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What a wonderful nation we get to live in. Sure, there are many grievances and issues that cause us separation. However, we are linked together by a tapestry of history that is woven together by our veterans who have proudly worn the uniform of this powerful country.

Our church has a veteran’s ministry, and we meet to talk about the difficulties that face too many of the proud men and women who have served. This group of veterans comes together weekly to talk about their difficulties fitting in after serving in many different theaters.


This is the safest group I have ever participated in.


It is difficult to imagine veterans of Korea and Vietnam still suffering after 50-plus years of coming home. Veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and so many other conflicts that our military have proudly served are the newest casualties of veterans attempting to come home.


Don’t get me wrong, many veterans who have suffered military and war casualties have reentered civilian life with little or no repercussions and have successfully joined civilian life.

Others continue to suffer from personal wars of PTSD, depression, anxiety, military sexual abuse, divorce, drugs, alcohol, jobs, getting VA benefits, and so many other issues. None of these are to be compared or judged. Each veteran has had their own experience of military and war.


Our veteran's group was formed to have a place to vent and get the support they need and so deserve. It serves as a place to reflect while also feeling valued and understood. It is impossible to genuinely understand someone else's suffering until you have walked in their boots and gone through their experiences.


The inability of not being able to tell their story keeps too many things bottled up and sometimes veterans believe that suicide is the only answer. Say what you will about suicide, but when you see the strongest and toughest who have suffered for years, take their lives, I request that they not be judged.


I have the utmost respect for all veterans and will proudly defend them. Some go wayward and get into trouble, and I say perhaps we have not done enough to protect them from what they were taught and experienced. They have been trained for months and years and when they are released, there is not enough done to recondition them back to the civilian world.


A few months ago, I lost one of my dearest friends to suicide. I loved him so dearly and watched him battle his demons for years and they finally wore him down. And just this week our neighbor, Sara Fontana, lost her nephew, Sean Leahy, to suicide. It has truly saddened me to feel another loss.


Sara wrote a poem about Sean and has given me permission to share it with you. It is a powerful message to us all.



SUICIDE OF A VETERAN

Dedicated to Sean Leahy, my nephew

A Veteran

Strong, outer

presence

Crumbling inside

Insights within

Moments of clarity

Authenticity with

self and others

Is interior strength

possible?

Constant, relentless

Visions, thoughts

Tearing at the

insight

Breaking down

strength within

Crumbling inside seeps

outward

The strong outer

presence begins to

crumble

“You would be better off

without me…”

Offering the ultimate

sacrifice,

The battle ends with

gunfire.

Sara Fontana

December 3, 2022






Oh, did you wonder about the title of this blog?


Well, this is the number reported by the Veterans Administration who take their lives EVERY DAY. YES, 22, EACH AND EVERY DAY.


I stand tall and desire to make these folks feel appreciated even though they might not be understood. I encourage you to do the same.


Watch for the blind spots.




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If you need the perfect stocking stuffer, get a copy of my book, it's available below.

Blind Spots in Relationships

What I don't know I don't know about myself


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