My other book to be published in 2020 is a collection of short stories titled Coming to Terms. The book’s forward describes its content:
“Coming to Terms tells the stories of men and women confronted with pain as a consequence of love and hate, goodness and evil. Each finds a way to go on living, however imperfectly. None is left unscathed.
“All these tales come from my life, as a husband, father, soldier, and caregiver to the dying. Each major character is drawn from people I’ve known. My hope is that you and I, both, can learn from the choices these people made.”
Once again, the book is fiction in name only. The events described are all ones I lived through or knew of. The characters range from mature and virtuous to seriously misguided. They all struggle to come to terms with the life they live. Not all of them are likeable, but I love each of them. Like so many people I’ve known in my long life, these people break my heart.
This book, too, has its roots in Vietnam. I grew into the man I am today by virtue of what I went through during that war. I came to understand and feel for people I would otherwise have condemned or dismissed as unworthy of my time and attention. It was because of Vietnam that I volunteered to care for men dying of AIDS. And it was the effects of the war on me that led me to work for seven years in a hospice taking care of the dying.
One of the life lessons I learned from the war and my experience caring for others is that the only acts of significance in life are those undertaken for the good of others. What I do for myself is trivial. What I do to help others makes life worth living. Hence, Coming to Terms.