A Family's Mental HealthJun 26, 2023
because of war. Families at home also suffered, often quietly. Have you explored the grief and mental health of your family due to war or the loss of a family member to war? This is applicable to both those families who sent men and women to fight and civilians whose countries were occupied or annexed during a war.
I've read hundreds of Individual Deceased Personnel Files over the last decade plus and the stories I discover in some of them can quite often be sad or shocking. Usually when researchers read these files or pass the information to a family, the focus is on the service member not the family members. Usually researchers are seeking the details about a service member's combat experience, wounding, POW experience, death and burial. Of course other facts are sought but how often do we really pay attention to what the family experienced?
Years ago I read the IDPF of a 104th Division soldier named Frank J. Knaus Jr. I also visited his grave in the fall of 2016 at the Ardennes American Cemetery. One of the things that struck me from his file was a single letter written by a J. Sterner on behalf of Frank's parents, to the military regarding Frank's personal effects and all the letters the parents were receiving from the military. The relationship between J. Sterner and the family is unclear. According to what I could locate on Ancestry, it appears Frank was an only child.
The letter spoke about the mental health and grief of Frank's parents. The grief was so intense that Frank's father was placed in a hospital. Often when we think about war and mental health, we only hear about how our veterans suffered and were placed in mental hospitals or other such facilities. We rarely hear about our own family members being placed in those facilities. Those events often remain as family secrets or things only to be whispered about until a family researcher discovers the secret.
Healing the Grief
Quite often, those in the family who do genealogical or military research are the family healers. The ones who came here to end cycles and create healing up and down the lineage. We often unconsciously take on the grief of our family members. When something triggers that hidden grief in our lives, we may be confused about what's happening or why we are reacting or responding to something so strongly. We don't always have to know the specifics, but if we can learn the story, a deeper level of healing can take place.
Are you exploring the grief-filled events in your family's history? What have you discovered? How did knowing this information change your life? How has it affected your research? Are you telling those stories so others know they aren't alone in what their family has gone through?
When we share our experiences, even the shameful, sad, or hurtful ones, others learn they too can overcome and heal whatever they are going through. The more we bring our family's pain to the light, the more we change ourselves, our ancestors, and the world. When one heals, we all heal. And healing is exactly what the world needs right now.
Are You Ready To Learn More?
What have you discovered about your ancestor’s war traumas through the military or genealogical records? Are you ready to start your research or writing project? Do you need assistance in exploring family traumas, patterns and ancestral healing? View all my services and book a free consult today and let’s talk about your needs.
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