Sunday; PTSD & Mental Health

Today was an informative event at the VFW Post 2503, thanks to the generosity of Kim Erickson and Tammy Marshall, Donna Wolff, and Silouan Green. Mr. Green is an author and speaker on PTSD, and does training for many types of organizations, military, law enforcement, and others. He was an incredible and informative speaker on the subject of PTSD.

It is a subject people don’t want to talk about. Mental health is just as part of your health as your gall bladder, your heart, and muscles. Anyone can have PTSD. It can be from a direct event that happened to you, or can be something you hear about that causes you great distress. It’s amazing. I wish you had all been there. We learned so much.

I learned a lot I didn’t know, and am disappointed Donna didn’t do her presentation on Talk Saves Lives. I was looking forward to it, but it wasn’t to be. Silouan ran over, and Ms. Wolff needed to drive back to where she lives near western Nebraska.

It was my last formal involvement in a VFW Post activity; I’ve made it known I need to spend more time pursuing my passions. Writing, Quilting, and learning new things are tops on the list. I want to take art lessons as well. This will allow me much more time. It’s time. Time to make time for myself and what I wish to do for myself. It’s all part of being well-rounded. I’ve loved my time volunteering with Veterans outreach, and we’ve made friends to cherish from these years. My life is very good, and I’m proud of what’s been accomplished. Time to step back.

I remember when I was a kid, a great aunt on Dad’s side of the family was hospitalized with mental health issues. I was about 10 or so, I think. We went to visit her at the mental hospital near the regular hospital. Mom threatened us with an untimely demise if we told anyone where we went to visit her, such was the scourge of mental illness. I remember the poor lady was troubled with depression, and she could have been bi-polar, I don’t know. There was no shame in it at all. But Mom thought so, as did many folks during those years. I overheard she had shock-treatments. I didn’t know what those were, but they sounded awful.

If you talked to a “head doctor,” you carried a stigma. The feeling was strong in the families, and society back then. Our aunt was unmarried, so according to the protocol of the times, she lived with her sister (our Grandma) and her family. It was totally normal for us. Like having two grandmothers. She was such a sweet woman, always dressed in her own classic style, and a lady through and through.

Aunt Anna always talked about having class. That was a phrase that meant you had manners, style, were appropriate in any situation, and could carry on a decent conversation. After she passed away, I tried on a dress that reminded me of something she would buy. I heard her, in my mind’s eye say, “Kid, you’ve got class in that.” Even after over 40 years, I miss her. She had such an influence in my life. When I’d stay at their house, I’d get to go downtown on the bus with her on Saturday to go shopping. It was such a wonderful time.

Writing takes your mind on many trips down memory lane. Yesterday, it was about the brownies from three wars; today, it was mental illness, family secrets, and having class. I appreciate you listening and reading and coming back every day as you do. We have #975 followers, which is awesome! I’d like to see us add #25 more, and get to #1000followers since we passed #1000blogs a little while ago. Help a girl out? It’s be fun!

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a beautiful evening and a great Monday morning. It’s going to be a wonderful week. Eight days until our 24th Wedding Anniversary. Some days it feels like yesterday, others it seems like a long time ago. Blissful all the way. See you tomorrow!

Memorial Day/Tuesday Thoughts

A lot of things happened between Sunday night and today.

We had a Memorial Day Ceremony at the VFW Post 2503 Monday at 1 p.m. It was a Memorial for our members lost since last year. We read the names of both Post and Auxiliary members who passed between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. These dates represent the Honor Guard Year. We had many funerals delayed because of COVID, and the restrictions in place.

A beautiful day revealed itself as we had our ceremony. Our Congressman, Don Bacon, spoke and so did the Marine Corps League Commandant. We had a windy but beautiful day (no, not from the speakers). We were blessed with Tammy Marshall, Nebraska Author and member of American Legion Riders, Bloomfield Post 249. Tammy read her poem, “I Stood a Flag Line Today.” It was written as a tribute to her boyfriend’s son. He was a soldier who committed suicide. It was an honor to meet his father, Kim Erickson. Tammy & Kim are both Legion riders and attend many funerals for Veterans. What an honor, and what a blessing they are. Her poem is the back of her book, Ticker Tape. You can find more information on Tammy at :

https: //tammymarshallauthor.wordpress.com

I have told Tammy her poem needs to be a song, it would be beautiful. I’m going to share it with someone we know who may be able to set it to music. You know who you are!

Trevor Erickson shall not be forgotten, and deserves all the honors we would give any soldier who dies in battle. This battlefield happened to be vast and dark, it was with his mind. The wounds caused are the hardest to heal, and perhaps easiest to conceal. We need to work hard, bringing mental health issues out of the dark and into the light where they are discussed, dealt with, and normalized. We all experience some mental health challenges from time to time. There is no shame in it.

Remember Trevor Erickson. Remember the good he accomplished in his lifetime. Remember his family. Remember all those we have lost to battles that are seen and unseen. Be grateful for their sacrifices.

We will publish a photo chronicle on Facebook of the day from putting the flags up, Linda Humphrey feeding the volunteers breakfast, and the Honor Guard at their last duty of the day; firing at the Post Ceremony. These men put up flags, participated in three ceremonies besides our own, and finished by taking the flags down before the winds increased. They are very serious about demonstrating honor and respect.

Remember our fallen and their sacrifices well beyond Memorial Day. Once the speeches are over, the flags retired, and the uniforms hung back in the closet; empty chairs are still at the dinner tables, broken hearts still visit graves, and memories remain in minds afraid their soldier will be forgotten. We cannot let that happen. We need to remain a grateful nation, now more than ever. God Bless them all, and their families.