Most people agree that war is hell. When we talk about war, it’s normally from the perspective of all the bad things, wrongs and harm done, pain and anguish endured, along with the death and destruction that took place.
We rarely discuss openly the effects war had on our veterans. It’s even rarer we talk about the effects war had on a veteran’s family, collateral relatives, and descendants.
Does anything good ever come from war?
Have you ever asked that question? Have you explored that perspective when looking at your family’s military experience? When you examine their beliefs, behaviors, patterns, and your own life? I think it does. I believe when we can connect deeply with our ancestors and their experiences during and after war, including the civilians at home, we can heal deep parts of ourselves. We can learn more about ourselves and our families. We can forgive, release, and heal.
My grandpa Joseph Holik served in the USNR in the Armed Guard during WWII. When I started my genealogical research in 1996, I heard elaborate stories about his Naval experience. At that time I had no idea how to military research and was basically obtaining as much information from family as I could.
Fast forward to 2010 when I started investigating my family’s military history, beginning with those who died in service. Grandpa survived the war but came home mentally damaged. I had a lot of questions but no records for a few more years. When I received the records, I realized the stories I had heard were lies. It took me several more years to understand why the stories may have been told.
Families who had veterans return with mental or physical disabilities often carried a lot of shame, grief, sadness, anger, hate, and other low vibrational energies. Based on books and studies I’ve read about returning WWII veterans, the propaganda was to move on, create a new life and forget the past. Keeping the war experience a secret was common for many families around the world, especially when there may have been a lot of judgment in the case of veterans with mental disabilities.
Ancestral Communication Goes Deeper
In 2012 I moved out and got a divorce and began communicating with my ancestors in new ways. They appeared through dreams, channeled writing, whispers, colors, and people’s conversations. I began having conversations beyond the veil with my Grandma Libbie, Joseph’s wife as I navigated the new reality of being a single mom. I began noticing parallels between her life and mine that I documented but didn’t give much other thought to until 2019. Joseph also began channeling into my writing and hanging around my house. Over the years his energy shifted many times as he went from being scared and angry to more peaceful. Then in 2019 I completed my first genogram and discovered the many ways I was living Joe & Libbie’s lives with my then Dutch husband. To say I shocked is an understatement.
So many things began to make sense in my life and relationship. So many emotions began to arise that have taken me four years to process. Healing is like peeling an onion and we can only do one layer at a time. I could feel so much pain from my grandparent’s experience. I could identify so many beliefs, behaviors, and patterns that were passed down through their boys to me to my own boys. I could painfully see how I took on their unfinished business and unfulfilled dreams as I tried to live them out with the Dutch husband.
Layer by layer I moved through these things. I also took a very humble look at myself and the energies from which I was functioning and living. Co-dependency (which most of humanity lives), over-giver, people pleaser, over-explainer, always being “on” and “ready” to tackle anything, terrible sleeper, PTSD triggers, and on and on and on. I began studying inherited trauma and somatic healing so I could save myself and heal the triggers so my body would start calming down. When the relationship with the Dutch man ended and then he died, even greater awareness and healing came through.
The Gifts of War
When I look at my Grandpa Joe’s life and war experience, I see how difficult it was for him to have first left his family to go fight. I can imagine how difficult it must have been for him to be afraid of what was happening during the war. To perhaps not understand what was happening to his mind. From his channeled messages I know how confused he was at times. How scared he was his family wouldn’t recognize him or need him when he returned. In many ways I’ve had experiences that brought up the same emotions. I sense in many ways we have walked similar paths. Seeing him as more than a “crazy man” or “war hero” but as a human with all that entails has been vital to my healing. Too often we tell stories about our veterans and call them a hero without actually looking at the effects of war on them or their families. We pretend by labeling them a hero that it fixes all the trauma and pain and we don’t have to be responsible and look at it. I think we need to look at it.
When I look at Grandma Libbie’s life and see so many parallels, I understand who she must have been during those years and beyond as she raised her boys without a father in the home. Libbie channeled in many times and also came through in meditation and energy healing sessions to encourage me to have the love she never had, live the life she didn’t get to live, and be happy. I took that on in addition to all the other energies I unconsciously took on to heal for our family and it wore me down. There are some days I am surprised I’m still standing after all the healing that has happened in my lineage. I know many of you reading this can also relate.
So can war provide us with gifts? Yes. At least that’s been my experience when I look at the whole picture after all these years of research and doing my personal and ancestral healing. I have been able to identify family beliefs, behaviors, and patterns along with the inherited trauma I carry. I have been able to shift through many emotions and perspectives about who my ancestors were, who I am and continue to be. I have witnessed the energetic shifts in my ancestors, especially these grandparents, in positive ways. Our ancestors do heal on the other side. I have been able to level up in my life, work, and relationships. I have also been able to acknowledge the good that came from the pain and trauma.
What have you noticed are your gifts of war? How has your family’s military service shaped and changed your life or that of your ancestral lineage? What life lessons can you share to help others?
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