The Willie Gray Story is a true story about Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
What happens when someone you've known for years suddenly becomes a stranger? One woman deals with the reality of watching the man she loves struggle with losing himself.
The Willie Gray Story is like that of millions of soldiers who have served in combat zones. PTSD can destroy lives if left untreated. Willie Gray's story will open your eyes to the reality,the pain, and the heartache of loving and living with someone who has PTSD.
Please scroll below to read an excerpt.
This is the second version of this book, which was re-edited and given a new cover in December 2012.
This man is about to kill my husband
That was the only thought running through my mind when, after pulling up at a gas station, Willie decided to pick a fight. Willie was driving and he and another man were trying to reach the same gas pump at the same time. Willie lost by a few seconds but decided to let the man know how he felt about it.
Willie got out of his car and said to the man that he was wrong for pulling up to the pump first. I tried to tell him that the man had the right of way, but Willie yelled at me to shut up. Willie kept talking and said to the man that some niggers don't know how to act. When he said that, the man came angrily toward him with one of his fists balled up and ready to swing. I yelled out to the man, pleading with him not to hit my husband because he wasn't well.
The man stopped in his tracks and said to me that I'd better take Willie somewhere and get him well before someone hurt him, because he was about to knock Willie out.
I was relieved when the ordeal was over, but I could only wonder at the actions of my husband. Acting belligerent and irritable at home was one thing. Acting that way in public where someone would surely fight back was another. He needed to know that he couldn't do that, especially when his wife and son were with him.
I told Willie that he could've gotten all of us hurt by acting the way he did. Willie just brushed it all off like it was nothing and said that if the man had put his hands on him, he was going to pull out his gun and shoot him. I told him that the man could have had him in a position where he wouldn't be able to get his gun. All I could do was encourage him not to do that ever again. I knew what I said went through one ear and out the other. I knew he would likely do it again. All I could do was pray.
It would be some time before I realized that his behavior was a result of the time he'd spent in Vietnam during the war. What enveloped him in the war was never dealt with back then, and it gradually brought us to this devastating point. There are many other raw memories that P.T.S.D is responsible for, but you will read those as you go through the book. I'm recounting these memories because Willie can't. A lot of these memories are painful, and all are deeply personal, but they need to be told. Some things may not be written in the correct order that they happened, but my intent is to focus on the P.T.S.D. and how it affected my husband and our family. I'm hoping that this book will help other families in a similar situation.