Echoes of the Vietnam War

EP30: You Are Not Alone

Release Date: August 2, 2021

June is National PTSD Awareness month. Vietnam veterans often have a hard time getting help for this condition, and having someone in their corner can make all the difference in the world. Cyndy Hollender-Stancliff married two Vietnam veterans, both of whom suffered from PTSD. She shares her story of love and support, loss and healing.

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Echoes of the Vietnam War


HOST: [00:00:01] June is National PTSD Awareness Month. Vietnam veterans in particular often have a hard time getting help for this condition. The fact that was made infuriatingly clear in episodes seven and eight of this podcast entitled “Rocket Man Parts I and II.” Those episodes told the story of Lance Corporal Bill Klobas, a marine who left Vietnam with a mind boggling number of injuries that went undiagnosed and untreated, including a traumatic brain injury. And his daughter, Casey Byington, who set about finding help for her father when his PTSD came roaring to her kitchen table 47 years after Bill’s tour ended. In “Rocket Man,” Casey becomes her father’s advocate, counselor and personal one-woman attack force. It’s a story both brutal and tender, and it ends on a high note, with Bill receiving his long overdue Purple Heart medal from the Marine Corps. But Rocket Man’s story doesn’t end there. When we last spoke to Casey, she was still battling to get her father’s PTSD and his TBI service connected. I reached out to Casey for an update.

CASEY: [00:01:09] I believe in the last episode we were on appeal number four for the PTSD and TBI portion of his service connection. So yeah, still a lot of appointments, a lot of different claims opened. Working with the Disabled American Veterans as his sponsor, they kept identifying things that we should open claims for, like his tinnitus, his hearing loss, his back pain and issues. Just a lot of things that I guess being so consumed I didn’t necessarily identify. And it’s interesting how the VA will do like your right knee and your left knee – and those are separate – and your right ankle versus your left ankle, or the left hip and the right hip and all of that stuff collectively has got us to where we are. But I’m grateful for the DAV because I never would have known how to piece all of that apart to get him the help that he needs.

HOST: [00:02:06] Wow. So you had to break everything down to isolated units and file claims on each?

CASEY: [00:02:11] On each. And I think collectively, Michael, we did 12 claims that were filed on his behalf and all of them have now been service connected.

HOST: [00:02:23] And over what kind of a time period? Three years, four years?

CASEY: [00:02:27] Four and a half years. Yeah. Because he got his service connection notification in December of 2021. So…

HOST: [00:02:36] So, just six months ago.

CASEY: [00:02:38] Correct.

HOST: [00:02:39] How have things changed for him now that his, his… All of his various issues are service connected?

CASEY: [00:02:46] I mean, in a very positive way because being 100 percent service connected, he now has the benefit of going to any doctor for any service that he needs and then resubmitting all of that claim through the VA thereafter. Whereas before he had to get approved prior. With his mental health as well, he’s able to still go to the vet center. He’s done a couple of different therapies there and we’re so grateful for those people that work at those vet centers. He’s been through light therapy. They’ve tried to help him through a bunch of those, you know, PTSD and TBI kind of in conjunction related therapies, try to kind of rewrite some of the endings that were really haunting him. I mean, your listeners probably remember him sharing stories of like it was always the same four dreams or it was always the same five things. They always ended the same way. So his light therapy sessions that he did helped him to rewire in his brain. When those triggers start, like, let’s let it end this way instead. And not that it could be positive, but just a different way to think about things to where it didn’t always take him down that dark hole.

CASEY: [00:03:53] So while that has been really great, I shared before that my dad lives in a very rural part of Idaho and so part of his VA care is what they call through the community of care. So we have had some issues where documentation hasn’t been done correctly. My dad was prescribed a medication for his mental clarity that we later found out, because he also has glaucoma, could have caused a stroke and his doctor didn’t know that because his community of care team didn’t document it correctly in his file. I’m grateful that as soon as he was prescribed that, I Googled it and looked up all of the all of the side effects, anything to watch for, anything to be aware of. And right there, glaring at the top said, if you have glaucoma, do not take this medication. And so we had to file a grievance against that because it was it was just a misstep between that community of care. But holistically, he is being cared for on a level that he never could have imagined in the past, and we’re grateful for that.

HOST: [00:04:54] And how has that changed his day to day experience?

CASEY: [00:04:57] You know, every day is a battle. The PTSD and the TBI are always there… Right? I mean, he wakes up every day and has to make the choice to to have a good day to try and do his best, not to travel to that space that just is sometimes hard to dig out of. So while I’d like to say, like, this has made everything all better, right? We got the Purple Heart, we got him 100% service connected. Everything’s great. That’s a lie. And your listeners would know that’s a lie, because every single day the PTSD is there, the memories are there. He’s doing an exceptional job, though, taking care of himself and going to his appointments, attending his therapy sessions at the vet center and really being cognizant of his triggers and how to work through his triggers, his his cognitive behavioral therapy, which he did at the vet center a couple of years ago. That 12-week program that he did really helped him to be mindful, more mindful of what was going to set him off and what kind of conversations and what kind of social interactions… And so he’s just really, really working hard to be on top of that. You know, he’s also aging, though, as we know, and his mental clarity is not what it used to be, and that’s frustrating for him. So forgetting little things here and there, that’s been hard. So while it’s… While again, holistically it’s better every day is is a is a is a battle as I know it will be as long as he’s here with us.

