Veterans Day

11 Nov

Letterbalm Soldier in SilhouetteDear LetterBalm: I have a close friend whose dad is in the Army and on his third tour in Afghanistan, after two tours in Iraq. She worries about him every day – she’s 15, and he’s been serving for half her life. She’s also very angry that he’s away so much, which is making her act out to her mom and friends. She says that he’s done enough for his country and it’s about time he should be with her and her mom. Her mother doesn’t think she needs help. I’m trying to be a good friend, but I’m giving up on what to say to her. Can you help me?

–Soldier’s Daughter’s Friend

Since today is Veterans Day, it’s appropriate to remember that military service affects many more people than just the serving individual. Ms. L.B. trusts you’re talking to your school guidance counselor, a trusted adult or a parent (and all three if you don’t think they’re taking you seriously enough) – anyone who will hear you and respond. Your friend is in trouble. She needs comfort, support and, probably, therapy to help her cope with her feelings of anger, resentment and abandonment. An adult needs to talk with her mom to get your friend on the road to health. But you can help by listening to your friend, inviting her to hang out at your house, keeping her spirits up and letting her know you’ll speak up for her:

Holly, you’re a really good friend, and I know you’re pretty sad and angry these days. I don’t know if I could bear my dad being away for most of my life. That must be really hard. You’re worried about your dad’s safety, too. Please don’t be mad at me for saying this, but I think you’ve got a lot of stress and need to talk to someone professional who can help you because you’re hurting a lot. I want you to know that I will always stick up for you and listen when you want to talk. If you ever need anything, I’m always here.

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