Reconciliation: A Son’s Story
Steve had started documenting his father’s World War II history about two months prior to our trip. He planned to request his father’s naval records when we returned from Mexico. As luck would have it, about six days into our trip I became ill and dehydrated, and more or less completely missed two days of our Mexican adventure. Being a devoted, caring husband, Steve stayed in the room with me while I recovered from a vicious bacterial infection. While I slept, he worked on his “story” to record his family history for our children and grandchildren. Having a clear head away from our daily grind, his “story” began evolving into something much larger.
As I read this body of work I began to see the story as a case study from the perspective of a lay person. Steve had shared some of his childhood memories with me, but as he embraced each of his siblings in telling their stories, I saw a much bigger picture unfolding. Steve’s new awareness about his father’s “battle fatigue” condition of the past became the catalyst for a significant self-discovery journey. My husband’s journey through dark moments of his past created an opportunity to lift an invisible veil that both of us had not really fully acknowledged. The value of facing the truth has been powerful and healing.
Over the last 28 years that I’ve been with my husband I have felt he was misunderstood more than not. It is clear to me now that misunderstandings are often not the fault of anyone, but the result of not having all the information and communication barriers. Maybe I’m the exception, not the rule, in separating some of the behaviors from the man I fell in love with. I am hopeful that those closest to him see a more complete picture of who he is, and his hopes and dreams for his loved ones. Steve has a warm heart and a loving spirit; writing this story makes it even more apparent.
Watching my anxious partner embrace a more peaceful and happy existence has been a positive journey for me as well. I have a much greater understanding of what his life has been about during times of struggle. I don’t believe much in coincidences. My philosophy has always been that life experiences unfold as they were meant to be. The timing of Steve’s writing journey is part of the greater plan. He is able to embrace the truth, learn from this experience and share that with those he loves deeply. His motivation has also been to help others who may have experienced family trauma, especially related to military service. He wants to share his newfound peace and hopefully make a difference for the greater good.
Judy Young Sparks
Depoe Bay, Oregon