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 terms “post-traumatic stress disorder” or “traumatic brain injury,” 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.

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7 Responses to Why I Wrote THIRTY DAYS WITH MY FATHER

  1. Jessica sawyer says:

    You are truly courageous and I am looking forward to reading there are so many things I have tried to block and try not to remember but just reading your blog and articles I relate much and I owe it to my kids to find a way to heal for them.

  2. CAROL A. MURPHY says:


  3. Doreen says:

    this is the best book I have read recently. It is so much of my life in there. This describes me – a journey through a thick forest of family secrets, war trauma, and stigmas

  4. Diane Nicholson says:

    This book is amazing. Christal thank you for sharing your story. I know you will help a lot of children of veterans with this book. It took great courage for you to share this part of your life and I applaud you for doing this. Has your dad heard of Vietnam Veterans of America or have you heard of Associates of Vietnam Veterans (an adjunct organization of VVA comprised of spouses, children and veterans from other wars). If you haven’t you might visit vva.org or avva.org for further information.

  5. Christal, I read you book recently and I want you to know how much it moved me. My dad also struggles with PTSD: undiagnosed and not from war. What touched me the most about your story was your courage to reach out to your father and see him for the person he is not the person you wish he was. Your courage to forgive and create a different reality for yourself has provided me with inspiration and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Your story will provide inspiration to many…

  6. Carl T Dykes says:

    Thank you for this book. I haven’t read it yet but I did order an autographed copy…As a retired Army Veteran with 24 years of Service under my belt and who is also still dealing with the after affects of war and PTSD, I’m hoping that, sometime in the future, my kids may be able to read this book and understand me a little better. I don’t think the fight ever ends, but the little victories sometimes make continuing the fight worth it…Take Care and God Bless…..and thank you and your Family for their service…

    Carl T. Dykes
    First Sergeant
    United States Army

  7. I finished reading your book this morning. I am a daughter of a Vietnam Veteran myself, and would just like to say thank you for sharing your story with us. Also, I mentioned on my website’s facebook page about me starting this book yesterday… and I will be posting again, about it, as soon as I figure out what I’m going to say. Your book is wonderful, but I’m not sure how to word my feelings yet. 🙂

    Below, is the link to one of the pages on my website. (If you’re interested.)

    Thank you, again, and have a wonderful day,


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