I’m continuing to post reviews of books that have helped me in my understanding of the long-term effects of living with PTSD. Family members of combat vets often suffer terrible consequences of being in close proximity to their beloved veteran, whether the PTSD is untreated or treated. True recovery does not come easily. Too often it doesn’t come at all.
Reading real stories of those who are making it, day-by-day, can provide hope and raise awareness of this ongoing issue. After finishing Mary S. King’s memoir, all I wanted to do was give her a hug. She certainly deserves one for all she’s been through, and all that she has given. My review is of the First Edition of “Facing the Wall.” (It’s now available in a revised and expanded version).
Facing the Wall- A Mission- a never-ending journey by Mary S. King
This Should Become a Classic —”PTSD is a Family Issue”
Mary S. King has written a book that should be required reading for every American citizen. She deserves a Vietnam Service Medal, as she has served, and continues to serve our country in an honorable way.
She has taken her marriage vows seriously, as she loves and supports her combat veteran husband, Jim, who is still suffering from his wartime experience. With this book, she invites us into their world. It is a world of broken dreams. She has had to accept that the early promise of her marriage to a decent, caring man, has deteriorated into a lifetime of their having to fight horrendous demons of the war.
With great bravery, she takes over the role of breadwinner and support system for her husband, who is too damaged mentally and emotionally to handle that role. She loves her husband and their two sons fiercely, going above and beyond the call of duty as she stands by Jim through his depressions, flashbacks, and eventual hospitalizations in the VA.
It is only after he is officially diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome that things improve somewhat. As Mary notes, “when you fight PTSD, or any illness, it is easier to struggle against it when you know what the demon is that you are fighting.”
Their ensuing trip to The Wall in Washington, D.C. is an emotionally wrenching scene that is hard to forget. This book provides great insight into the true emotional, physical, mental and spiritual costs of war for veterans, their family and friends.
Mary is a true American heroine, standing for the values of faithfullness, courage and hope. Her story speaks for legions of women who have paid a steep price for loving a war veteran. I know of what I speak, for I was once a “Vietnam wife.”
How sad that this book is so timely, as the Iraq war rages on. Fortunately, the wives, sweethearts, and families of our veterans in this latest war, will have this book to inform, inspire and encourage them.
It’s a book Mary, myself and so many others wish we could have had many years ago, when there was nothing written for or about us.
Thank you Mary, for shining a light on us!
Note: This review was written before we were so heavily embroiled in the war in Afghanistan. That war seems to have no end in sight.