Most corpsmen count the number lost, not the number saved. My number is too high to list, though I have stars that say different. "If Only I'd. . ." still wakes me at night, though the shadows are quieter and going away since I've gotten a couple (not one, you can trust two maube, not one, so I have three) good dogs. 3/3 says there's something there -- usually a deer, but you can be ready and not surprised by family or company. Ever, and that's a good thing!
As the wife of a Viet Nam vet, I began to accompany my husband on the annual Fallen Warrior Foundation retreats in 1999 after he had hit the wall struggling to manage his PTSD. He had reached the point of feeling that there were few, if any, options left. After our first experience it became immediately apparent that what we learned was going to be highly beneficial to him, to our family, our marriage, and to me. I have attended 8 of the past 11 retreats. Three with my husband and five after his death several years ago. I return year after year because I, as a "veteran wife," feel the need to support and be supported by a wonderful group of caring and compassionate people. In an era when everything seems to be on double fast forward, it is remarkable how beneficial it is to receive instruction on how to slow down, shut up, sit quietly, breathe...how to create a different relationship with our thoughts and that which sends us spinning. My being a part of this particular veteran community is a privledge. I am honored by the legacy that my husband left to me.
To whom it may concern, My name is Michael Sills and my father is a Vietnam veteran. I attended the Fallen Warriors retreat because I was having difficulty coming to terms with that relationship. Furthermore, it was an exceptionally difficult time in my life – in short, I had recently survived a bout with cancer, had become disabled and was stagnating. My time at the retreat was very personal and it is difficult for me to write about. However, the experience was, for lack of better words, spiritual: initially painful, then cleansing and, ultimately, healing. It was one of the defining moments in my life.
I was introduced to the Veterans Retreat organized by the Fallen Warriors Foundation by my counselor at the Tacoma, WA Vet Center (a prior attendee) in 2003. I have missed only one retreat since due to scheduling problems. The meditation practice lead by Claude-Anshin Thomas has made a major difference in my ability to function with my Vietnam combat induced PTSD. My wife has attended two retreats as well and it made a positive difference in our relationship. I have actively promoted the retreat among my acquaintences and last year intoduced it to two new Vet Center counselors, who plan to go back as well. Colleen and Jack have for years carried this project on their backs and are two of the most straightforward, emotionally honest, and compassionate people I have ever met.
I have attended the Fallen Wariors Retreat at least 5 or 6 times, starting in 1998, when I first was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of my year as a nurse in Viet Nam in 1970-71. Each and every time I have attended, the 4 days have been not only 'gut wrenching', and full of tears, but also very healing. I have to say that because of the Fallen Warriors Foundation sponsoring the retreats, I am still here today, a survivor, and at PEACE with my war experience
I have attended meditation retreats that were organized by Fallen Warriors Foundation. Not only have the retreats been very beneficial toward my own personal military experiences and their manifestation in my life today, my family and friends have benefited as well. Because Fallen Warriors have taken the risk of securing a retreat site without a financial commitment from the Veterans attending, I was able to benefit. I see how difficult it is to host the retreat when there are so many Veterans and their friends and families deciding to attend at the last minute. In addition, I received financial assistance for a partial scholarship to attend the retreat.
Dear Fallen Warriors Foundation, I am happy to recommend the Fallen Warriors Foundation as a not-for-profit organization helping veterans. The Fallen Warriors Retreat I attended was a benefit to me in many ways. As a combat veteran of Vietnam era, I was highly motivated in seeking help to understand what I had experienced in combat. I can't say it was a particular therapy or the leader that gave me a sense of safety, but a sharing of experiences with other veterans and learning to listen to them, changed me. I would give Fallen Warriors Foundation a 5 of 5 stars on any chart. I would attend again. I'm impressed enough with what the Fallen Warriors Foundation has done for veterans, that we started, (Jan 2010), a version of the Fallen Warriors Retreats here in Gilpin County Colorado. So yes, what Colleen O'Callaghan and Jack Estes have put together is of value and would be a big hole for many veterans if it were not available. Sincerely, Deni Darby Gilpin County Veterans Service Officer 2960 Dory Hill Rd. Suite 100 Black Hawk, Colorado 80422 (303) 582-5444 ex 1103
I am a disabled veteran of the Vietnam conflict and was diagnosed with PTSD in late 2000. After about a year of therapy my therapist told me of the Fallen Warriors retreat and suggested that I might find it useful. After much trepidation I attended my first of 8 or 9 retreats facilitated by Claude An Shin Thomas. The impact that these retreats have had upon me are beyond measure. The combination of quiet meditation and deep listening and thoughtful reflection help cut through the blockages that separate us from our true reality.
I was having a lot of trouble with nightmares, outbursts of rage, the usual PTSD symptoms. I attended a Fallen Warriors retreat and the work we did, writing, meditating, talking in groups about our experiences, all were a tremendous help to me. They emphasized no particular religion, but there was a Buddhist monk there who'd been a Vietnam veteran. Being able to ask him questions, how he dealt with the really big issues (like killing people), was exceedingly helpful. I came away not cured of PTSD, but confident that I could be, and having a group of people that I could stay in contact with. Very helpful to me.
I've attended two meditation retreats hosted by the Fallen Warriors Foundation on Veteran's Day weekend. The retreat is led by two mendicant Zen practitioners and is intended for Veterans and their families. While at this retreat I've met amazing people who have shared their experiences with me, as I have shared mine with them. Without the Fallen Warriors Foundation, I wouldn't have had such an opportunity.