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Trying To Fill The Void

Heroes Remember

Trying To Fill The Void

Well it doesn’t go as easy as you thought it was going to go. I mean I can’t speak for everyone. Myself personally as I kind of alluded to earlier I did not realize what I had become while I was over there. I was good with it. That doesn’t fit into Canadian society so well. So I think the first thing I realized, I thought I was fine and went to go get in the car. My husband at the time picked me up at the building where we all meet when you come back to Edmonton. Got in the car and I wasn’t used to being in a vehicle where traffic could just drive by you. We drove down the yellow line in Kandahar and if you did not get out of the way we insured you got out of the way whether it was a round or two in the hood of the vehicle or the escalation of kind of force to get the message across that we are coming down the road now, please move aside. So I hadn’t driven by a vehicle in months and the pucker factor of “oh my goodness!” because if a vehicle did get that close to you over there you would suspect that vehicle was going to explode or there was a bomb on board. There would be no reason for a vehicle to approach any of our convoys unless it was for a bad purpose. So I only lived ten minutes from the base and I had my head between my legs like down on my lap driving home. I am like okay that was an interesting experience. We had a couple days of leave when you got home. And I had to go back up to the base the first day you come back you go back to the base. I had to have, my husband went to work. I had to have, a different time he went to work, I had to have him come back and pick me up because I couldn’t drive to go to work. I didn’t drive vehicles in Kandahar and there was no way I was driving a car. It was one road. I knew nothing was going to happen. I get it, we’re in Edmonton but that sensation of having vehicles so close to drive I couldn’t do it. So he comes and picks me up, drops me off, that’s fine. I do my check in that I had to do, he drives me back home. The next day I made myself get in the vehicle and made it around the block, and yah I can’t do this right now. I don’t need to do it. That’s fine I have a few days off. So I knew that had to change. Obviously you can’t live like that but I wasn’t ready to deal with that. Then I went to go to sleep and I woke up. I had these, you are always like going for your weapon and not having that made me feel very like naked, exposed if you will and, you know, always looking over your shoulder. Then I noticed I wouldn’t sit with my back to a door or wouldn’t stand in front of an open window or these little things like this and this heightened sense of reaction. And then I missed the guys I was with. They went to Shilo and I went back to Edmonton. So I didn’t know how they were all doing. And yes there were soldiers that came back to Edmonton too but they weren’t mine. I wanted to go talk to my guys and we didn’t have, we weren’t all cell phone, texting, Facebook, all that stuff wasn’t around like right then. So I had no one to really compare my own experiences to in Edmonton so I thought okay I need to figure this out. So I started overcompensating. So I painted the entire bathroom or I rearranged, I ordered furniture for the living room and I just busied myself. But I was longing for someone to ask me what time it was, “Hey Doc I want this,” or hey! There was no one asking me anything, no one waking me up in the middle of the night, “Hey my roommate is sick, I think you should come see them!” It just was gone and so I was trying to fill this void.

When asked about the transitions of coming home, Vanessa provides a very honest story of how it affected her sharing personal instances where civilian life became difficult

Vanessa Larter

Ms. Vanessa Larter was born April 17, 1982 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. After graduating from high school Vanessa studied at UPEI and later made the choice to join the military as a medical technician. Her basic training took her to Gagetown, N,B, Camp Borden, Ontario for her first medical course, BC for paramedic school and then finally to settle with his first job in Edmonton, Alberta. She joined with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry with occupation of army medic. Along with In-Canada service Vanessa had two deployments to Afghanistan, 2006 and 2008. With a sixteen year career Vanessa is still in the military and resides at Camp Borden as a physician assistant holding rank of sergeant. Vanessa has great pride for her military service. She now resides in Ontario with her three children.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
October 27, 2018
Person Interviewed:
Vanessa Larter
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)
Army medic

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