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Science has now proven that trauma becomes a part of our DNA and it is passed on from generation to generation.
My dad once told me a story of being on a burning ship engaged in battle in the South Pacific during WWII where he turned around to help a buddy up and when he grabbed him, burned skin was all he came back with in his own hand.
After the war, he met my mother in a dairy-bar cafe in Baker City, Oregon and they started raising a family. He was a blue collar worker and the family moved from job to job.
However, his pain ran so deep and was so profound that every where he turned, he found a need to self-medicate the pain with alcohol.
When my mother left him in desperation for another man whom she thought would be financially sound in helping her raise her three children, my dad did not respond well, for a time.
My older brothers went with my dad. Unable to deal with his grief, he was unable to keep food on the table or pay the rent. He moved them three times, leaving behind unpaid rent. My brothers were often left to fend for themselves at such young ages. (Then, they went to live with our grandmother in Ontario who took very good care of them.)
My dad could never stop smoking. He tried so hard to stop drinking and he did for periods of time throughout his life but eventually, it got him.
There was no help for these men and women when they came home. Nobody knew about PTSD. They called it shell shock and was it ever.
Mental health was then and remains today a taboo that if revealed threatens your very existence among those who do not understand the importance of mental health.
Only in the aftermath of the Vietnam War did the Government start offering Transcendental Meditation therapy. Whoever brought that about in the military deserves a medal of honor because the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who initiated TM into our society was NOT mainstream by any stretch of the imagination.
My dad was, throughout his life, a loving and kind-hearted man who would give you the shirt off his back if he was able. He had such an amazing sense of humor, he brought laughter and love wherever he went. And, oh my goodness, could he give good hugs. He loved, played and sang music and I think that might be what kept him going despite the odds against him.
My heart goes out to the families of the men who suffered and perished on the USS Indianapolis. Kudos to Paul G. Allen for making it his business to find this lost ship and give those families closure. This is an example of a true humanitarian.
Together we light the way.