Most of you know my dad was a door-gunner in Vietnam. He lost his best friend. He saw things he’s never talked about. He came home and did the best he could. He and mom met at the E, J, &  E Railroad. Got married in April of 1971, had me in March of 1972.

Most of my memories are blurry. I remember in 5th grade, Mrs. Kaczmarek made us write a dictionary on our choice of topics. I chose “Car Parts” so that I could spend time with my dad hearing what an alternator does and putting it into my dictionary. I also remember Mrs. Kaczmarek chastised me for not picking a “girl” topic.  That was also the year I was running a relay race and I blacked out and ran into a cement wall like a football player doing drills on the field.  I broke my right clavicle.

The summer of 1987 is the one I remember most vividly though. I think it was summer.  It was 1987 for sure. And dad had watched Platoon and started having flashbacks.  He’d wake us up screaming, “INCOMING!!!” and he’d be huddled between his bed and the wall. Shaking. Screaming. Always screaming.

I’m not prepared to tell the whole story right now.  Dad had a nervous breakdown. It was bad. I was the target of his anger.

Years and years later, in 2007, I attended a conference and listened to a man I’d never heard of tell a story so eerily similar to my own, that I cried and had flashbacks the entire time he spoke.  Jane was there with me, listening to him tell his story and she was crying, too, because she’d been through it with me.  After composing myself the only thing I could say to Gary Braunbeck was, “It wasn’t WWII, it was Vietnam and it wasn’t a gun, it was a crossbow.”  All I remember is him saying, “I’m so sorry. So sorry.” and hugging me. Forever maybe. It was a really long time.  He was the only one I’d ever met like me.

I received Gary’s new book and was reading it last night. The story was in there. The same one that gave me flashbacks at the conference. Only this time, there was a lot more detail.

I had a hard time sleeping last night.

I had a hard time concentrating today.

I tried to fill my head with things other than the past.

But my brain leaks and my memory leaks and my eyes leak tears.

So I do things, like planning out Zane’s lessons, and mapping goals for ccPublishing, and I watch shows like Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory about the assassination of JFK because if I can focus on something else, anything else, then I don’t have to go there.

I’m tired and planning to go to bed early. I check Facebook and my dear friend Alexis has posted pictures and I look at them, not knowing what effect they’d have on me.

She’s in Vietnam. These are the Chu Chi Tunnels. All photos posted with permission of Alexis. (Thank you sweetie)






I am pretty sure I was having some PTSD symptoms. My chest tightened. My muscles clenched. My breathing was labored, my heart raced. I commented on her Facebook page, “Wow. Gives me a little ptsd though, seriously. My dad was there and had big-time, full blown ptsd (is medicated for it now and has been for years) but going through the pictures made me realize just how badly I was affected by it.”

As I was typing, I got a text. It was from my brother. It said, “I just had a strong presence…I’m to tell you I love you!!!”

“What??? I mean, I love you, too, but what happened??”

“Not sure. I was outside with Layla {his dog, like his kid} Layla was looking up in the darkness and I asked if grandma {my mom} was talking and I felt something…and when I came inside something told me to tell you mom loves you.”

and all i can do is cry

it feels like a dream, like i need to interpret it

but i don’t think it is