Warfare can take a toll on anyone, both physically and mentally. Though life itself is teeming with little battles that must be faced head-on and conquered, such is only a mild analogy compared to those who fought actual combat. To live a life in constant substantial awareness of one’s mortality, to dwell on a mindset that anytime you might go, that it could be your last breath, this must be quite nerve-wracking and mind-altering.
To have a sibling that’s considered a bonafide war veteran should inspire mixed emotions at the least, both an honor and a cause for great concern. The fact that your sibling is called a war veteran is a blessing in itself; most of them, their fears came true, written under the label ‘casualties of war.’
Here are ways you can give back to your sibling who is a war veteran:
War veterans have stories to tell if only someone would listen. Of the triumphs, the laughter amidst the smell of death, the near-miss, the comrades and brothers who were there, the feelings they felt, the fears, the anxiety, the tears, and the joy. It might be a little task or just humor, but this would mean the world to them.
To find time in a busy schedule or obligations would be something they would appreciate. A phone call or a text to remind them that they are special is important to them. Such a little gesture of giving time does not take a lot of your time. A greeting, a hello, a postcard, or a sincerely written letter. These are little ways to offer some time.
Visit them or invite them. It can be for an occasion, vacation, or maybe just because it’s a Sunday. To see them or to be seen by them while they’re still time is a wondrous gift itself. Presence can never replace any technological miracles.
Send something you would think they’d like or a thing you would like to give. It could be for a hobby, a necessity, or old photographs. A physical gift sends more than an item itself, for with the gift comes the assumption of the manifestation of the sincerity of your thoughts, and that you remember, and that you care.
Ask if there’s something that you can help them with. It could be to pay a bill, to fix something, to sit for a pet, to buy food, or to prepare a pleasant cup of hot drink. Help them collect their long-term disability claims. It’s not every day that you see each other; separate lives have established required spaces. So a little errand that you can help with could be a big thing for them.
Tell your sibling you care and more. Speak to them of words that are from the heart and that would soothe the soul. Words are always important, and they give comfort and assurance that they’re cared for and remembered. That they are not just drifting alone, they are with you; they have a friend, an ally, a caring sibling.
Write down memories of yours with your sibling, and if applicable and possible, of your siblings’ memories with you. Recall the days and moments, those simple seconds before life happened, when a seemingly different world and life began. Memories are healthy for the mind and the human spirit. Talk of the once was, and the once were, the candies you used to eat, the things that used to annoy you, all these recollections might seem quite distant and out of reach, but only for a moment, they can be felt, as clear as day, like it was just yesterday. The past is just a conversation away.
Get rid of the doubts in your sibling’s mind, the fears that might haunt you at night when dreaming. Affirm the undeniable fact that you’re there, always, that there’s no need or requirement to feel alone. Such emotion is unnecessary when the truth is far from it. Sometimes, a little reminder or affirmation of our affection and care can mean a lot. Be a friend.
Be more than a friend, cause whether you both like it or not, you are bound by something much stronger and unbreakable, not even by any war. You are your sibling’s family, and that is sacred. It is one of the good things that’s left in this careless world. Time may have taken some members of the family, and eventually, time will come knocking on any of your doors too. So while there’s still time, make the most of it, and be a family.
Show what a sibling’s love looks like. That there is nothing like it, it’s a class of its own, and it’s a bond that knows no bounds. That it’s irreplaceable, that others may come and go, but whether you both like it or not, a sibling remains to be a sibling no matter what.
There are many ways you can give back to your war veteran sibling. To have served for one’s country is no easy feat, from the rigid survival training to the actual survival itself. The real support that war veterans need may vary in forms, such as government aid or private compensation. However, the most important is the family’s support and care. Many others have respect and gratefulness for the service rendered for the country, and it would be a shame that the direct family won’t appreciate this.
To fight for the country is just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone who fights on the front lines is also fighting for their loved ones.