A documentary by Karen van Vuuren
Go In Peace! is a film about caring for veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder who are facing serious illness or death.
Why We Need This Film1 in 4 deaths is a veteran death (US) 1100 World War II veterans die every day (internationally) Korean War veterans are approaching their end of life Nearly 400 Vietnam veterans die every day.
- They deserve our understanding
- They deserve our compassion
- They deserve our care
The goals of Go in Peace!
The goals are:
1) to CREATE UNDERSTANDING about the behavior of vets with PTSD when they are facing their own mortality.
2) to SHOW CAREGIVERS HOW TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT that allows veterans to find peace within themselves vis a vis their past.
PTSD affects veterans physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The symptoms can manifest most strongly when a person is facing serious illness or death. Director, Karen van Vuuren’s witnessed how past (undiagnosed) trauma influenced her own father’s dying process. Jack van Vuuren, a World War II veteran, is the inspiration for this film.
van Vuuren’s father, a 77-year-old Dutchman, waited until his dying day to share the most soul-shattering of his World War II experiences. As a fourteen-year-old youth, he and his best friend strangled a young German soldier who was stationed in their occupied village in Holland. Jack’s confession came out of the blue, mixed with anger and remorse. “That German guard was probably just some young kid who had joined up and really didn’t know what he was getting into – but he was the enemy, and we were suffering, so we killed him!” he said.
A huge weight had lifted from his heart when he spoke those words. He had never shared any detail about his war-time experiences because he’d never been provided with a safe container in which to do so. He had buried those painful stories deep within his soul out of fear of what he would unleash by telling them.
van Vuuren recognized the symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in her father too late. It was only when his subconscious rose to the fore, unbidden, during his last phase of dying, that he felt compelled to share some of the burden of his turbulent adolescence. That was when she understood how much he’d been affected by that time. She wished she’d been more oriented towards the probable origins of his behavioral volatility, his addictions (that stayed with him until his last days), his inability to bare his soul and accept intimacy, the hard time he had just being with himself and being still.
As a caregiver with hospice experience, van Vuuren has seen how blessed are those whose hearts and souls are whole at the time of their death (those who are able to find forgiveness of themselves and others.) She believes it is important to bring true compassion to the bedside of the sick and the dying, and in doing so, create opportunities for deep healing.