Friday, 22 October, I planned to meet my friend Frank, who teaches history and is a historian and author for the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR.) The plan was to meet in Overasselt near Arnhem. I was almost over my cold, and the next day I was going to give my first World War II program in Europe. It was a rainy, foggy day when I set out to meet him at 9:00. The only problem was I, I didn’t double check my itinerary (which had changed so often) to see we were actually meeting at 10:00.
I arrived an hour early and after I realized what I had done, Frank suggested I go see the John Thompson Bridge at Grave. I took a drive and didn’t realize I had already driven over it on my way. I stopped at the monument which honors the Airborne. The energy there was so intense as if every Airborne soldier had shown up. My body was vibrating from all the energy. I stood at the monument and cleared a lot of energy before taking another drive to find a cup of hot tea before I met Frank.
Frank and I visited the Nijmegen Bridge and Airborne Monument at that location. He told me a lot of history about what happened in that area during the war. After lunch we went to Oosterbeek to visit the cemetery. I wanted to visit the grave of British soldier Ivor Rowbery, who I had become aware of about a week before I flew to Europe. Ivor wrote a beautiful letter to his mother prior to the Operation Market Garden mission, knowing he was likely to die.
The rain began falling heavily when we arrived at the cemetery. Thankfully we had cover near the front of the cemetery where the Memorial Book is kept. The energy at the cemetery was not as intense as it had been earlier in the day. It was beautiful and peaceful to watch the rain fall over the cemetery with tall, colorful trees lining the edges, and listen to the acorns fall.
When the rain subsided we walked through the cemetery. Frank knows the stories of most of the men buried there. He brought them back to life as we walked. We located Ivor Rowbery’s grave and took a few photos then walked through the cemetery gate and walked along the forest edge to the field where the men had been.
When we exited the field we walked along a magical fairy road, along the city cemetery, as light fog hung in the air. I’m quite sure the fairies hang out in this area and magic abounds. Frank had no idea the cemetery which was laid out across from Oosterbeek, extended that far beyond the main area. After we found a gate to get into the far end of the cemetery, we saw some interesting Russian grave stones. It was quite a walk in a beautiful area.
Our afternoon ended with hot tea and a gigantic piece of apple pie that was impossible to eat in one sitting! Delicious.
As I drove home the energy was crackling. I was soon to meet someone I knew a thousand years ago and give my first talk in Europe. The question was, how would life change in the morning?
Before we get too far into my trip articles, I thought I should provide a little background. I’m sure there will be questions as to why I’m talking about spiritual things in my military work. A Turning Point arrived……. I like writing prompts because they help me focus on different kinds of writing and bring things to my awareness that might come no other way. I found one online written by Charity Hume on Cultural Weekly that started with this. William Styron, an American novelist said,
“A novel is a progress toward an event, after which nothing will ever be the same again.” A turning point reverses the previous world, and gives you a whole new identity. It burns up your past in a conflagration of everything you’ve ever known. To go on, you must forget who you were. That’s a turning point. No way back.
A Turning Point in my life came late 2010 when I chose to end my marriage right after I started my business. It wasn’t until mid-2012 I was able to move out and start a new life. Another Turning Point.
