What are the true costs of war to the children and families of veterans?

by | Mar 29, 2014

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author spouse-daughterWith her husband away at war, Liz Snell has been a single mother for much of her marriage. Her youngest daughter Briannah is 10 now, and the family is together at Camp Pendleton.

The unreported cost of war…the children and families…  click on the powerful and revealing article and video clip…quote from this website article…  From CNN, “The Uncounted”

“Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide. That number is sadly familiar. It has become a symbol of the cost of war that extends beyond the battlefield.

But no one is tracking war’s impact on another group: military spouses, siblings and parents.”

My mother, Marcella, is turning 96 years young in September of 2014…  She lives comfortably in an assisted living home in Reno, Nevada surrounded by loving care givers.  Judy and I are planning our next visit with Mom later in May while traveling to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Mother is a surviving WWII and Korean War spouse and mother who served too!

I recall vividly the many times mother would say, “I wish I never lived!”  At best she contemplated suicide or wishes of not living.  I don’t know if she ever tried to carry out the act.  I do know Mom was and still is suffering from the symptoms of PTSD after all these years.  She was a single mother with first born son, Jerry, for all of WWII.  Dad was in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS West Virginia during the surprise Japanese attack on the US Navy Pacific Fleet on December 7, 1941.  My brother, Jerry, was born three months before Pearl Harbor.  Dad finally came home in June of 1945, the beginning of the war at home that never ended.  He was later deployed during the Korean War for almost 1 year.

I write in my book about our family’s struggle in life after war during all the years of my own childhood, and as an adult affected by growing up with a WWII hero severely affected by the symptoms of PTSD.   I believe my mother was damaged beyond repair.  I also believe we children could not avoid being affected by the toxic and sometimes violent nature of home life during the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  It was a time in our lives we all wanted to forget.  All we ever thought about was growing up and getting away from the scary dysfunctional behavior and never returning home again.

As reported in the referenced article by CNN, America has often turned its head away from the children and families who paid a big price as the sole caregivers and descendants of veterans from all wars.  In this report and video clip we see the heart wrenching interviews of military family members who tell us more about the challenges of military life and the lingering effects of war on children and families.  The wars and the horrific memories of combat never ended for combat veterans when they returned home.  It has always been very difficult and sometimes hopeless for veterans to eventually readjust to civilian life and find a happy place at home again.  It is also true that loved ones and family members suffered terribly during the long deployments of the men and women deployed during all wars.  I can say from my own experience as a post WWII military child that the war did not end once Dad returned home.  It was just getting started…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 (Kindle $2.99) and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…please go to my author page to order…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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