ANZAC DAY 2020 – For the Veterans
Kylie Beattie | Friday, April 24th, 2020
| Family Support | PTSD | Relationships |
For me personally Anzac Day brings up a lot of memories of my father Major Bradley Richards who sadly passed four years ago this May. His years of service brought many incredible memories, some he would share, many he wouldn't, it also brought up a lot of difficult feelings that at times I saw him struggle with.
I am sharing this updated post one year on but in such different circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of traditional Anzac Day services for the first time since World War II but it is still Anzac Day and we will honour and remember them as we should.
Growing up as the daughter of an Army officer, my life was very much that of an army child. We moved a lot and my father went away for long periods of time. I still have a photo of the night we learnt he would be going to Iran the next morning for 7 months and that we would have little contact or know exactly where he was. As a child, I couldn’t comprehend the depths of what my father went through and was only present for part of the 21 years he served. But as I grew and saw him through adult eyes, I developed a deep compassion and understanding for why he drank, why he got so depressed and why he felt so much pain.
" I developed a deep compassion and understanding for why he drank, why he got so depressed and why he felt so much pain".
While PTSD, substance abuse and mental health issues in the army are spoken about more candidly there is still a long way to go in reducing the stigma of getting help when it's needed. Seeking help is not only important for the person suffering, but critical for the families in which they belong. It was not common for my father to talk about his feelings, but as time went on I could see that things were not so easily managed with a few drinks and his body was showing the signs of carrying his difficulty without any professional support. Sadly this led to his sudden death, far too young just days after his 62nd birthday.
Having seen the effects of trauma on my father and felt its ripples through our family system it is not only deeply satisfying but a great honour to now provides a program that helps veterans move forward in a better way. I am constantly blown away by the willingness of the veterans to face their trauma in such a raw and real way and the love they have for those close to them.
While my father didn’t seek treatment in his lifetime, he lived an honourable life and was the perfect father for me. With all he carried my father still helped us in the construction of Byron Private and I know how proud he would be of the work we do. While I would have preferred a father who was imperfect and alive I am so incredibly grateful for the years I had with him and that he got to see the fruition of the centre.
It was even more touching that our first veteran through the program arrived just two days after my fathers passing. I feel him at the centre and remember him today as a big part of the goodness that is there.
My wish this Anzac Day is that those people who are struggling find the support they need and not feel they have to suffer alone.
Today I remember and honour the servicemen and servicewoman who carry incredible burdens and the families who love them.
As founder and Managing Director of Byron Private, Kylie has played a vital role in the vision, establishment and development of Byron Private Treatment Centre.
Kylie holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Counselling) and has completed extensive studies in Family Systemic Constellation work, a cornerstone element of therapy for clients of Byron Private. Kylie began her own journey in recovery over 18 years ago from disordered eating and addiction and understands first hand the challenges and wonder of recovery.
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