On the lead up to Anzac Day as we remember those men and women who gave their lives in times of conflict, it sometimes leaves those of us who are impacted by their absence with a sense of melancholy – reflecting on times when they were in our lives and the impossible desire for them to be with us again. For those who served with them, complex emotions far deeper than melancholia can be experienced and a profound sense of loss, guilt and shame may engulf their very being. These feeling can often continue well after the memorial day itself and in the case of veterans, perhaps for a lifetime.
Traditionally we mask these feelings with what has become synonymous with the Anzac icon of alcohol and gambling mixed with mate-ship and larrikinism. But for many of the older veterans who experienced the atrocities of war, some prefer not to talk about it let alone participate in the commemorations because the experience is so painful.
Today’s generation may be left with the hallmarks of this unjustified carried shame and pain simply through exposure to the energy that was in the family unit as they grew. All of us to some degree have an inherent connection to the scares of war, whether we have directly participated in it or not. Unconsciously, our feelings can cause us to disassociate from reality and the remnant of this exposure can manifest itself in sometimes dysfunctional behaviour through our daily lives, infecting our loved ones of all ages, even the innocent.
So it’s effective to take time out and reflect on Anzac Day – honour the fallen, express our gratitude with the survivors, empathise and acknowledge those who are impacted – but most of all, to honour and acknowledge our own feelings at this time and importantly be gentle with ourselves.
For those who are experiencing disassociative feelings or even a sense of melancholia over this season, we would like to offer the prospect, as our name suggests, to enhance connections in your life and an opportunity to be gentle with yourself.