Families & Veterans: How Grief and Loss Continue After War

Recently I spoke with a family member who is affected by the traumatic experiences of an individual/veteran who was in the army and active in war.  She shared numerous examples of how life is a series of losses for the whole family.

This woman; in her early 30’s with a job, children and husband who is struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other concerns.  From the outside looking in you do not know there are any problems in this family.

Problems do exist, including components of grief and loss.  This woman mentioned losses such as;

  • the partner she knew prior to his going to war (personality, temperament etc.) is gone
  • the family she had hoped for is gone
  • the security she had (financially, emotionally, mentally etc.) is gone
  • the dreams for the future as she had envisioned them are gone

Individuals such as children, spouses, parents, grandparents, friends, co-workers and more, are affected by a veteran’s traumas from the experiences of war.  This realization may go undiagnosed but there is help.

One area of support for veterans and their families is the Operational Stress Injury Social Support Program.  I have listed a few sites below to get you started if you need information for yourself or someone you care about.  Peer support for a veteran or a family member may be an important step in the healing process for all concerned.

One newsletter mentioned working together as a team to better understanding what each individual is going through.

Veterans Affairs Canada http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/contact

Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) Program

Contact persons http://www.osiss.ca/en/contact.html

  • There is a map on this page with different locations flagged.
  • Under the map is a list of locations and the contact person.
  • For FAMILY members there may be a person listed, if not connect with the person identified for your area and they will be able to direct you to the appropriate FAMILY support person

Newsletters http://www.osiss.ca/en/newsletters.html

  • Several articles to help understand the stress associated with OSI

“Information is powerful.  Being informed empowers.”

All my best,

Barbara Gillett Saunders