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Soldier & Family Times

Volume 8 issue 12

December 2016

SURVIVOR OUTREACH SERVICES ACS/SOS Hours Mon  -    Fri 8:00  am    -    4:30  pm Holidays:  CLOSED Be  aware  of  closing  due  to           inclement  weather The  AER  Office  will  take  the   last  walk-in  at  3:00pm After  hours  Emergencies  call   the  RED  CROSS 877-272-7337 Inside this Issue: HOW To Do Christmas Deployment


Director’s Corner


Cont. from Pg. 1


AFTB on Line/Immigration & New Comers


AFTB/Financial 5 Readiness Classes/ (SHARP) What is Sexual Harassment (SHARP) Cont. from Pg.5




Ft. Hamilton Market /Tree Lighting & Children’s Christmas


SOS Info.  Board (Poem) How grateful I would be just to have one more day


Advice for Surviving the Death of a Spouse or Partner at a young age


Cont. from Pg. 10


(NAVY) Gold Star Mothers, families to be Honored


Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting


Gold Star Widow of Green Beret Army Master SGT Finds Resilience


Cont. form Pg. 14


Names of our Fallen Heroes


How To Do Christmas Deployment Military .com

I was  born  holiday  blessed.  Yet  the  moment  I  married  into   the  military,  I  became  holiday  cursed.  My  husband  has   deployed  four  times  over  Christmas,  suffered  travel  orders   every  December,  and  always  pulled  the  duty  section  that   worked  on  Christmas  Day. I  would  like  to  say  I  was  always  completely  OK  with  this   particular  chain  of  events.    Indeed,  I  was  not.  So  I  took   notes  from  spouses  who  seemed  like  they  knew  what  they   were  doing  when  it  came  to  celebrating  Christmas  or  Hanukkah  or  Kwanza  or  Winter             Solstice  alone. If  you  are  going  through  your  first  or  second  or  fifth  holiday  deployment,  here  are  some  of   the  things  we  hear  from  our  readers  that  really  help  couples  get  through  the   holidays: Carry  Kleenex During  our  first  Christmas  deployment,  every  time  I  thought  of  my  husband  on  the  ship   alone  at  Christmas,  I  overflowed  with  tears.  I  couldn’t  imagine  anything  more  lonely.  I  was   all  of  22.  So  every  time  I  saw  something  that  reminded  me  of  Christmas,  I  imagined  my       darling  and  burst  into  tears  (which  is  why  I  think  certain  people  should  not  be  married  at  22   …  just  sayin’.) Other  people  did  not  understand  this.  Other  people  never  really  understand  what  it  feels  like   to  have  your  loved  one  deployed  over  the  holidays.  Our  readers  say  that  a  Deployment   Christmas  happens  to  you  alone  --  even  if  you  live  in  a  town  populated  by  other  deploying   military  families.  No  one  can  help  you  with  this  more  than  you  can  help  yourself.  So  carry   your  own  Kleenex  and  keep  moving  forward. Drink  Of  The  Milk  of  Human  Kindness During  a  holiday  deployment,  you  will  be  surrounded  by  opportunities  to  enjoy  the  holidays   with  other  people.  School  concerts,  holiday  pageants,  parties  at  work  and  volunteer                       opportunities  will  happen  just  like  they  do  when  your  service  member  is  at  home.  Don’t   avoid  the  kindness  of  other  people  just  because  you  are  alone.  Decide  you  will  attend                 everything  you  are  invited  to  for  at  least  one  hour.  Then  you  can  go  home  if  you  want  and   drink  of  the  milk  called  Egg  Nog  and  Skype  your  darling.. Cool  It  On  The  Care  Packages Depending  on  where  your  service  member  is  stationed,  they  may  not  have  space  for  a  lot  of   stuff  you  send  in  a  care  package.  Now  is  the  time  to  talk  about  what  your  service  member   wants  most  --  which  will  be  YOU.  And  a  bunch  of  other  stuff  that  cannot  go  in  a  care           package.  Hear  that  and  know  that  this  means  you  are  not  required  to  send  them  something   that  will  make  them  so  happy  that  they  will  not  notice  they  are  deployed  on  Dec.  25.  That   isn’t  possible.  Instead,  take  some  of  the  pressure  off  and  send  the  little  things  that  say  you   care.

Cont. on Pg. 3

ACS Programs & Staff ACS Director Carmen  Borrero   718-630-4457   Army  Emergency         Relief   Madeline  Pastorella   John  Mapes   718-630-4754   Deployment/                         Mobilization   Relocation  Readiness   Madeline  Pastorella   718-630-4462   Survivor  Outreach                 Services   Jacqueline  Prince   718-630-4467/4754  

Family Advocacy Exceptional  Family           Member  Program Victim  Advocacy   (Vacant) (718-630-4754) Sexual  Harassment,   Assault  &  Response   Prevention  (SHARP) (Vacant) 718-630-4520 Sexual  Assault  24/7   Helpline   347-452-4302 DoD  Safe  Helpline   24/7 877-995-5247

  Army  Volunteer  Corps   Employment               Readiness   Financial  Readiness   John  Mapes   718-630-4498   Army  Family  Team         Building Army  Family  Action   Plan (Vacant) Front  Desk/                         Information  &                 Referral   Loan  Closet


We are located in BLDG 137-C Poly Place Suite-1A, Brooklyn, NY 11252 Across the MEPS Station parking lot. Tall white BLDG. to the left side of the PX/Exchange. You cant miss it!

directors corner “ Diversity is not about how we differ.

