Post Traumatic Stress Disorder isn’t a standard topic of conversation I have with my husband over dinner, and for good reason. It isn’t easy seeing tears welling in his eyes while he recounted an incident that happened to him from 25 years ago that still has him traumatized. Mike retired from our local police department six years ago after being a cop for 26 years. That’s a long time looking at the ugliness of society in the face. I sat across the table, spellbound, listening to a horrible story of a gunfight that I’ve heard before, but this time my mind shifted a little.
Logically, you’d think that most men, and women, only see battle during a war. Not so! I didn’t realize that Mike faced a war-like zone every time he was sent on a call. Without getting into the bloody details, he’d rolled up on motorcycle accidents where riders were gurgling their final breaths, he’d smashed into a padlocked, burning trailer and rescued five small children left alone. He’d faced down a desperate man aiming a crossbow at his chest. He’d been a trigger pull away from a psychotic intent on dying by cop. But those were minor compared to his experience with killer twin brothers who had shot their way through our small city a quarter century ago, and sent Mike’s fellow police officer to the grave. One twin brother died. One got away—for a week—before being captured hiding in an attic somewhere in Texas.
Mike was supposed to be on that call.
Through a myriad of random events, it seemed Mike, and his brand new rookie, were on another call a few blocks away when those two murdering men stepped out of that bus station and decided to take that officer’s life.
Like a nightmarish play, every moment of that afternoon had seemed choreographed to keep Mike and his rookie alive. In the end, the dead officer’s bulletproof vest had nine pieces of lead embedded in it. My husband’s vest had been taken into repair the day before—so he hadn’t been wearing one, and his new rookie hadn’t purchased his yet. No doubt both men knew what would've happened if they had been on that call. They, no doubt, think about it to this day. I know Mike does. They think about how if they’d only cleared the call they were on a few minutes earlier then they would’ve been there—to . . . what? They would've been shot, probably would’ve died along with their friend. But that doesn’t stop the “what ifs” or “if only”, or stop the flashbacks that sneak up still.
My husband doesn’t dream. It took a while to even sleep again.
This is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It's not the same in each person. His rookie can't remember what call they were on before it happened. That memory wasn't blanked out by the trauma.
This brings me to my book review.
Shaunna Gonzales chose to write an impressive debut novel about a soldier with PTSD. She did her research--talked to veterans who suffer from the disorder, and told us a story so believable it's unbelievable. It's a story about the loss of a loved one, and heavily lined about the importance of trust in a relationship.
Leave a comment, and you'll enter into a $10.00 Amazon gift card. You can buy Dark Days of Promise, plus another book. How can you lose?
This is the back cover blurb . . .
Thirty-four-year old Vicki Laramie must learn to trust before she can love, but she might die trying.
While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father -- a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as loving, a lie her rebellious teenager recognizes -- she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys. She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes. With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent.