Veterans’ wives there for each other

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 9, 2013

BY Kimberly Hopson

LAPLACE – Ten women have bonded through a common struggle and formed a unique support group.
The women, who come from all over the country, refer to themselves as “The Ladies of the VA” and share the common experience of having committed their spouses to care at the Southeast Louisiana War Veteran’s Home in Reserve. Many of the women are currently regular visitors at the home, but some of their spouses have long been deceased. Living or dead, the pain of seeing their loved ones suffer remains.
Sharing the pain with a friend who can empathize, however, can make the load a little easier to bear.
The group meets every two months to have lunch at Fatty’s restaurant in LaPlace. There, they catch up, reminisce and bandage old hurts.
Celeste Clement, the newest member of the group, lost her husband, Paul, last year on Pearl Harbor Day. She joined the ladies for lunch for the first time during their group lunch last Friday.
“I couldn’t have done it alone,” she said, with tears pooling near the bottom of her eyes. “We helped each other to deal with this. If you needed a shoulder to lean on or someone to talk to, they were there for me.”
“We’re not blood relatives, but we’re closer than some families are,” said Barbara Turledge. “That’s how you survive.”