Diversity is about embracing one another's uniqueness." – Ola Joseph Carmen Borrero Page 2

Related: The Ho-Ho-Ho  Holiday  Care  Package  Guide The  Care  Package  Post  Office  Survival  Guide Care  Package  Ideas Gather  Your  Team Ask  yourself  where  you  will  feel  happiest  on  the  big  day  --  at  home?  With  family?  With  friends?  Then  go  there.  When  my   kids  were  age  8  and  4,  I  wanted  them  to  have  Santa  surrounded  by  lots  of  people  who  loved  them.  So  I  packed  everything  and   went  to  my  parents'  house  even  though  my  neighbors  thought  I  was  crazy  to  take  on  the  trip.  My  brothers  spontaneously         decided  we  would  have  an  all-day  Monopoly  tournament  Christmas  Day,  which  really  distracted  me  from  the  fact  my                 husband  was  gone.  Yay  for  awesome  brothers! Do  It  For  The  Kids During  my  husband’s  last  deployment  Christmas,  I  wished  Christmas  would  just  not  come  that  year.  I  wished  we  could  skip   it.  Instead,  I  had  an  eight-year-old  who  gave  me  the  countdown  to  Christmas  every  single  day.  His  sister  wanted  to  bake  a   bunch  of  cookies.  Their  brother  wanted  to  make  out  with  his  girlfriend  in  front  of  the  Christmas  tree.  Creating  holiday               memories  for  our  kids  was  the  motivation  I  needed  most.  My  husband  eagerly  read  the  emails  with  all  our  holiday  details  and   our  kids  remember  those  Deployed  Christmases  just  as  happily.  Totally  worth  it. Employ  Whackadoo  Holiday  Traditions One  of  the  things  about  being  a  military  family  at  the  holidays  is  that  you  often  have  to  improvise.  You  can’t  go  to  the  same   holiday  service  at  your  childhood  church  because  you  live  1,200  miles  away  from  your  childhood  church.  You  can’t  go  to  the   same  light  show  or  concert  you  saw  last  year  because  you  don’t  live  anywhere  near  where  you  lived  last  year. One  important  thing  grown  military  brats  say  that  made  the  difference  was  all  the  silly  holiday  traditions  their  parents  carried   from  house  to  house.  At  our  house,  we  wear  these  silky  robes  my  sailor  brought  home  from  Okinawa  one  year.  Our  managing   editor’s  family  looks  for  a  local  greasy  spoon  for  pancakes  on  Christmas  Eve  wherever  they  are  stationed.  One  of  our  bloggers   relies  on  new  pajamas  and  yet  another  showing  of  the  Griswold's  to  make  it  through  the  day.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat  until  a   tradition  is  made. Plan  Your  Endgame Sometimes  during  a  holiday  deployment  you  are  having  a  good  time.  Sometimes  you  have  just  had  enough  holiday  fun.   Sometimes  you  get  tired  of  trying  to  make  everyone  feel  better  about  your  holiday  situation.  Sometimes  all  this  happens       within  the  course  of  a  single  hour.  Cheryl  Gansner,  one  of  our  SpouseBuzz  bloggers,  says  that  the  most  positive  thing  you  can   do  for  yourself  is  to  set  a  boundary  for  when  it  is  OK  to  leave  the  festivities.  Telling  people  you  are  going  to  head  up  to  the   shower  (and  then  sneaking  off  to  bed)  is  usually  socially  acceptable.  Keeping  up  appearances  does  not  have  to  last  24/7. Talk  To  Your  Service  Member Our  readers  report  that  when  they  were  deployed  over  the  holiday,  the  command  went  all  out  to  provide  a  nice   meal  and  holiday  cheer.  Still,  it  was  just  another  day,  which  meant  they  could  sometimes  be  short  on  the  phone.  Or  a  little   irritable.  Or  hungry  for  every  single  detail  of  home.  Be  open  to  whatever  spirit  your  service  member  brings  to  the  phone  or   Skype  or  email  that  day.  You  are  “home”  to  them  and  this  is  a  great  day  to  celebrate  that. It  Is  Only  One  Day Our  readers  say  that  the  loneliest  moment  in  military  life  is  when  you  deliver  a  baby  on  your  own.  The  only  thing  that  is       lonelier  is  Christmas  Day  on  your  own.  The  last  time  we  did  a  deployment  holiday,  I  invited  our  usual  houseful  of  guests  --   our  kids,  the  boyfriends  and  girlfriends,  our  friends  the  Petersons,  the  Petersons'  visiting  mother-in-law.  I  had  them  all.  I   talked  to  my  husband  twice  that  day.  Everything  was  beautiful.  The  food  was  perfect  ...  and  I  found  myself  lingering  in  hall-­ ways,  as  if  I  could  slip  around  unnoticed,  uninvolved.  I  secretly  wanted  the  holiday  to  be  over  and  I  didn’t  want  anyone  else  to   know  about  it.  I  wanted  to  get  to  my  bed  and  call  Brad  and  have  him  tell  me  that  I  had  done  a  good  job.  That  he  was  proud  of   me.  That  we  would  be  together  next  year. Your  Turn  Next  Year December  holidays  roll  around  every  year  without  fail.  This  time  next  year  your  service  member  will  most  likely  be  home.   The  cookies  will  taste  a  little  crisper.  Your  tree  will  shine  a  little  brighter.  Your  holiday  hugs  will  be  a  little  warmer.  Use  this   holiday  apart  to  bring  your  family  closer  than  ever.

