Survivors Guilt… “The guilt of being alive is heavy!” Orlando shooting survivor…

Orlando Survivor
Patience Carter, 20, is overcome with emotion after speaking to the media about the Pulse gay nightclub shooting from the Florida Hospital Orlando on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Raedle | Getty Images)

The guilt of being alive… click here for more…

 on June 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM, updated June 14, 2016 at 5:07 PM

“A Philadelphia woman who was wounded in the attack on a gay nightclub in Florida this weekend read a poem to reporters on Tuesday that expressed feelings of guilt about surviving the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Patience Carter, 20, was shot in the leg during the rampage at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning and is expected to recover. Carter’s friend, 18-year-old Akyra Murray, and 48 other people did not survive.”


Veterans who served in hard combat will tell you that survivors guilt is a lifetime of emotional pain. Following is an excerpt from my book, Reconciliation, A Son’s Story. 

“When Dad completed his shore patrol assignment in Hawaii in the summer of 1943, it had been almost two years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  He was able to return home briefly for a few weeks before returning to war in the Pacific.  He was promoted to Chief Petty Officer (BMC) early in 1943 and subsequently assigned to the USS Belle Grove (LSD2).   He was on the commissioning crew of August 9, 1943. Dad was one of three Pearl Harbor survivors on the BG.  He was held in high esteem.   The BG would become one of the most decorated war ships in the Pacific Asiatic Theater serving in 7 campaigns, included the now famous Iwo Jima battle.  LSD means Landing Ship Dock.  These mighty ships were cleverly designed as a sea going ship repair station deployed in the campaigns to repair damaged ships at sea, land marines on the beach, and to recover the wounded and killed.

These men, heroes to be sure, who landed on the beaches of places like Iwo Jima, knew they were given a 50% or less chance of survival.  My dad carried marines onto shore and risked his life as well, but never felt he was a hero or was doing what his fellow marines had to do.  In other words, he wasn’t exactly on a suicide mission like the rest, so he as well as most sailors felt guilty most of the time for being alive.  This kind of guilt lives with men following the war for the rest of their lives.  It is one of the symptoms creating the conditions for PTSD.  Interesting but tragically, the feeling of guilt also lives with the abused spouses and children of surviving combat veterans.   Guilt is evident in most cases of PTSD whether from combat, surviving an accident where others were killed, or from living in a toxic family culture as a survivor of long term abuse.”


Of all the symptoms of post-traumatic stress, survivors guilt, stacks up as being one of the worst nightmares, leading to chronic depression, anxiety, and anger.  When a survivor, as your loved one or friend, has a panic attack or an outburst of anger, please be sensitive and provide a calming response.  The behaviors of survivors reflect a profound and almost never ending grieving process that can linger for a lifetime.  It takes significant awareness, love, empathy, and compassion on the part of family members and friends to help a trauma survivor through a severe episode of extreme guilt that is hidden in the soul and mind.  Survivors suffer from moral injury and must grieve.  Loved ones can help by being extra sensitive to the circumstances and needs of those who suffer from survivors guilt.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2.  Click the highlighted text for my author page to order books and other stuff.

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon, Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story by Steve Sparks… Click the highlighted text to order…

‘Moral Injury’: An Invisible Wound Of War… A Spiritual Dilemma…not a diagnosis…

American Sniper…The big screen movie…click here for this powerful video clip!

Moral Injury is not a diagnosis, but an explanation for many veterans’ emotional responses to their experiences of war.”

The following public broadcast series is a critical and timely body of work…  I have found my journey of healing far more realistic and understandable, when using the diagnosis and symptoms of PTSD in the context of my own spirituality…that is what is innately right and wrong.  Participating in traumatic events where there are citizens including children killed as collateral damage in war is heartbreaking for soldiers.  They may not always show it during the heat of battle because they are trained to kill and defend themselves and their battle buddies.  Emotional numbness, a symptom of PTSD, is often a good defense for the soldier while in combat and when initially returning home…  But once home following deployment, the heartbreaking experiences haunt most veterans for a lifetime.  The anxiety, depression, and angry outbursts at home then affect the rest of the family or loved ones, especially children.  Children are silent but often end up exhibiting secondary symptoms of PTSD to carry forward in adult life.  This was the experience of my family for decades before beginning our own journey of healing through researching and writing my book.  Since publishing my book in November 2011, I have been hosting my own blog as well, which is very healing for me and countless others who follow my work and posts each and every day.
Please take advantage of the awareness and educational opportunity of the following series on moral injury, a collaboration between WBUR and American Public Media’s Public Insight Network.  A deeper understanding of moral injury and the spiritual implications will provide a much stronger level of awareness to those who suffer from the symptoms of PTSD.  The first step to healing is awareness.  Knowing yourself as a spiritual human being and engaging in human connectedness will enhance your own healing journey…a work in progress…
Steve Sparks
Author  Quoting from this website and reference links…

“Veterans who have been a part of something that betrays their sense of right and wrong often find themselves grappling with what researchers are only now beginning to understand – something that PTSD doesn’t quite capture. They call it “moral injury.” It’s not a diagnosis, but an explanation for many veterans’ emotional responses to their experiences of war.”
Our series on moral injury is a collaboration between WBUR and American Public Media’s Public Insight Network. The series launches June 24.

How To Treat A Veteran’s ‘Moral Injury’

By June 28, 2013

BOSTON — It’s a term some experts use to describe the aftereffects of some aspects of active duty.

For Soldiers At War, A Rewiring Of Their Sense Of Right And Wrong

By Samara Freemark and Meg Martin, Public Insight Network June 27, 2013

An official Marine Corps portrait of Giselle Sterling hangs in her father's home. (M. Scott Brauer/Public Insight Network) SANDOWN, N.H. — Giselle Sterling, 31, served in Afghanistan. Her father, Nelson, served during the Vietnam War. The two are just now beginning to compare their experiences of war.

A Crisis Of Compassion In The Chaos Of War

By Samara Freemark, Public Insight Network June 26, 2013

Tom bought this sketch, which hangs by his front door, after returning home from his second deployment to Iraq. It depicts an American soldier and an Iraqi civilian woman. He says he's still coming to terms with his role in the war. (M. Scott Brauer for the Public Insight Network) BOSTON — During his second deployment to Iraq, ‘Tom’ found he had trouble holding on to his moral compass. And then reality hit — in the form of a local Iraqi’s dog.

‘Moral Injury’: Gaining Traction, But Still Controversial

By June 25, 2013

BOSTON — Experts say members of the military have trouble with the idea that the very thing they are trained to do can injure them.

Defining The Deep Pain PTSD Doesn’t Capture

By June 24, 2013

(AP) BOSTON — The concept of moral injury — a betrayal of your sense of right and wrong — has helped Marine Corps Capt. Tyler Boudreau understand years of pain that therapy and medications for PTSD didn’t address.

‘Moral Injury’: When Soldiers Betray Their Sense Of Right And Wrong

By Martha Bebinger, Samara Freemark and Jeff Severns Guntzel | Illustration and layout by Andy Warner June 21, 2013

(Symbolia) Veterans who have been a part of something that betrays their sense of right and wrong often find themselves grappling with what researchers are only now beginning to understand. “Moral injury” is not a diagnosis, but an explanation for many veterans’ emotional responses to their experiences of war.