Messages Home: Feb. 18, 2009

February 18, 2009 by

From Loretta Jasper, CSJ, who is working for a month at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany. To learn more about her mission, click HERE.

Monday being a Federal Holiday–President’s Day on the Army post–I had an extended weekend. A colleague and I drove two hours to Neudstadt to peruse the crystal factory which houses the craftsman glass blower. The crystal of Bavaria, placed beside that of the Czech Republic, is distinct.

Lunch in the town of Neustadt was simple. The Coca Cola was more than the price of the supersized gyros–2-Euros. Interesting, huh! Why a gyros, you say…that is Greek. Yes, but we wanted to eat at a table inside rather than purchase our lunch item from the counter and take it with us.

Of course the countryside is always so beautiful…much like the Flint Hills with the tall pole pines in intermittant spots.
The folks with whom I have been meeting as a consultant include the following:

a) A couple reunited on base after four months return from his second deployment to Iraq. There are many arguments among them at this point. He lacks empathy and emotion other than anger and frustration. She is upset because he is without feeling and she cannot rely on him to assist with the household.

This morning they are (hopefully) following my encouragement to participate in a two hour workshop for couples entitled Battlemind. The intent? To provide the soldier and spouse with the shifts which take place between deployment and return from battle for both the soldier and spouse.

I will meet with them again in a couple of days to move them along a bit more.

The soldier (a staff sargeant) said to me during the session: “Do you think this might be a good thing for folks I am responsible for?” Blunted and shielded while in order to sustain the battlefield, and have difficulty knowing that life at home does not require the same mindset, and do not know how to make the shift.

b) A woman, newly married in August, trained and educated as a music teacher in the USA moved with spouse within the past week. She is trying to find her place on post and as a spouse in the military. She also came to Germany with medical concerns which she opted to wait until she arrived here in order to move her plane travels along a bit more. She would need to stay in the USA six months post surgery due to the effect of flying on her surgery. I stumbled upon her yesterday totally frustrated about navigating through the hoops of the Army as a spouse. Me? I pointed her to buildings, resources, means for self care, ways to create healthy meals using a microwave, support options.

c) Sometimes I merely listen with individual staff as they continue to tend to the challenges of post-deployment, human loss, keeping up with the arising needs within the position/household.

d) One staff/mother rents a bed and breakfast in her locale for a week each time her son returns from deployment “on block leave–for a month” to the USA. She invites all friends and family of her son to drop in overnight, for days to join in time with her son. Requirement? fun, bring your food and linens, or rent them. This mother is in a position to have her son share all of the details of his time on the battlefield as a medic, which prevents overload for him. She herself has a way to process the issues and concerns he shares.

THIS IS NOT OVER. My role here? To hopefully be about a bit of heart mending for a few folks. I am not on a stop the war mission–not my role, nor do I share my opinions about the war–not my role, or why I am here.

Loretta Jasper

Comments

2 Responses to “Messages Home: Feb. 18, 2009”

  1. Jeanette Wasinger, csj on March 15th, 2009 11:22 am

    Loretta, what a healing presence you were in Germany! The stories you told must be just a few of many personal situations you encountered. I will be eager to hear more. And, your wisdom and experience in helping people process their lives is evident in what you wrote. Thank you.

    Jeanette Wasinger

  2. Suzanne on February 18th, 2009 9:20 am

    Loretta, I just caught up with all of your journal. Your csj website has been down for a few days. Your experiences are so rich. What an experience! Take in every minute and cherish it.

    I pray that you can do some heart mending which seems to be so important.

    You are now a front page star on your website!!!….smile.
    Take care,
    Suzanne

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