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AFTB Online! “Military  Life...What  does  it  mean?   Logon  @  and  click  the  “online   learning”  tab  in  the  upper  right  hand  corner  or  call   ACS  @  718-630-4754    for  more  information.   Army  Family  Team  Building  (AFTB)    Classes  are  open   to  all  Service  Members,  their  families  and  DoD                   Civilians

Mission Army Family  Team  Building  empowers  individuals,       maximizing  their  personal  growth  and  professional   development  through  specialized  training,                     transforming  our  community  into  a  resilient  and   strong  foundation  meeting  today’s  military  mission. AFTB  Instructor  Training   Interested  in  helping  Family  Members  learn  the   skills  they  need  to  cope  with  Army  life?  

Service provided  to  Active  Duty  Service  Members,  DOD             Civilians,  Retirees  and  their  Dependents. Please  be  advise  that  Dependents  Are  those  who  are  enrolled  in   DEERS!     To  schedule  an  appointment    call:    (718)  630-4462         Free  USCIS  DVD  and  CD’s  available  upon  request Due  to  the  High  Demand  of  this  Service,    Appointment  is  REQUIRED!!!

What is the Army Family Action Plan? Have you ever thought, "If the Army would just ask me how to fix this I could tell them?!" The AFAP  Program  gives  you  the  chance  to  do  just  that!  AFAP  boxes   are  located  in  the  following  areas.    Submit    your  issues  in  one  of       theses  locations:   ACS,  USO,  BBC  Housing  Office,  Visitor  Control  Center,  Barber   Shop,  Child  Development  Center,  Youth  Services,  I.D.  Office  and   Bowling  Center  or  by  the  Website  below.

The Army  Family  Action  Plan  (AFAP)  is  one  of  the  Army's                 principle  programs  put  in  place  to  ensure  that  standards  of  living  in   the  Army  keep  pace  with  changing  times.  AFAP  gives  Soldiers  (Active   Duty,  National  Guard  and  Reserve),  Retirees,  DA  civilians,  and  their   Training  is  conducted  at  the  Army  Community       Families  the  opportunity  to  let  Army  leadership  know  what  is             Services  Center  (ACS)  in  West  Point  NY. working  and  what  isn’t  and  their  ideas  about  what  will  fix  it. For  more  information  contact  West  Point  ACS  at:                                                 Go  to: 845-938-4621  or  633  -7084 Click  on  the  Family  Programs  and  Services  tab. Click  on  the  Army  Family  Action  Plan  and  Issue  Management             System  tab.  

Become a  Certified  Army  Family  Team  Building   Instructor.

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Financial Readiness Program

Financial Education Classes Offered to Service Members and their Families

Upcoming Classes:

                                                                                   8  December  2016  —  Savings  and  Investments                    17  November  2016  —  Planning  and  Budgeting All  classes  start  11:00  am  to  12:00  pm  in  the  ACS  Conference  Room,  Building  137–  C  Poly  Place

                                 To  schedule  an  appointment:  Call:  John  Mapes  at  718-630-4754/4498  or  e-mail Employment Readiness Program Employment Readiness Classes offered to Service Members and Families.

Upcoming Class: 15 December 2016 - Federal Employment & Resumes Class starts at 11:00 am (1 hr. class) in the ACS Conference Room, Building 137C.

To schedule appointment: Call: 718-630-4754 or e-mail

                                                                                                                         What  is  Sexual  Harassment? How  Teens  Can  Recognize  and  Deal  With  Sexual  Harassment. By  Eric  Metcalf,  MPH WebMD  Feature

Reviewed by  Hansa  D.  Bhargava,  MD

A new  girl  starts  at  a  high  school  and  soon  begins  dating  a  guy.  They  break  up.  Other  students  start  calling  her  names   and      spreading  sex-related  rumors  about  her.  Even  though  her  teachers  know  what's  going  on,  they  ignore  it. This  isn't  just  bullying.  It's  sexual  harassment.  And  if  this  happens  to  you,  you  shouldn't  put  up  with  it. Here's  what  you  need  to  know  about  sexual  harassment,  and  how  to  deal  with  it. What  Does  Sexual  Harassment  Look  Like? Sexual  harassment  comes  in  many  forms,  says  Susan  Fineran,  PhD.  She's  a  professor  at  the  University  of  Southern   Maine  who  studies  this  problem. Sexual  harassment  includes: 

Name calling.  Insults  related  to  a  person's  sexuality  are  a  form  of  sexual  harassment.  This  includes  calling                             someone  a  "slut,"  "gay,"  or  a  "fag,"  Fineran  says.  It  doesn't  matter  who's  saying  it,  or  whether  the  person  being           harassed  is  gay  or  straight,  male  or  female.  What  matters  is  that  you're  using  those  words  to  insult  them  --  that   makes  it  harassment.  Unwanted  touching.  If  someone  touches  a  gir l' s  br easts  and  she' s  not  OK  with  it,  it' s  har assment.  If  someone   grabs  or  hits  a  guy  in  the  genitals  --  even  as  a  prank  --  that's  harassment,  too.  Unwanted  behaviors.  This  includes  someone  asking  you  on  a  date  or  pressuring  you  for  sex  repeatedly  after   you've  said  no.  If  someone  stalks  you,  gets  in  your  personal  space,  or  acts  threateningly,  that  may  be  a  form  of         sexual  harassment,  too.  Pressure  from  authority  figures.  Harassment  doesn't  just  come  from  other  teens.  Adults  may  sexually  harass  you,   too.  If  a  teacher  offers  to  give  you  a  better  grade  --  or  a  boss  offers  a  better  work  shift  --  in  exchange  for  sex  or   some  kind  of  physical  favor,  that's  harassment.  It's  still  "absolutely"  harassment  if  a  teacher  is  just  looking  or           making  comments  "in  a  sexual  way  that  makes  the  student  uncomfortable,"  says  Melissa  Holt,  PhD,  an  assistant   professor  at  Boston  University. Page 5 Cont. on Pg. 6


Hassling. If  a  classr oom  is  mostly  made  up  of  guys  who  star t  picking  on  one  of  the  few  gir ls  dur ing  class  and   making  her  life  uncomfortable,  that  could  be  termed  sexual  harassment,  Fineran  says.

Harassment often  takes  place  in  person.  But  it  happens  online  too  --  like  if  someone  emails  or  texts  photos  of  you  in   which  you're  not  dressed  or  you're  in  a  sexual  situation,  Holt  says. Take  Action  to  Protect  Yourself If  you  feel  like  you're  being  sexually  harassed  at  school,  here's  the  first  step  to  making  it  stop:  Call  it  sexual  harassment,   not  bullying,  Fineran  says. The  government  has  clearly  told  schools  that  they  are  responsible  for  stopping  sexual  harassment  at  school,  she  says.   You  could  file  a  federal  lawsuit  if  a  school  doesn't  do  its  job  to  protect  you  from  sexual  harassment.  That's  a  very  big   deal.  So  your  school  may  take  your  concern  more  seriously  if  you  call  it  sexual  harassment. And  remember,  the  law  protects  you  so  that  no  one  can  retaliate  or  take  revenge  for  you  reporting  him  or  her. You  can  take  these  other  steps  to  confront  sexual  harassment  at  school,  Fineran  says:   

  


Speak up.  Tell  your  harasser  to  stop.  Say  that  the  words  or  actions  are  making  you  uncomfortable. Keep  a  record.  Take  note  of  who  harassed  you,  what  the  person  said  or  did,  and  how  you  responded.  Write  down   when  and  where  it  happened.  Keep  any  harassing  emails,  texts,  or  online  postings,  too. Tell  a  parent  or  trusted  adult.  Sometimes  it's  hard  to  know  whether  events  cross  the  line  from  teasing  to  sexual   harassment.  Talking  to  an  adult  can  help  you  figure  out  what's  happening  and  how  to  deal  with  it.  If  a  boss  starts   scheduling  you  for  early  in  the  morning  or  late  at  night  so  the  two  of  you  are  working  alone,  an  adult  in  your  life   should  know. Report  it.  Tell  a  teacher,  staff  member,  or  your  school  principal.  Share  your  records  of  what  has  happened.  If  the   people  at  your  school  aren't  helpful,  then  tell  the  school's  superintendent.  Your  parents  can  help  with  this. Go  legal.  If  you  don' t  get  r elief,  consider  whether  a  lawsuit  is  necessar y.  Again,  your  par ents  should  be               involved  in  this. Tell  your  boss.  If  your  boss  is  the  problem,  then  tell  his  or  her  boss.  Businesses  can  be  sued  for  sexual  harassment,   too,  and  many  will  take  action  if  they're  concerned  about  a  lawsuit.  If  you  are  afraid  to  do  this  alone,  get  your             parents  or  another  trusted  adult  involved. Consider  quitting  if  you  feel  unsafe.

How You  Can  Avoid  Being  the  Harasser If  you're  checking  someone  out,  joking  with  your  friends,  or  being  persistent  in  asking  for  a  date,  is  that  harassment?  It   may  sometimes  seem  tricky  to  tell.  Here  are  some  pointers:      

Remember where  you  are.  Jokes  or  comments  that  you  could  make  with  your  close  buddies  may  not  be  OK  with   someone  you  don't  know  as  well,  Holt  says. Don't  label  people.  Never  call  anyone  a  "slut,"  and  never  use  "gay"  as  an  insult. Hands  off.  Don't  touch  people  --  especially  in  a  personal  or  sexual  manner  --  unless  they  have  told  you  it's  OK  to  do   so. Be  respectful.  If  someone  asks  you  to  stop  doing  something  that' s  bother ing  them,  stop  immediately.  It   doesn't  matter  if  it's  someone  you're  dating  or  someone  you  don't  know  --  if  they  say  "stop,"  stop. Don't  spread  rumors.  Respectfulness  also  means  not  spreading  rumors.  Don't  share  personal  details  or  sexy  photos   that  would  embarrass  someone. Watch  for  signals.  If  someone  seems  uncomfortable  or  afraid  when  you're  trying  to  start  a  conversation  or  ask  for  a   date,  stop.

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FAMILY ADVOCACY PROGRAM (FAP) If you  are  a  Victim  of  Domestic  Violence/Intimate  Partner  Abuse  or  want  to  report  an  incident  of                 Domestic  Violence/or  Partner  Abuse Please  call:  718-630-4242                                                For  Help!

*Important Information* Exceptional Family Member Program EFMP is  a  mandatory  enrolled  program   that  works  with  agencies  to  provide  medical,   educational,  housing,  community  support   and  personnel                services  to: Families with Special Needs 

EFMP is  designated  to  include  all  eligi-­ ble  family  members,  children,  spouses,   and  dependent        relatives  requiring  on-­ going  medical  treatment  or  special  edu-­ cational  services

       EFMP  Identification  Criteria: Family  Members  that  have  a  potentially   life  threatening  condition/chronic   medical  condition  or  physical               disability  . For  Example:  Family  Member  has  asthma  or                 Reactive  Airway  Disease.  Family  Member  has  had   chronic/multiple  episodes  of  out             patient  or  in-patient  mental  health   treatment  in  the  past  5  years.    Special  Education  services  as                       indicated  by  an  IEP.

Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA) Summary Family Subsistence  Supplemental  Allowance  (FSSA)     program  is  a  voluntary  financial  benefits  program  for       military  families  intended  to    increase  a  service  member's   income  in  order  to  remove  their  household  from                       eligibility  for  Supplemental  Nutrition  Allowance                   Program  (SNAP)  benefits  (formerly  the  food  stamp         program).  The  purpose  of  this  package  is  to  inform  and   assist    Senior  Enlisted  on  the  FSSA  program.  Official   policy  is  contained  in  Section  402a  of  title  37,  U.S.  Code   and  DoD  Instruction  1341.11,  Family  Subsistence  Sup-­ plemental  Allowance  (FSSA)    Program.   The  FSSA  website  (  is   only  accessible  to  Active  Duty  Service    Members,           National  Guard,  and  Reserve  component  members  on   Active  Duty  status.  FSSA  instr uctions,  policy,  and   guidance  for  eligibility  can  be  found  on  the  Resources   Tab  on  the  website.     Eligibility  is  based  on  the  income  for  all  members  of   the  household  and  the  number  of  people  living  in  the                   household.  T he  following  table  indicates  the  income   limit  for  a  given  number  of  persons  in  a  household.    (For   example,  if  you  have  5  people  living  in  your  household   then  you  must  have  income  below  $2,987  per  month   (when  living  in  the  48  states  to  be  eligible.)  Certain             entitlements  and  income  may  be  excluded  when               calculating  total  income;;  therefore  Service  members   should  be  encouraged  to  use  the  FSSA  website  to           determine  eligibility. 

For EFMP  Enrollment  and  Support   please  contact  West  Point  @  845-938-6881  

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.sos information board

How Grateful  I  Would  Be  To  Have  Just  One  More  Day If  I  could  have  just  one  more  day  and   wishes  did  come  true, I'd  spend  every  glorious  moment side  by  side  with  you. Recalling  all  the  years  we  shared and  memories  we  made, how  grateful  I  would  be to  have  just  one  more  day.

Where the  tears  I've  shed  are   not  in  vain  and  only  fall  in  bliss, so  many  things  I'd  let  you  know about  the  days  you've  missed. I  wouldn't  have  to  make  pretend you  never  went  away, how  grateful  I  would  be  to have  just  one  more  day. When  that  day  came  to  a  close and  the  sun  began  to  set, a  million  times  I'd  let  you  know I  never  will  forget. The  heart  of  gold  you  left  behind when  you  entered  Heaven's  gate, how  grateful  I  would  be  to have  just  one  more  day.   By: Kathy J Parenteau

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Advice for Surviving the Death of a Spouse or Partner at a Young Age Becoming a young widow is an experience that completely turns your life upside down. Everything that once made sense, no longer does. The pain feels unbearable, and you are suddenly thrust into unfamiliar territory. Even if your spouse died from an illness, and you knew that death was near, you are never mentally or emotionally ready for this type of life-transforming loss. Aside from the grief, being a young widow can add an extra level of complication to the healing process. It can be very isolating to be a woman in today’s society, who has lost her spouse before the age of 60. People don’t know what to say, how to approach you, and you may feel like you don’t fit in anywhere. To move through the grief process in a healthy way, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are practical tools that can help you nurture yourself, honor your loss, and bring you comfort and strength. By making use of these tools, you can once again learn to live whole-heartedly, find new passions or reclaim existing ones, and rejoin your community with strength and purpose.




Talk about  your  loss


Find a  support  system

 

Practice self-care Grieve  at  your  own  pace

    

Isolate yourself Try  to  “get  over”  it Deny  your  grief Expect  others  to  know  what  you  need Be  too  hard  one  yourself

Do talk about your loss It is incredibly therapeutic to talk about what you have just experienced. Losing your spouse is very traumatic, and it can take years to process your feelings and emotions surrounding the story of your loss. It can bring you great comfort to talk about your loved one and most importantly, “remember” who they were and what they brought into your life. You may find that certain stories bring you great joy to share. This is a huge step towards healing. Make sure that you talk with someone who will compassionately support you. Seeing a professional counselor or coach, in addition to speaking with close family and friends who you trust, can be extremely helpful.

Do find a support system Being a young widow can be very isolating. You may feel like you are the only one going through this type of loss. Our society is not properly equipped to handle the grieving process, and you may feel awkward in social situations, especially if many of your friends and family members have significant others and can’t relate to your experience. It is important to find a support group specifically for young widows. You can find support groups online, such as, and These websites have a variety of resources and will help you find a group that meets near you. In-person groups are very effective and will offer you a strong sense of community and belonging. Even if you are nervous about attending a group, try at least one or two meetings so that you know if the experience will be a good fit for you. You will quickly learn that you are not alone.

Do practice self-care When you are grieving, it is so easy to let go of your health. Grieving can cause aches and pains in the body and make it difficult to eat properly and stay hydrated. You may find yourself gravitating towards unhealthy habits. Grief can make you feel like you have a perpetual flu. It is important to nurture your body with activities, such as taking a bath with aromatherapy salts, getting a massage or doing self-massage, drinking lots of water, taking a walk, gentle exercise such as yoga, cooking healthy meals or having someone prepare them for you. When you take care of yourself physically, this also will affect your mental and emotional state. If you are having difficulty getting out of bed, ask a close friend or family member to help you in accomplishing these acts of self-care. You deserve it.

