Guilt and Loss: Write a Tribute to Your Lost Battle

Each veteran will deal with returning from military duty in his or her own way, but sometimes we need a little help figuring out our own thoughts.

Common reactions to grief
• Shock and numbness (a normal way to react to the news of a death)
• Guilt (“if only’s” are natural and need to be expressed)
• Anger (often we’re taught not to feel angry, but anger is a normal feeling and needs to be accepted and expressed – in a non-destructive way)
• Depression (at times, loneliness and lack of motivation may occur for you – don’t worry, at some point the motivation will return)
• Self-Blame (“It should have been me instead.” These expressions and feelings are common; they are part of how we as humans grieve.

Many times veterans try to forget about the loss. You can postpone grief but you cannot avoid it. Suppressing grief keeps one in a continual state of stress and shock, unable to move from it. As other stresses come along, one becomes less able to cope if one has other unresolved grief.

Writing can help you better process, understand, and cope when someone close to you dies. You can organize your thought and start processing your memories. Writing a tribute to your lost battle is a good way to start.

How writing a tribute to your lost battle can help
• Lay out your respect, appreciation, and anything you want to say about your battle buddy.
• Get your emotions out so you out don’t keep them bottled up inside.
• Honor your lost battle by writing down important things you want to remember about your battle.
• Share memories of your battle with the people that were important to them.

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