Haunted by Guilt and the Smells of Blood and Gunpowder
It has been 45 years since I returned to the U.S. from Vietnam. I was only 19, but the year I spent there made me feel like I had already lived ten lifetimes. My family said, “Welcome Home,” but I have never fully come home.
Why do I still carry so much pain from that war? I have been told over 100 times: “Put it behind you and move on with your life.” But Vietnam hangs onto my innermost thoughts like a newborn to its mother’s warmth.
The friends I left behind wouldn’t want me to be in this bad state of mind. They would want me to cherish life. Sometimes I think: Why didn’t I die with them? They are the lucky ones. They are at peace now. I wonder if I will ever know what it is like to be truly at peace. …