Thursday, May 8, 2014

Character Profile Craig Stilwell

In Sharing Strength there is a group of people all suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. I have already introduced Brian Nickerson a soldier struggling with how to deal with what he saw in combat in conjunction with being brought up to believe feelings and emotions are simply a sign of weakness.

We met Jasmine, a photography lover that survived years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the boyfriend she was brainwashed into believing loved her. He tortured her psychologically making her believe everything good in her life would disappear without him and everything bad in either of their lives was her fault. The break up came after a fight where he nearly killed her.

Dr. James Kurtsman is the man that leads the support group. He is a cancer survivor and widow after losing his wife to cancer as well. He is also the former business partner of Dr. Thomas June who was the psychiatrist seeing most of the group as patients before the group formed. He does his best to bond with each member and help them find their own ways to cope with their situations.

Craig is a very broken man. He survived a car accident that claimed the life of his four year old son Jeremy. He was the driver and though he was not drinking himself, alcohol was partially to blame. His wife, after a bottle of wine and several drinks on top of it, fought with him during the drive even resorting to physical attacks.

He went off the road trying to defend himself. when he attempted to correct the steering it spun the car slamming the passenger side of the car into a large oak tree. He and his wife survived but the impact killed his son. His wife blamed him for the accident as for the death of Jeremy. She divorced him sending him deep into depression.

He suffers from survivor's guilt as well as manic depression but truly wants to find a way to move on. He has suffered flashbacks and saw Dr. June by court order but he begins through the book to feel that the group may just be the thing that saves him, at least he hopes.

I have written about car accidents before. I have even written the death of a character but in this case writing the description of the death of an innocent four year old boy was extremely difficult for me. I hope I have done it justice and once I have it edited perhaps I will post it as an excerpt. Please understand that this book is entirely symbolic and his son dying was a needed element in order for Craig to represent his part. I do not enjoy the idea of creating a situation that kills a child.

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