Sundance Kiss

Sunflower close-up

Sundance Kiss

Oil on canvas, 18” x 24”

After leaving my last city, I became the full-time caregiver for my disabled Vietnam veteran husband. For three years, I sat by his side and cared for him through two major surgeries and the loss of a lung. He came close to losing his leg and nearly died twice from pulmonary emboli. By the grace of God, he is doing better but suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Sundance Kiss became a bright reminder that God’s grace is sufficient for us. He poured sunshine and life into our home during a difficult time. Sundance Kiss is now my stepdaughter’s delight and has been added to her sunflower collection—a reminder that her father is doing well.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? In context of the Vietnam veteran, PTSD is the long-term consequences of combat-related stress, which affects an individual’s ability to cope psychologically after returning from the war. More than two and a half million Americans served in Vietnam. Seven million returned with some form of PTSD. Over 57,000 lost their lives fighting in this war. PTSD continues to be a debilitating disorder for soldiers returning from war today. [Data from: Charles R. Figley, ed., Stress Disorders among Vietnam Veterans (New York: Brunner/Mazel Publishers, 1978)]

©Penelope Culbreth-Graft, June 2013

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