Soul Injury

Do you know how to support a warrior who struggles with loss, guilt and shame?
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Deborah L. Grassman, a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and five other VA hospice nurses took care of more than 10,000 dying Veterans, witnessing Soul Injuries surface unbidden on combat Veterans’ deathbeds. As the nurses helped Veterans mourn their pain and forgive themselves, they often saw a shift…a liberating shift… an unburdening of the soul.

These nurses were privileged witnesses who saw those who were trained to go to war find peace at the end of life.

These dying Veterans taught us that we can all live more joy-filled lives if we are willing to:

  • not be afraid of our emotional pain,
  • allow ourselves to mourn our losses, and
  • forgive ourselves and others.

This message of redemption is being carried to the world!

Vanguard Veteran is honored to be a part of this international Soul Injury Movement.

SI-OP Logo

Soul Injury is an overlooked, unassessed wound that:
  • Separates one from their “real” self, causing them to feel less than whole, personally defective, inadequate, or incomplete.
  • Often manifests as a sense of emptiness, loss of meaning, or a sense that a part of self is missing.
  • Is perpetuated by:
    • unmourned loss,
    • unforgiven guilt/shame and
    • diminished self-compassion.


The best way to support someone with emotional pain is to validate their suffering. You might say:          

“You’ve been struggling with a lot lately.”

     “You’ve had a hard go of it.” 

    “It takes a lot to go through what you’ve been through.”  

“You’ve endured a lot.”


The goal is to help the person connect with the part of themselves that is carrying the pain – not deny it.
To learn more about Soul Injury and Opus Peace,  click below and here.

heart with chains


Soul Injury at a Glance

Fallen Comrades Ceremony Overview

Arizona Geriatrics Journal Article by Deborah L. Grassman

Boston Globe Article by Deborah L. Grassman

Soul Injury Awareness and Assessment Tool