The first time I heard of Joanne Steen was from a Chaplain at our last duty station. My husband's unit had spent several months downrange in heavy combat and had lost many amazing soldiers. Those soldiers left behind a lot of amazing family members. To help other spouses in the unit back home process everything, the Army held a briefing to explain all the counseling services available to us through Tricare and Army One Source, and let us hear an expert talk about grieving.
Joanne Steen was that expert.
Her session during that briefing last spring was more than just informative -- it gave me a chance to process how to respond to and act around several friends whose husbands were never coming home. She said that it was OK to not know what to say -- but that it was important to say something anyway.
But what should you say? After her talk at the AUSA conference this week on the complexities of military loss, she was kind enough to share her advice with us.
Joanne also has a new book out for Gold Star parents, a segment of our military family that can easily get lost in the shuffle, called "Military Parents: We Regret to Inform You."