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Growing Through Grief: A Story for Father’s Day
Author Guest / June 17, 2018

My father was a Vietnam veteran who suffered from PTSD. A part of me always grieves for him, for how he suffered and how his illness affected our family. And a part of me will always grieve for the little girl whose father came back from war a stranger, and for the relationship we never got to have. His illness took him away from me, from his family, from the man he was before. When I was nineteen, I went camping with him and my brother in the Ozark mountains in Arkansas. I’d only seen him a few times since I was a young girl. We went rafting in rapids filled with snakes, brown water moccasins slithering around the sides of the river, me so scared my hands hurt from gripping tightly to the sides of the raft so I wouldn’t fall in. We went horseback riding. And again, I was afraid, but determined. I climbed up on a beautiful brown mare, massive and strong. My father said, “Don’t let her know you’re afraid. She’ll feel it.” So high, so far from the ground. She felt my fear. “Debbie, what are you waiting for? Give her a little kick to…