I am writing this a few days before Father’s Day. I was out running an errand and my WWII Navy grandpa came through with a message and said I needed to share it. So here goes.
People have been conditioned, especially around World War I and World War II, to pay attention to the war orphans. Those children whose father died serving his country. Those children are the ones to whom we should pay attention, feel sorry for, and for whom we had to try to make things better. Even today many of those children, now older adults, carry a heavy burden they can’t seem to release. They wear this burden as their identity mixed with grief and pride.
Yet, there is a whole other group of children who grew up without a father that society has ignored and often still does today. A society programmed to keep secrets and not talk about what really happened. A society that made sure the energy of shame permeated this group of children as if they carried in themselves what happened to their father. In some ways they did. Everything is energy.
A father who was physically still there, but not whole. Changed in some way. Lost. Absent in some way – emotionally, perhaps physically, mentally. What happened to those children? What happened to those mothers and extended family who needed to care for these “orphaned” children?
Often those children carried a heavy burden of grief, anger, shame, guilt, sadness, and may have worn a cloak of invisibility. Emotions locked tightly inside. No one must know what happened to daddy. Secrets kept even decades later.
Isn’t it time we take care of both groups of children and help them heal these wounds of war? Isn’t it time we acknowledge not every veteran returned home as whole as they were when they left?
To all the dads who grew up without a father because of war. We see you. You are allowed to heal and release all the things you’ve kept trapped inside. We see the job you have done or are trying to do, raising your family. We are proud of you and we love you.
Does Your Family Have a War “Orphan”?
Does this resonate with you, even looking at World War I, Korea or Vietnam, or any more current war? So many of us carry the inherited traumas of our parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on because they did not have the tools to process their experiences. From all my World War II research the last 12 years, I’ve also seen many veterans be told to never talk about what they experienced or saw, or hold off until enough decades had passed so it would be “safe”. Can you imagine holding all that in and what it might have done to someone who appeared physically ok after a war, but some part of them – emotionally and mentally – may not have been ok? They suffered in silence. Their children suffered without understanding why.
I think humanity needs to take an honest look at this within their own families. It is time to release the shame, anger, guilt, and grief of the past and heal.
Are You Ready to Start Writing and Researching?
I would love to help you research and write the stories of your family members from World War I – Vietnam. If you are ready to start a research or writing project, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set up a free phone consultation. I’m excited to help you bring your family’s military history to life and preserve it for generations. Also visit the Ancestral Souls Wisdom School to learn how a Genogram Session can help you identify your ancestor’s trauma and patterns and start to heal.
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