Do grieve at your own pace In today’s society, we are all about rushing and getting things accomplished as quickly as possible. However, grief is the opposite. Moving through the grief and healing process takes time. There is no specific start and end date. You must allow yourself time to process and work through your feelings. Page 10 Cont. On Pg. 11

Other people around you may not understand the pace at which you are moving, but remember this is your loss. Your life has been altered in every way, and you have the right to take things one step at a time. So, don’t be afraid to tell the person who doesn’t understand why you aren’t feeling better after three months, that you are still coping with your loss, and that all you need is their ongoing support and respect. Even though they may not understand, it is vital to give yourself the time and space to move through it in a way that feels right to you.

Do not isolate yourself If you cut yourself off from the world, you will most likely end up sinking into depression and despair. You will need some personal time to process what you’re going through, but don’t become a hermit and never see the light of day. If you do this, you will end up getting stuck in your grief and feel even worse about your situation. Community and compassionate support are necessary to help you move forward and heal. The more you withdraw from life and living, the harder it will be to get out of bed and find the motivation and strength to discover hope and healing.

Do not try to “get over” it

When you lose a loved one, you never actually get over it. If you have ever heard this, it is a myth. While it is possible to move through grief and progress forward with your life, getting over a loss suggests that you will never again feel sadness or longing for your spouse or that it will never impact you again. Do not pressure yourself into believing that you should eventually get to a point where you are over it, and you can simply move on and put it behind you. This is unrealistic, and you will end up wondering what is wrong with you and why you are not “over this” yet. You will always carry the love you had for your spouse in your heart and nothing or nobody can take that away. Give yourself permission to move forward, but don’t worry about getting over it. It is a loss that has changed you forever, and it can transform you in incredible ways if you allow it to.

Do not deny your grief Grieving is a messy and complex process. There is nothing neat and tidy about it. You will experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days, you will feel like you are taking two steps forward, and other days, you will feel like you are taking ten steps backwards. But whatever you do, don’t try to stuff the grief away and ignore it. Listen to what you are feeling and allow it to guide you on what you are needing. If you feel like you are putting on a face for other people to protect them from your true feelings, you are often doing a disservice to both yourself and them. Be honest with yourself and what you are feeling--and go from there. Grieving is normal and healthy. It is a part of loss, and it should be recognized, witnessed and honored. By listening to your emotions, you will give yourself the opportunity to grow and expand in new ways. It is a time to get to know yourself on a deeper level, and you may discover that you uncover new wisdom in the process. Perhaps this will be wisdom that you can pass on to others someday.

Do not expect others to know what you need It is important to speak up about your needs while you are grieving the loss of your spouse. Many of the people around you might think they know what you need or want, but they may end up angering you in the process of trying to help. Don’t be afraid to be straightforward with them, even when it comes to what they should or should not say. This can save you many headaches. Unless they also have lost a spouse or partner, they will not be able to fully understand what you are feeling or going through. They may feel lost and unsure of what to do. It can help to give them some direction or simply ask them to sit and listen if they don’t know what to say. You may lose some friendships in the process, but also gain new relationships with people who can truly sit with you and support you in your grief.

Do not be too hard on yourself Grieving the loss of your spouse can make you realize how little control you have in the world. No matter how much you may have willed them to stay alive or wanted to protect them, you ultimately did not get to decide. There can be many feelings of guilt, anger, shame and blame that can arise as a result. You may find yourself thinking: “If only I had done this differently,” “If I could have been there sooner, “I should have known...” and the list goes on. It is important to accept and recognize your humanity. You are only capable of so much, and you can only do your best in any situation. Holding on to guilt or shame will not change the situation or result in anything positive. Remind yourself of the things that you do have control over and that nobody can take away, such as the love that you shared with your spouse, the ways that you can continue to love and honor them or the things that you can do now to make a difference. Page 11

Gold Star  Mothers,  Families  to  be  Honored By Stephanie Hunter, Special to Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS)  --  Throughout  history,  bells  have  been  used  to  announce  a  death  or  to  express  the   gravity  of  an  individual's  passing.  They  are  struck  to  communicate  the  depth  of  sorrow  and  the  extent  of  loss. On  Sept.  22,  in  association  with  Gold  Star  Mother's  and  Family's  Day,  Navy  installations  across  the                               continental  U.S.  will  participate  in  Bells  Across  America  for  Fallen  Service  Members  where  the  names  of  the   fallen  will  be  read  and  a  bell  will  toll  to  honor  and  remember  them.  The  Navy  is  proud  to  recognize  the             sacrifices  of  our  fallen  service  members  and  the  Gold  Star  families  left  behind  through  these  coordinated           ceremonies.   "It's  amazing  to  see  how  our  installations  are  coming  together  to  remember  our  fallen,"  said  Lisa  Bauch,  Navy   Gold  Star  Program  analyst.  "Many  of  our  Navy  bases  from  coast  to  coast  are  taking  the  time  to  pay  tribute  to   these  heroes  and  their  families."   Since  1936,  the  last  Sunday  in  September  has  been  designated  as  Gold  Star  Mother's  Day  to  recognize  and   honor  those  who  have  lost  a  child  while  serving  the  country  in  the  United  States  Armed  Forces.  In  2009,  fallen   service  members'  families  were  officially  recognized  and  added  by  presidential  proclamation,  renaming  the   observance  to  Gold  Star  Mother's  and  Family's  Day. Each  year  the  president  signs  a  proclamation  reaffirming  our  commitment  to  honor  the  individuals  "who  carry   forward  the  memories  of  those  willing  to  lay  down  their  lives  for  the  United  States  and  the  liberties  for  which   we  stand."  On  Sept.  25,  we  pay  tribute  to  those  mothers  and  families  who  have  sacrificed  so  much. "The  amount  of  heartfelt  camaraderie  at  not  only  these  events,  but  all  Gold  Star  events,  is  inspiring  and           overwhelming,"  said  Mike  Bruner,  Navy  Gold  Star  Program  manager.  "The  Navy  Gold  Star  Program  is  both   honored  and  proud  to  be  able  to  continue  to  provide  enduring  support  to  survivors."   The  Navy  is  committed  to  helping  foster  resiliency  for  families  of  fallen  service  members,  regardless  of  how   they  died.  The  Navy  Gold  Star  Program  honors  Gold  Star  families  throughout  the  year  by  hosting  events   which  pay  tribute  to  their  lost  loved  ones,  providing  resources  and  opportunities  to  connect  with  one  another.  

