We learned of dismal stories of homeless veterans, jobless servicemen and depressed war returnees in social media. After their service, most are scarred with brokenness, failure, and depression and end up being suicidal. Their lives are never the same again. It is hard to imagine a serviceman’s transition from deployment to civilian life. Separation from loved ones could cause them anxiety and more harm psychologically.

Coping with the nightmare of war, Jennifer Pacanowski, US army medic, who was deployed in Iraq in 2004, said that it was the best and worst time of her life. They went through their missions encountering danger and lived in a nightmare of trauma. She also learned that “creating community and healing holistically is the best way to transition from war.” However, according to her, the military did not address the suicide rate of those in active duty. They refused to give mental health priority concern when the soldier returns from war. She said that it is “treated like a stigma and the soldier or marine is treated as damaged goods.”

Let us take a view of a serviceman’s life in the current period. It is the poignant story of Aaron Ritchie, an 18-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force assigned to the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee. He was deployed in Southwest Asia for six months and to return in April-May 2018. He was invited to dinner using Facetime and Skype. From his part of the world the temperature was 90 degrees while from his family’s part of the world, it was snowing. He was only seeing them 7000 miles away on screen.

He had mentioned to his family and friends then that “living in the two worlds is like looking through a snow globe”. The world was in his fingertips. He was transported to a place of happiness, then after a while, he was back to reality. His mission took him away from his family. He thought of his relationship with his family, his wife and three children. They are most important to him and, thanks to Facetime and Skype, he was able to connect to his loved ones in an instant.

He was not there to aid his wife in the caring of his children though. He could only look at the screen on how her wife tackled with their family alone. She had to cope with their child being ill, her rough day at work and come home to a messy house. He could only guide her and tell her of his love but it was not enough. He struggles with the pain of missing his family and only look forward to receiving letters and packages from them. Each time when his name was called for his package the feeling was indescribable.

He received a package from his mother with the tag “the closest you’ll get to home this Christmas.” When he opened the package, he did not know whether to cry or laugh hysterically. Her gift to him was a snow globe.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This