The war in Vietnam ended in 1973, but in the bodies, minds, and spirits of thousands of Vietnam combat veterans, the war relentlessly rages on. The on-going war they face daily is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. By definition, PTSD in combat veterans is a delayed response to the trauma of war. It is estimated that as many as 30 to 35% of Vietnam veterans have significant PTSD. According to Veterans Administration authorities, approximately 1.5 million Vietnam veterans eventually will need psychiatric help based on delayed symptoms of PTSD. The greater, yet often unrecognized tragedy of PTSD, however, is that it also affects the wives, partners, children, and other loved ones of combat veterans. It is estimated that 900,000 wives and partners of Vietnam veterans and approximately 1.1 million children may also be affected, not to mention the approximately 4.7 million members of veterans' extended families.
The author's husband of twenty years, Dwight Snow, is a Vietnam combat veteran with permanent and total disability due to PTSD. Treatment for combat veterans with PTSD primarily consists of antidepressants and talk-therapy. These only go so far. Family members seldom are included in the long term care the veteran receives. Psychological care falls far short of the need, and there is no long-term care for family members, who must learn through hard experience how to live day to day with the PTSD-wounded veteran. Psychological care is inadequate to the needs of combat veterans like Dwight and to the needs of their loved ones, and a yet deeper wound has been left untouched. That wound is a spiritual one.
"Call it intuition, if you will, but I have a theory about Vietnam combat veterans and their spiritual histories. I suggest, based upon my experience with my husband and with his Vietnam veteran friends, that those combat veterans whose spiritual life and faith-ethic were the strongest prior to their traumatic combat experiences were the ones who suffered the greatest long-term damage," writes Rev. Snow.
THE MISSION OF THIS BOOK: to share hope and healing with families, friends, and care-givers who witness daily the challenges facing a combat veteran whose wounds of war extend far deeper than meets the eye.
Rev. Amy L. Snow, M.A., is well qualified to write this book. She lived it! She is the sixth and last wife of Vietnam combat veteran, Dwight N. Snow, who is 100% permanently and totally disabled with PTSD. Through twenty years of observing her veteran husband's rarely verbalized but intensely felt memories of war and those of his veteran friends, she has learned much about the realities of PTSD. She has grown greatly in her appreciation and understanding of its manifestations. She has seen Dwight through some of the worst of his post-Vietnam PSTD struggles and has learned much in the process. She shares that learning with her readers here.
She holds several academic degrees: an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Nursing from North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City, Iowa; a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota; and a Master of Arts degree in Religious Leadership from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, New Brighton, Minnesota. She is also an ordained minister in community-based ministry.
For twenty-five years she was in active practice as a Registered Nurse in hospitals, clinics, and home-care facilities, including the VA Medical Center in Iowa City, Iowa. She is involved in her community through The International Order of the Eastern Star, through Youth work, and through officiating funeral services and providing pastoral care for families without a church-connection.