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Living Like the Refugees

Heroes Remember

Living Like the Refugees

Talking is one of the best, one of the best therapies and if I may add, when I first came back, and I never knew what I was like when I came back. I was just Bob. And I remember my wife, this happened years after, my wife looked at our daughter Jamie and she said, “Let’s get ready for a rough ride.” She explained this to a therapist after. I said, “Well what did you mean by that?” She said, “You’ve changed, just look at you. You’re so edgy. You’re so angry, just to look at you at times,” she said, “I’m scared, your temper.” She said, “You’ve got a temper but”, she said, “not like this, anything now annoys you!” And it did, and I didn’t realize this until I started having a good look at myself and yeah it was starting to bother me. I wasn’t coping very well. And I used to be home and shut the lights off. Well, Bob you don’t. I lived two months in darkness at nights and, you know, then flashlights and we very seldom had them on because we weren’t getting supplied like we should of. So the batteries, you know, save the life of the batteries. I’d be going around and like hollering at my daughter when she was in the bathroom running the shower so long, you know, “Shut that off, shut that off!” It got worse when I came back and these are the things that my family started picking up on say hey, there’s something wrong here, why is he like this? And then they went out and they got help and they understood what I was going, and I didn’t know at the time until I was called in and say, “Hey, you’re being affected by this." And meals, a fine example, nothing left on the plate. Before it didn’t matter. Scrape it in the dog’s dish or whatever, you know, but not anymore, not anymore. We had a banquet one day and the wife just couldn’t believe how we had a big family reunion and she couldn’t believe I just lost it because they were cutting the sandwiches, cutting the crusts off and just throwing them into a bin at the end of the table. Making it look fancy. It was, you know, but I lost it and a young girl, I didn’t know her from a hole in the ground, she kind of looked at me, “What are you doing this for. You know, why don’t you leave the crusts on the bread?” It’s things like that. You know and flushing the bowl, “Why are you flushing the bowl so many times?” You know, stuff like that and then I realized, hey, this did affect me. This did affect me. You would think I’d come home and would turn all the lights on because I never had them, but it wasn’t. I was starting to find myself living like the refugees, you know, and that’s where I said, whoa, and my wife said, “Well, what are you doing sitting outside by yourself up against the tree?” “I want some time on my own.” Well then I started thinking why not just sit in the house, but that’s all I did when I was over there. You never had a house to go to, like I say, the soldiers over there, we were living like, just like the refugees and I brought a lot of that home with me. I brought a lot of laundry home with me.

Mr. Wiseman shares his realization of how the military service in Bosnia effected himself and his family when returning home.

Robert Wiseman

Mr. Robert Wiseman was born October 9, 1953 in Bathurst, New Brunswick. With his father being a Veteran, and his five other brothers joining up, Mr. Wiseman made this the reason for joining the service. In 1974, fresh out of high school, Mr. Wiseman travelled to CFB Cornwallis Recruitment Camp receiving 11 weeks of training then to CFB Gagetown for advanced training as a combat soldier. Mr. Wiseman joined the army experiencing one tour to Cyprus and later in his career travelled to Bosnia holding the rank of Warrant Officer. His service in Bosnia provided humanitarian support to the Bosnian people after the Srebrenica massacre where many people were killed. After discharging from the army, Mr. Wiseman returned to Fredericton.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Robert Wiseman
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Warrant Officer

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