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An Army Veteran’s Story – Opening up to grief

An Army Veteran was transferred to Vets4Warriors from the VCL.  The Veteran had been very depressed since November when his wife of 19 years passed away.  He had let himself go and missed his wife so much. He spoke of how his wife’s things were still in the same place and wondered how to get over his pain and loss. He had not attended therapy or grief counseling because and felt he would not be able to open up to them. He had been crying almost every day and drinks and smokes to cope. He talked about being a man and the standards of how men are supposed to be strong and non-emotional. The peer listened and stated that these feelings are normal; especially because it had only been five months since his loss. The peer asked questions about how they meet and what their wedding was like. He shared information about these events and laughed as he thought about all the good times and memories. He talked of being married at the courthouse which the peer was married in the same place.  The peer provided examples of his own losses and about his being able to be emotional. The peer stated there are things we all need to express, and it did not make a man less, but made him more.  The Veteran opening up to the peer, was the start of healing his heart.  The Veteran felt the compassion from the peer and thanked him for getting him to laugh and remember some of the things that made his marriage so happy. He knows it will be a very long road, but just with their talk, he knows he will heal someday. The peer stated that the memories and the love he has will be a comfort for him, and he should never be ashamed to let his emotions out and certain things take time to heal. The Veteran thanked the peer and said he has talked to many people, even people at his church, but for some reason this conversation made things more clear to him.

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