I started researching my family history and heard snippets of stories about my WWI and WWII relatives who served and most of whom died. Yet it wasn’t until 2010 when I started writing my bucket list book To Soar with the Tigers about my Flying Tiger cousin Robert Brouk, that the ancestors and research and writing, stepped in to help me heal. To stay sane. To be of greater service to the world.
Robert’s story opened me up to writing and publishing and soon after, speaking publicly on military research and writing. As soon as I published his book, my relatives who died in service showed up to say, ‘Now write about us and figure out how to do it!’ So I took the plunge and dedicated thousands of hours to learning how to research all branches. Read so many files and death files I’m surprised I didn’t become incredibly depressed and anxious – though on some level I was and didn’t realize it until years later.
Next, Michael, Frankie, and James showed up. Michael and James had the biggest impact on saving me from 2012 – 2014. When Michael showed up, so did his brother Joseph (my great grandpa). Joseph showed up when I moved out and began guiding me, loving me unconditionally, giving it to me straight, and being there so I wasn’t alone. Michael’s was the next story I wrote, which tore me to pieces. I cried so much as I channeled parts of that story, including the ending about Michael’s return and burial. You can watch that story at the end of my RootsTech 2018 talk (about minute 34).
I was holding in and shoving down so many emotions about my entire life, my divorce, starting a new life with my boys, that Joseph said basically, ‘You can write it out, cry it out, serve others, or become a suicidal serial killer. What do you choose?’ I chose to write and serve. Doing that opened up my heart, released a lot of old baggage, fears, emotions, patterns, and allowed me to step into a new version of myself.
James showed up not long after Michael but I took his story more slowly. James guided me, my career, helped people show up, loved me, and encouraged me the final time I was offered my first trip to Europe to TAKE IT! He was with me that entire trip. You can see him in the orb above my head here in France.
James rearranged our trip after the first week so we could visit places he fought before he died. He made sure I met people I knew in past lives, one he fought with in WWII who lives now in Europe. He made it rain the day we visited his grave for the first time and flew his burial flag over the Luxembourg Cemetery. (On my next visit a few months later he let the sun shine as I entered the grave space and let me know it was all ok.)
He stood with me the following day near Bras, Belgium where he was killed in what is now a replanted forest near a large open field. The others there whispered to me to keep going, keep writing, keep telling THEIR stories so they wouldn’t be forgotten, even when it was hard and wanted to kill me. Keep going.
That first trip completely changed my life and life course and future relationships.
Fast forward to today, 29 October 2020, as the world stirs the bubbling cauldron of chaos, hate, anger, strife, violence, censorship, suppression, division……..where some of us are standing in light and love. Where some of us see the truths unfolding.
The military work I’ve done the last 10 years has shifted dramatically this year as I stood more in the power of who I am today. It also helped me heal something very deep that I was really scared to look at for more than 20 years. The story of my paternal grandparents, Joe and Libbie. However, in going deep into their lives and stories around the war and what came after, this year has allowed me to heal myself in deep ways and them and all those attached to us.
The last couple of months I’ve done a lot of writing about Joe and Libbie and myself and my husband. No one has seen this and most of it will never be shared. Working with energy healing and other healing modalities, I was able to forgive, heal, release, shift the patterns and energy and intense emotions out. I have a better understanding of why it was the way it was. Why it has been a certain way most of my life. Why my current relationship is, on one level, what it is and is not. And what my grandma wanted for me all these years. To be loved and happy.
There are still some layers of that story yet to be revealed, but I took the big scary step of really looking at their story and my life with honesty and openness. I mark it as one of the biggest ways I’ve healed and changed in 2020. So while lockdown and being separated from my husband for what will probably be at least a full year by the time Europe settles down, it has served a purpose. The military research and writing has served a purpose. There are many other stories I could share and you will see some of them on this website, but for today…..this is enough.
On 6 January 2021, I will be giving a talk with the Virginia War Memorial Foundation on Military Research and Storytelling as Healing. Details will be posted soon on this new chapter I’m creating in my business. It is time we start to heal, especially after all that comes to light in 2020 and early 2021.
How has your research and writing saved you? In what ways? How are you now being of service to others by sharing your stories?
If you are interested in working with me to write your stories, need help with energy healing to process what you learn, check out my facilitation services and contact me today to ask questions about how I can best help you.
© 2020 WWII Research and Writing Center
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