For more  information  on  the  Navy  Gold  Star  Program  or  the  location  of  Bells  Across  America  for  Fallen  Ser-­ vice  Members  in  your  area,  please  visit  or  or  call  1-888-509-8759. Stephanie  Hunter  is  a  Program  Analyst  for  the  Navy  Gold  Star  Program. For  more  information,  visit,,  or For  more  news  from  Commander,  Navy  Installations  Command,  visit

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Annual Worldwide  Candle  Lighting December 11, 2016

The Compassionate  Friends  Worldwide  Candle  Lighting  unites  family  and  friends  around  the  globe  in  lighting  candles   for  one  hour  to  honor  the  memories  of  the  sons,  daughters,  brothers,  sisters,  and  grandchildren  who  left  too  soon.  As   candles  are  lit  at  7:00  p.m.  local  time,  hundreds  of  thousands  of  persons  commemorate  and  honor  the  memory  of  all   children  gone  too  soon. Now  believed  to  be  the  largest  mass  candle  lighting  on  the  globe,  the  20th  annual  Worldwide  Candle  Lighting,  a  gift  to   the  bereavement  community  from  The  Compassionate  Friends,  creates  a  virtual  24-hour  wave  of  light  as  it  moves  from   time  zone  to  time  zone.  TCF’s  WWCL  started  in  the  United  States  in  1997  as  a  small  internet  observance,  but  has  since   swelled  in  numbers  as  word  has  spread  throughout  the  world  of  the  remembrance.  Hundreds  of  formal  candle  lighting   events  are  held  and  thousands  of  informal  candle  lightings  are  conducted  in  homes  as  families  gather  in  quiet  remem-­ brance  of  children  who  have  died,  but  will  never  be  forgotten. The  Compassionate  Friends  and  allied  organizations  are  joined  by  local  bereavement  groups,  churches,  funeral  homes,   hospitals,  hospices,  children’s  gardens,  schools,  cemeteries,  and  community  centers.  Services  have  ranged  in  size  from   just  a  few  people  to  nearly  a  thousand. Every  year  you  are  invited  to  post  a  message  in  the  Remembrance  Book  which  will  be  available,  during  the  event,  at   TCF’s  national  website. If  no  Worldwide  Candle  Lighting  service  was  held  near  you  last  year,  please  feel  free  to  plan  one  open  to  the  public  this   year  or  next  year.  You  are  welcome  to  use  TCF’s  “Suggestions  to  Help  Plan  a  Memorial  Service  in  Conjunction  with   The  Compassionate  Friends  Worldwide  Candle  Lighting©”  to  help  in  planning  the  service.  All  allied  bereavement  or-­ ganizations,  churches,  funeral  homes,  hospices,  and  formal  and  informal  bereavement  groups  are  invited  to  join  in  the   remembrance.  When  you  confirm  plans  for  your  candle  lighting,  please  return  to  this  site  and  submit  the  event  infor-­ mation  form  so  TCF  can  list  your  service  with  the  many  hundreds  held  in  the  United  States  and  around  the  world.  The   Worldwide  Candle  Lighting  gives  bereaved  families  everywhere  the  opportunity  to  remember  their  child(ren)  so that   their  lights  may  always  shine!

Pg. 13


By Tricia  Simmons,  Spartan  Guest  Writer Obstacles  in  life  can  rock  you  to  your  very  core,  and  we  all  need  someone  or  something  to  carry  us   through. My  husband  and  my  hero,  Green  Beret  Army  Master  Sgt.  Shawn  E.  Simmons,  laid  down  his  life  in   2008  during  Operation  Enduring  Freedom.  My  world,  and  my  family’s  world,  were  shattered. As  a  result,  I  was  forced  to  raise  my  family  without  the  man  who  could  fix  any  broken  appliance,  always   make  me  laugh  and  be  the  unshakable  pillar  of  a  father  my  children  could  lean  on.  We  Americans  truly  revere   our  Special  Forces  personnel  as  leaders  and  supermen,  and  my  husband  was  such  a  leader,  with  numerous   awards  and  decorations  to  show  for  it. With  the  loss  of  such  an  exceptional  warrior,  our  country  suffered  greatly;;  however,  for  my  family  and  me,  it   wasn’t  just  a  warrior  we  lost.  We  lost  a  baseball  coach,  sage  oracle  of  advice,  and  constant  source  of  support   that  we  ached  for. Like  any  grieving  parent,  I  knew  that  to  get  my  family  through  this  grief  journey  I  needed  to  find  a  shared   community  that  would  walk  with,  and  sometimes  carry,  me  on  my  post  loss  journey  –  and  that  led  me  to       Special  Ops  Survivors.   WHAT  IS  SPECIAL  OPS  SURVIVORS?   Special  Ops  Survivors  suppor ts  the  spouses  of  Special  Ops  Per sonnel  who  wer e  killed  in  tr aining  or  in   service  since  1980.  With  them  I  found  comfort,  resilience  and  a  reminder  that  I  could  once  again  find  joy  and   laughter  in  my  life  without  having  to  let  go  of  what  my  husband  and  I  shared. In  SOS,  I  received  support  and  guidance  from  other  surviving  spouses  who  have  been  right  where  I  was   standing,  and,  after  some  time,  where  I  could  mentor  newer  survivors  who  stood  where  I  was.  Grief  is  painful,   but  at  SOS  we  all  share  it  and  endure  the  journey  together.

Page 14 Cont. on Pg. 15

A SECOND  BLOW Without  warning,  my  life  was  shattered  again. My  only  daughter  lost  her  life  just  as  quickly  and  senselessly  as   her  father  lost  his. How  could  my  surviving  son  and  I  survive  this  latest  blow? We  found  an  answer  again  in   Special  Ops  Survivors. Special  Ops  Survivors  has  become  more  than  an  organization  to  me;;  they  are  my  family. I  am  a  woman  of   faith,  and  I  know  that  God  has  given  me  the  strength  I  needed  to  pick  myself  up  and  continue  the  journey,  just   as  I  know  that  He  gave  me  the  courage  to  lean  hard  on  my  network  of  survivors  and  seek  peace  in  a                           tumultuous  world. I  also  knew  that  my  son  needed  me,  and  I  could  not  abandon  him  in  my  grief. LOOKING  FORWARD,  LOOKING  UP It  has  been  a  long  and  difficult  journey,  but  today  I  am  proud  to  say  that  my  son   has  grown  up  to  be  a  dedicated  college  student,  a  proud  American,  and  a             shining  example  of  his  father’s  dedication,  kindness,  and  wisdom.   When  I  think  about  the  strength  and  endurance  it  takes  to  do  a  Spartan  Race,  I   can’t  help  but  see  the  same  kind  of  struggle  in  my  own  daily  journey  following   the  loss  of  my  husband  and  my  daughter.  In  life,  you  jump  over  obstacles,  fight   against  pain,  and  stay  the  course  battling  next  to  one  another. Sometimes  it  is  being  shoulder  to  shoulder  with  another  battle-worn  warrior  that   pushes  you  past  the  point  of  submission.  Sometimes  it  is  the  internal  fortitude   that  simply  won’t  allow  you  to  quit.  But  I  hope  it  is  the  knowledge  that  you  are   a  part  of  a  group  that  will  carry  you  toward  your  goal  when  it  feels  like  you   can’t  endure  one  more  moment  of  pain,  one  more  obstacle  that  demands  super-­ human  strength,  and  that  all  hope  is  lost. When  you  hit  your  next  obstacle—whether  it  be  at  a  Spartan  event  or  in  your  daily  life—I  hope  you  remember   that  sometimes  you’re  the  one  getting  carried,  and  sometimes  you’re  the  one  carrying  another  who  needs  it   most.  That,  friends,  is  true  strength  and  endurance. To  the  Spartan  athletes  participating  in  the  race  at  Fenway  Park  in  November,  I  am  excited  to  say  that  I  will  be   there  to  cheer  you  all  on.  I  invite  you  to  join  TEAM  Special  Ops  Survivors  as  they  compete  to  honor  the         bravery  and  sacrifice  of  Special  Operations  surviving  spouses.  My  son  Justin  intends  to  runs  his  first  Spartan   race  in  honor  of  his  father,  Shawn. —  Tricia  Simmons,  Surviving  Spouse  of  MSG  Shawn  Simmons  –  USA,  7  SFG(A) As the Fort Hamilton SOS Coordinator I , Jacqueline Prince was invited to attend the Spartan Race. This race was very dear to me heart because the Simmons are my Family. MSGT Shaun Simmons and Erin will always be Remembered. Much Love………NEVER FORGOTTEN……….

Page 15

Air Force Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa December 21, 2015 Air Force Technical Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm December 21, 2015 Army Sgt. 1st Class Ramon S. Morris December 12, 2014 Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin E. Lipari December 14, 2012 Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Reid December 13, 2012 Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Denier December 2, 2012 Marine Sgt. Nicholas J. Aleman December 5, 2010 Army Spc. Jason M. Johnston December 26, 2009 Army Sgt. Jason C. Denfrund December 25, 2006 Army Pfc. Travis C. Krege December 6, 2006 Army Sgt. Yevgeniy Ryndych December 6, 2006

Army Spc. Kenneth W. Haines December 3, 2006 Army Spc. Lance S. Sage December 27, 2005 Army Staff Sgt. Julian S. Melo December 21, 2004 Army Spc. Victor A. Martinez December 14, 2004 Army Cpl. Joseph O. Behnke December 4, 2004 Army Sgt. Cari Anne Gasiewicz December 4, 2004 Army Staff Sgt. Henry E. Irizarry December 3, 2004 Army Spc. David M. Fisher December 1, 2004 Army Pfc. Charles E. Bush Jr. December 19, 2003 Army Sgt. Steven Checo December 20, 2002 Navy Electrician’s Mate Fireman Apprentice Michael J. Jakes Jr. December 4, 2001

DISCLAIMER: These names are those that were (KIA) Killed in Action.

Names were retrieved from the Military Times (Honor The Fallen) Page 16

SOS Newsletter December 2016  
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