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Survivor guilt (or survivor's guilt; also called survivor syndrome or survivor's syndrome) is a mental condition that occurs when a person perceives themselves to have done wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not. This book is the final step in my recovery on this matter that has been haunting me for many years now. Not an issue we really want to talk about or even write about, but a necessity in dealing with the realities connected to this syndrome that impacts so many people who suffer from it.
This is a real story and a real situation. Being in Vietnam at the age of 19 and drafted into the Army, I struggled with many emotions but never against my country – rather the opposite, the fight inside me was always with myself. The anger, depression, guilt and no matter how much I tried to work it out, it kept coming back to haunt me until I made the right step and deal with it directly through Jacob’s sister who I contacted one day via the telephone and introduced myself as a fellow member of the 23rd Medical Battalion in Chu Lai, the day her brother died on a convoy that was normally assigned to me.
A dedicated military policeman, trained in first aid, “Jake” rode shotgun on the second truck in the convoy when it was hit by an EID that was meant for me but circumstances spared my life and took his. A true story that has helped me heal inside and now sharing it with others so they can understand or sense what needs to be done to put it aside, away or temper it so you can cope and be free from the guilt. A short book but heavy with circumstances that form the guilt, the experiences and the step to take in the end when all you have tried has failed and you need more help to overcome the mental burdens inside your head.