Since that time, many Turning Points have been presented. Difficult and painful choices were made. Life has gone up and down, as it usually does. People came and went, including family. I also began walking a path of spirituality to help me deal with all that had happened in my marriage and life. Organized religion wasn’t doing it for me. I began listening more to my intuition and reading about all those beings (angels, masters, relatives, guides, etc.) who exist to help us on our soul’s journey. I read about the meaning of dreams, reincarnation, and past lives. As I shifted, dealt with some of my baggage, forgave myself and others of things, and let go, my awareness grew as did my soul. There was less fear about living. My heart began to feel lighter, and slowly, more open. Then, two souls appeared soon after I moved out that helped move me forward, love me unconditionally, and brought others into the picture to help shape my life and especially my career. These souls were my great grandfather Joseph Kokoska and my cousin James Privoznik. If you’ve heard my talk “Finishing the Story” or read my book “Stories of the Lost” you might know a little about Joseph but more about his brother Michael who was killed in WWI. James was killed in WWII and still sleeps in Luxembourg Cemetery. I talk about him all the time on my blog, in my books, and social media. Joseph seems to have been with me a long time but I was more aware of his presence after I moved out. James showed up late summer 2012, after four people contacted me about him over a weekend. I had not researched his service beyond getting his Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF.) Many people in the genealogy world say, if a person or document appears – pay attention! Four people in a few days – yes I was paying attention. I started his research but never expected to write his story or cross Europe in his footsteps in April-May 2015. Nor did I expect to visit him again on my October 2015 trip. James’ research pushed me into the world of World War II soldier research in ways I never expected. Now, back to the point…..A turning point reverses the previous world, and gives you a whole new identity. It burns up your past in a conflagration of everything you’ve ever known. To go on, you must forget who you were. That’s a turning point. No way back. The same can be said for World War II research. We have a starting point which could be a story, a soldier, a photograph, an artifact, or an event. When we choose to take the journey of that research, we travel a bumpy, twisty, often obstacle ridden road. Along that road we meet many people who enrich our experience and help us continue to move forward. We gather clues as we travel and uncover secrets buried deep in the recesses of the past. Exploring these secrets and revealing them, can cause a turning point for many.
The journey we take as we research our soldier can take us to unexpected places where we have to confront our own issues, insecurities, fears, wishes and dreams. We can travel literally and figuratively across oceans and continents, across farm fields, rolling hills, and through magical forests, as we uncover the story and reveal the truth and lessons which exist. Traveling across a continent can open new doors to experiences, people, places, and things. It can also dredge up the past and things hidden, of which we may not have been aware. It can bring pain, fear, and love to the surface. Pain and fear we may not understand. Love which leaves us confused. The journey across land can take us deep within ourselves. Each person we meet along our journey can impact us in big and small ways. For me, the most important people are those that stand with us at a crossroads. Crossroads lead to Turning Points.
On my first trip to Europe, I stood at a crossroads in a sacred place full of love, strength, fear, bloodshed, and power. A crossroads where two hearts in this life, joined after they had been separated many times in the past. In that moment they joined the past with the present. The fear with love. Desire with hope. The impossible with the possible. Laughter, harmony, peace, joy, and love all mingled together at those crossroads. In that moment it was time to make a choice – return to the past or live in the present. Heal the pain and create a new future, or remain stuck standing between two worlds across time and space. All of this was orchestrated by someone long gone but never forgotten. Someone who knew both their hearts. Someone who knew how to heal her as she had healed him. There was still much to be done and this was only the first step. At that crossroads no wrong step could be taken. Each path led to greater love, hope, peace, and healing for her and many others. Her heart and soul knew this man standing before her was a key to unlocking something dark and hidden deep inside her, even if her head did not yet know. A connection made. Confusion reigned as sparks flew in bright colors around them. A heart that understood how deeply she felt and appreciated that about her. A heart who had and would take care of her through good and bad. A heart that brought her home to a land where she could make a difference in her life and others. The journey they took together was not easy and they parted at another crossroads because it is what their souls had agreed. Some people greet us for part of our travels, while others stay. Those who stay often have different roles along the route. They provide laughter, a release. Love, acceptance, support, strength. They bring a challenge or darkness to be fought with love and forgiveness. They teach and provide clues for us to piece together the vast puzzle of our soul’s journey.
Those Turning Points and the crossroads at which I stood earlier this year, led to the journey I would take in October to Europe, alone. That trip was destined to be taken without anyone but myself. Was it scary at first? Yes. Did I have things to prove to myself? Absolutely. And, there were new people to meet, experiences to be had, challenges to be overcome, forgiveness to be given, love shared, lessons learned, things to release, and inspiration spread. As it turns out on this trip, there were new crossroads in which past and present merged. Crossroads which led to new Turning Points.
Over the past three years, I realize I was put on this earth to do several things. Two main things are to be a war storyteller and healer, with no holds barred. I hope the posts about my trip bring something to your awareness. Make you question things you’ve held close. Release what no longer serves you. Opens your heart and soul. And maybe most importantly, encourages you to write your stories and those of your family. These posts are only the beginning of what I’m offering the world through my work. Stay tuned………
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