Why I Wrote this Book

Tim O’Brien, Vietnam veteran, and author of The Things They Carried, once wrote:  “Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”

I believe stories can change the world.  I always have and I always will.  As a child, reading and writing saved my life.  It’s why I became an English teacher.  It’s why I wrote Thirty Days with My Father:  Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD. I believe stories have the power to help us face our truths, to make us better understand each other, and to teach us the morality by which to live.

Stories can make the unseen seen. They can make the intangible tangible, the general specific. They can strike a chord in people and make them change—make them take action, and even help them heal—the way nothing else ever could.

I didn’t write my book to throw around the term “post-traumatic stress disorder,” or to give you statistics on how many veterans commit suicide. Nor did I write this memoir to talk in general terms about Vietnam—or even to say, simply, that war affects families.

I wrote my book to share with you a different kind of war story–a story to make you feel something deep within your stomach because I need you to truly believe how the invisible wounds of war can go on and on, and how there can be peace and healing. I’m asking you to take a journey with me—a journey through a thick forest of family secrets, war trauma, and stigmas—a forest where everything’s really quiet, except for a sound that’s been impossible to hear until now:  The sound of a little girl named Christal who is still trying to save herself with a story.

To read an excerpt from Thirty Days with My Father:  Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD, click here.

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2 Responses to Why I Wrote this Book

  1. Web Client says:

    I can not tell any one. Because my Mom says that was in the past. But even then, when we would hear and see the days old reports on old TV, and I would ask, do you think that Daddy got killed today? She would say do not worry about that. But he kept on going back. He had certain things to do. I can not tell any one. It was against the rules. Who understands. I have been in therapy almost my whole life. I am a regular person. I am a responsible adult. And I have terrible memories. That haunt me. Mostly about things that some people tell me that did not happen. And some people tell me they cannot remember. And other people whom might …

  2. MaChere says:

    Recently saw your story on CBS Sunday Morning. Such an important story. My husband’s father took his own life in December 1955, 10 years after he served in that freezing winter at the Battle of the Bulge and helped to liberate the camp at Ebensee. He left behind a stunned family, including a younger brother who served in the Pacific and lived to a ripe old age, never suffering with PTSD, and 4 small children under the age of 6. What a hard life they had after that, with extended family stepping in to help. Before his death, he was so quick to anger with his little children. He never talked about his war experience with his wife and family. Only as adults with the information on PTSD have they all understood their father’s pain. I think he took his life in order to spare his children his anger and pain. Did he even know he had “battle fatigue?” Could he have been helped with serious counseling?
    My husband and I took a trip to France and Belgium on ’08 and toured the areas he served in 44-45, talking with guides who have heard many PTSD stories from WWII. We saw so many places that still honor American soldiers and what they did over there. It was a trip that gave my husband a greater understanding and a sense of forgiveness. So many generations affected by the horrors of war, and affected in so many different ways. Yes, children of war need help, too. Thank you for sharing your story.

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