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Songs & Stuff PTSD and the Veteran                                                                     

     America

I was in the Army when soldiering wasn’t viewed as cool,
And American policy was being dictated
By a bunch of spoiled kids in school.
They shipped us far away, heavy with armaments,
Our manhood bloomed in fear,
Where uncertainty was certain, death was always close,
Yet our honor we held so dear.
While our rock and roll heroes sang their songs of protest,
Anger and disgust,
They forgot the road to freedom is sometimes stained with blood,
They forgot the words “America we trust”.
 But America I would do it all again, do it all again if you asked me,
America I would do it all again,
And hope that my young sons, and hope that my young sons will never have to.
 America, while your sons of wealth and power
Stayed at home in school,
They cursed us with their words, dishonored us with deeds,
They stayed back and lived by different rules.
We arrived home on late night flights,
Cloaked in darkened skies,
There were no cheering crowds to greet us,
No victory banners, to meet our weary eyes.
And now in Washington there stands a wall of granite,
It pains me so to see,
There’s over fifty-thousand faceless names on it,
And they weigh heavily on me.
 But America I would do it all again, do it all again if you asked me,
America I would do it all again,
And I hope that my young sons, hope that my young sons will never have to.
 

"Hole In My Soul"
I ponder through the corridors of memory,
Searching for the one who swore she'd never leave.
I see her in the mist, she's running wild
I want to pull her close, so close
That wounded child, wounded child.
What's that in her eyes, is that hate for me?
Why have we built this wall of eternity?
What are the lessons here that I must know
As I watch my tears falling through
A hole in my soul, in my soul......

Forsaken
Hold on, cling tightly to those you have given life.
For somewhere, forsaken, dust now,
Lay the one you discarded.
For him or her, there is no comfort,
Only sorrow and abandonment.
I too, know the pain of your betrayal.
But, not THAT pain.
I cannot fathom the pain felt by one,
Whose life ended,
By his own mother.

Broken Promises
Somewhere from the darkness
A tiny voice is heard....
"Don't leave me"
Silence.
A door closes.
The child weeps.

"Myself"

As I come to know and love another
I must not lose myself,
My own sense of importance and worth,
My ability to stay separate and free.
I must not lose my relationship to myself,
And others important to me.
I must love myself so I may love others.

Paul J. Greiner

 

 

You're In Pain

Who do you think you're foolin' with that Kool-Aid colored hair?
Tattered clothes worn like a badge, pretending you don't care.
Who do you think your're foolin'?
Your life's become insane.
Everything about you, tells me, you're in pain.

Who do you think you're foolin' with those tatooes on your skin?
You ride chariots of chivalry called Harley Davison.
You carry lethal weapons and your life is so insane,
Everything about you only shouts out,
You're in pain.

When you gonna wake up and put down that disguise?
Put away your make up, and see your life has become lies.

Who do you think you're foolin' with your badge and uniform?
You think that gun and billy club makes you a better man.

You feed your fear filled ego everytime you make a bust,
But the gun, the badge, and billy club,
Don't make you better, than the rest of us.

 

Grief: Dealing with Loss

I remember sitting around with my former wife, Sue, and some family members at a get together of some kind. We were having a conversation about how lucky we were as a family because we had not yet experienced the loss of any immediate family members.  I recall thinking about that and looking around. I looked over and saw my mother, with her usual cigarette burning, sitting and talking to someone. My dad was there too, close by her, ready to assist her in any way he could. My sister Betty Lou was there, sitting off by herself, observing, occasionally interacting with those around her. I spotted Louie, my older brother, walking around, drink in hand, playing the clown as he often did. Many other family members were there also. I remember smiling to myself and thinking, "Yes, we are lucky. What a great family, what a good time." The evening moved along and we chatted, drank, and laughed. It was a good time and the memory brings a warm feeling to me. That was just over a decade ago.

From that moment in time to right now, much has changed. In 1987, I experienced the loss of my wife Sue, through divorce. My father died in 1991 and my sister Betty Lou died three months later. My mother died in 1995 and my brother Louie in 1999. In May of 2000, on Mothers Day, my wife, Eve, asked for a divorce. For me and my family, the last decade has been one of significant loss, significant contact with some of the most difficult aspects of life.

 

Loss and Grief are common to all of us. From the time we are born, we experience loss in many ways. We lose family members, friends, acquaintances, and pets through death. We move to new locations, experience divorce, lose fortunes, cars, and other possessions. We leave our childhood behind through the natural aging process and at other times, quite unnaturally through trauma and abuse. We lose our innocence, sometimes our enthusiasm, and sometimes our direction. Thus, we grieve, we suffer, we experience pain.

Through times of loss and in the aftermath, it is important for us to experience the grief, make room for it in our lives, and to heal. It has been important for me to see that if there is any one binding force, any one commonality to us all, it is loss and grief. But, in our culture, grief and its effects are not very well understood. We are not taught to handle it well. We are taught that we should move on quickly after a loss. We learn to put our losses behind us, stuff our pain, and to think positively. Thus we often try to shield those around us by not recognizing how affected we are by a loss and the grief that follows. We keep up appearances. We may drink too much. We may "keep a stiff upper lip", or we may try to appear strong for those around us. In short, we deny our feelings of sorrow. Such denial is unhealthy.

Suggested Readings:
"Seat of the Soul" Gary Zukav
"The Grief Recovery Handbook"