Back to the light. Stories of healing from trauma

Editors: G. Cinelli, P. Piredda, E. Tick, S. Tobia

Editorial Board: C. Aishi Blocher, K. Dahlstedt, N. Graeser, L. Markworth, D. McCasland, G. Miller, R. Runyan, F. Striegel

The winding stair, by Patrizia Piredda©

The suffering inflicted by war on all living creatures – people, animals, the earth itself – is one of the heaviest burdens of any conflict. It continues long after hostilities have ceased and it echoes through the generations. Suffering can be physical when caused by injuries, wounds, and mutilation. It can be moral, due to the deeds that one has performed, endured, or witnessed. And it can be spiritual because war involves killing, the most extreme form of violence that a human being can willingly perpetrate. It transforms the personality and penetrates the depths of the soul.  

Traumatic memories are not something to lock away and never look at again. Wounds heal and leave scars, which may even fade. However, they never disappear in the eyes and hearts of those who carry them. The most difficult achievement in healing and homecoming after the war is for all survivors – veterans, loved ones, and civilians caught in the conflict – to learn how to live with them, accept their indelible presence, make meaning, and gain wisdom from them. When accepted, scars can even become a factor of beauty. They make faces and bodies interesting. They tell stories and reveal profound fathoms of experience and transformation.

Visible and invisible scars also mark those who just see or live among them day by day – partners, spouses, children, relatives, and friends of those who have been badly injured. No matter how close or distant, war injures everyone touched by its scorching fires.

Sunshine, by Patrizia Piredda©

Healing is a complex process of reassessment, atonement, and recomposing. Healing from the traumatic wounds of war, visible and invisible, is a painstaking endeavour that takes years and passes through gradual steps. It includes periods of doubt, the expression of accumulated pain, and the acceptance of a difficult destiny. Finally, it brings relief and permits one to retrieve the fullness of one’s personality. Then one can find new meaning, purpose, and some new form of service to the restoration of life. Only then can the heart and soul truly come home.

The Close Encounters in War Journal is committed to supporting those who, injured by war, are willing to share the stories of their difficult journey towards healing. Telling one’s experience of suffering and the effort it took to turn it into growth, self-awareness, and wisdom is a gift to all who are willing to listen. The listener, too, is initiated and transformed.

We invite veterans, their families, practitioners, and all those who have lived in the shadow of war and have found their way to share their stories of healing from trauma, to come back to the light.

If you wish to submit your story, please contact us at