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The VVA Veteran Reviews Prelude

Prelude was recently reviewed by David Wilson, a reviewer from the site “Books in Review II.” Wilson's review eloquently chronicles his reaction to the novel alongside his own experience in Vietnam. "I highly recommend this novel, both as a good read and as a glimpse into the lives of...

SD Sawyer

What can families do to bring them home (after they return)? (cont’d)

As the Waiting Wife of a Vietnam veteran, I counted off days until I finally got word, the exact time the Army would return my soldier.  But the 25 year old man they returned was not the young husband I kissed good bye at the airport months before.  Nothing like the guy I married right after college.

In fact, nothing about him was the same.

A gaunt stance had replaced his military Old Guard parade posture.  Sallow lines fell into folds down his face.  His gait limped.  Angry, jagged scars mapped his back and arms.

And he’d grown a mustache.  Those were first observations.  Others, more invasive, less obvious, emerged weeks, months, years after the day I picked him up at  Walter Reed Medical Center.

“How did you—  bring him home?”  a soft voice asked me at a meeting one evening after I had spoken about the novel.

All eyes waited on me.  “I don’t know.”  I looked over, startled.  “Honestly.  I never thought about it.”

The thought that perhaps I had something to do in helping a combat platoon leader who had seen more than I could imagine, more than I’ve even want to know, more than he’d ever want me to know—  the thought that I had any role in “bringing him home,” seemed presumptuous!  For a fleeting moment, I felt flattered that someone thought I was involved in his recovery.  But I knew I was far too ignorant at that time to be of any help.

“You see, back then, in 1970, when he first came home, I believed he was— home.”  I nodded affirmatively, feeling my way through to an answer.  “I began unpacking boxes from storage as well as my role as wife and mother.  I had no idea how far from home this man lying next to me every night—  really was.   It took months, years, before I realized or could acknowledge, just how far from home he had been, and for how long.”

What I said—  didn’t feel quite right.  I didn’t know the answer.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about that question.  It might be one of those topics you learn the answer to as you write about it.  One you discover as you piece together the memories and events with feelings, words, images, and Truth.

If you’ve read my novel, you know the last words between Tom and Meg.  Perhaps now is the time to continue the dialogue.

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2 Responses to What can families do to bring them home (after they return)? (cont’d)

  1. Susie says:

    thought-provoking. I hope S.D. Sawyer will “continue the dialogue”.

  2. Matthew says:

    SD- Are you hinting at a second novel? I sure hope- you have touched more lives than you know with your first. I can only imagine how many more you will touch with a 2nd. I for one would love to read more !

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