When I was 8 years old, I stumbled across an old, forgotten chest in my grandparents house, while searching for hiding places. The chest was tucked away in the attic space above the attached shed, a place no one ever went to. In fact; I am pretty sure I was not suppose to be there…but I was. Finding the chest & being the snoopy, investigative sort; I opened it to explore the contents, & see if I could fit inside. The chest was relatively empty, filled with little bits of nothing, and a few odd letters. One of the letters, changed my view of the world and the way that I looked at my father forever… It was a letter he had written to my Grandmother, from Vietnam.
Opening the steamer trunk was an Exceptional Moment of Spirit for me; one in which the world stood still, marking my soul for the rest of this life.
The letter was written for the benefit of the receiver, with his hardships and emotional turmoil minimized, so as not to worry her. But being Psychic I could feel it, I remember reading the letter as if my father were speaking the words out loud; I could feel and hear the emotion, unsaid in his voice filled with fear and unease. The piece that struck me hardest, and has stuck with me throughout my life; was when he told her he would be sending his paycheck home, & that he believed it was enough money for the refrigerator the family desperately needed.
My father was raised by his Grandmother (Grammy Brown). She was a powerful woman; a psychic, medium and medicine woman, who made her living selling worms & helping people with their problems. Being raised in this environment and having gifts himself, my father was an energetically sensitive person…in many ways, one far to sensitive for the experiences of war. But poverty is a strong persuader…so he lied about his age, and joined the Marines at 17…a boy going off to fight for his country, unaware that he would someday be fighting for his soul.
Two years before my father passed away, his healing path through Spirit truly began. While home visiting, he asked me if he could watch me do a Seance. At first I said no, and explained that it was a personal experience for the family hosting the Seance. Then Spirit stepped in to make it happen…the next day, a client of mine called and asked if there was any way I could see a friend of hers from out of town. It was a day I didn’t normally work, but agreed as long as my father could sit in on the session and simply watch. That moment with Spirit rocked his world; opening his heart, and reawakening his own Spiritual gifts.
Over the next two years he spent a lot of time exploring his beliefs and fears of the Spirit world, with my sister and I. He feared who would be waiting for him there, for he witnessed and committed many acts of violence, during his time in Vietnam…acts that haunted his soul, and caused him to fear what was waiting for him. One of the biggest misconceptions he had to face; was that the Spirits of those he had killed did not hate him, and were not waiting to serve vengeance. I explained to him that war and murder do not hold the same level of karmic debt. I asked him if he were the one to have died in war, would he be hateful to the person responsible for his death….his answer is “NO”.
It had never occurred to me before that moment; that the scars left on the soul of a soldier, could leave them believing they were deserving of haunting.
My father was lucky; he found soul healing at the end of his life, and made peace with the Demons of his mind. By exploring the world of Spirit; through communication and journey-work, he was able to forgive himself. I must say, he was brave and dedicated to the task of healing; spending many hours reviewing the path he had walked and seeking guidance from his Ancestors and guides. But still, the gateway to his healing came from changing roles with those he had wronged; by asking himself if he would haunt his slayer, if he had been the one to die. Through this he was able to find peace.
In his death my father is forever an advocate of the Wounded Soldier (physically/mentally). To this day, I know when a client I see is a Veteran before they sit down in front of me. I know this because my Dad shows up to tell me “this one’s mine kid”. Which tells me that they are carrying the wounds of war, that so identified the man my father was. Forgiveness of self, is the hardest thing anyone who has experienced war must do. It begins with exchanging roles with those you have wronged, and asking yourself if you hold a personal vendetta against the soldiers you faced. It also requires that we look at the reasons we chose to walk the path of the warrior…for many, the decision comes out of duty, honor, and responsibility. These things are not the making of a monster.
Whether soldiers or not, we all may find healing by practicing self forgiveness. I hope you enjoyed the read.