Monday, January 26, 2015

Character Inspiration - Dr. James Kurtsman

Seven and a half years ago I lost my father. He was an incredible man that I am ashamed to say I was too selfish to get to know until the last few years he was around. I loved him with my entire heart but being completely different people that struggled to communicate I would not say that for the majority of my life we were very close. I do look back on things about our time together though as inspirational and I know he molded a great deal of my thinking and feeling about parts of my own life.

I am currently working on a book called Sharing Strength. In it there is a small support group of people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Two of them are military men that saw combat and lost a friend. One is the father of a small boy killed in a crash that he blames himself for. One is a rape victim and one if the survivor of an extremely abusive relationship. I have a number of military friends that have helped with the two soldiers. I have spoken with a family torn apart by the loss of their child and the two young women are based on my own personal experiences.

While I have focused a great deal on how hard it is for me to write about what happened to the women, Rachel and Jasmine, I have found another character that is very close to my heart. The leader of the support group is a therapist named James Kurtsman. He is in his sixties and several years ago both he and his wife were diagnosed with breast cancer. They both fought it, he survived but she lost her battle. He suffered tremendous survivor's guilt causing him to seek retirement until his friend asked him to oversee the support group.

As time goes on in the book the cancer becomes a subject injected periodically from the strength to fight the disease to his mental state after losing his love to it. My father also had cancer. It is not what killed him but it is an area of his life I also do not know that much about. He was intensely private about his struggle and I wish as I delve deeper into what happens with Dr. Kurtsman that I had been there to talk to him, spend more time with him and just generally know what he was dealing with. I have unconsciously found a way to bring my dad, a man I still miss and cry for everyday, back to life through a man that was supposed to just be a minor character I never intended to know.

He speaks to me and I know deep inside that it is my dad reaching out to let me know he is still with me. I am so glad he is able to be a part of a story that means so much to me.

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