HOST: [00:06:26] How old is he now?

CASEY: [00:06:28] Dad was born in 1950. So he’s 72.

HOST: [00:06:31] Is he still active? He’s still creating?

CASEY: [00:06:34] He is absolutely still creating, yes. He you know, he goes through ebbs and flows, I think, with that. There’s… There’s days that it gets overwhelming and it’s too much for him to sit and focus. And then there’s days that that’s all he wants to do. So he does the carving stick, so he carves on the walking sticks. And then he also does a lot of mosaic work. Recently here in the Boise area, I joined the Idaho Veteran Chamber of Commerce on their board, and they’re doing a gala this August for PTSD awareness. And Dad is so excited because they asked him to donate a bunch of his artwork for that. So he’s been working feverishly around making some Purple Heart mosaics and walking sticks, and Vietnam-specific walking sticks for people to be able to get at that gala. And he’s super excited for that. So his artwork definitely still brings him a lot of joy. And, you know, some days he’ll say that he’s so grateful… I mean, he’s always grateful, but some days he talks about how he’s so excited that he met up with these people that maybe he hadn’t seen in so long… And other days it’s I don’t want to talk to you today about anything that has to do with Vietnam. I can’t think about it. I don’t want to talk about it.

CASEY: [00:07:46] So again, there’s still like those dark days that happen for him. It’s not all joyful, because there’s so much trauma associated with the experience. There was a time that my dad was in a grocery store and he had his Agent Orange Awareness shirt on and a young gentleman came up to him and said some really inappropriate things, you know, about how that was “so long ago, you need to get over it.” Just a lot of stuff that was completely inappropriate… And that person needs some education, right? But my dad kept his cool and he had just gotten out of therapy. And I’m grateful that he had because it worries me that a lot of people don’t understand, especially like we’ve talked about, with not being able to see PTSD. When you say things like that, that might be a trigger, you know, what that could end up like. And again, I’m just really proud of Dad for working so hard to get to that point. I love my Dad so much and he is such a hero in my eyes and I would do anything for him. And I hope that I have proven that to him, you know, so that he knows that any time you need someone in his corner, he can count on me.

HOST: [00:08:53] Yeah, I don’t… I don’t imagine he has any doubt about that. Having someone in your corner can make all the difference in the world, whether you’re the ones suffering from PTSD or you live with someone who is. Cyndy Hollender-Stancliff married two Vietnam veterans, both of whom suffered from PTSD and Agent Orange related illnesses. Her story of love and support, loss and healing is coming right up. Stick around. From the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, founders of the Wall, this is Echoes of the Vietnam War. I’m your host, Michael Croan, bringing you stories of service, sacrifice and healing from people who still feel the impact of that conflict… Nearly 50 years later. This is Episode 30 – “You’re Not Alone.” Cyndy Hollender-Stancliff was born, orphaned, adopted and raised in Sacramento, California. Before she even hit middle school. She was already well acquainted with loss.

CYNDY: [00:10:14] Everybody was older than me and my entire family. But I grew up fast, because of the times. And I had friends that died in the Vietnam War. I didn’t like what was happening, you know, and when you lose someone very young at a young age, you learn about death very quickly. I don’t know… I grew up too fast. I didn’t have a childhood.

HOST: [00:10:45] Cyndy went to college at Sacramento State University when she was 17, but it wasn’t right for her at that age. So she went to work. She met a man and lived with him for seven years, and when that relationship ended, Cyndy went back to Sacramento State to continue her education. It was there in Sacramento that she met the first man she would marry.

CYNDY: [00:11:11] Walked into a Denny’s. At that time, they had like two booths on each side. And I looked at each one. There were three of them at the counter, and I picked John to sit next to out of the three other guys or two other guys were there and at the time I smoked and pulled out a cigarette and this hand came over and lit my cigarette and just… We just started talking and I said, I don’t normally give my phone number out, but here’s my phone number. I went home and told my roommate at the time I found the guy I’m gonna to marry, and it took a week for him to call me.

HOST: [00:12:03] John Carlin Hollender was from Pittsburgh. Like Cyndy, he was an orphan who had been adopted. And like Cyndy, he had grown up fast. John was drafted into the Army in 1966 and served as a Spec Four for in the Special Forces in Vietnam from September of 1967 to August of 1968. He specialized in communications and spent his tours in III Corps, near the Cambodian Parrot’s Beak, about 40 miles northwest of Saigon.

CYNDY: [00:12:33] I knew that he was hurting. I knew what he was going through. In certain respects, he was also going through… Had gone through a divorce, and I had gone through a basic breakup of a boyfriend I’d been with a long time. And just, we just started out being friends and learning a bit about each other. He had two sisters, one of which he never talked about – I didn’t meet her until he died. Didn’t even know he had her. He had two brothers. One was in Vietnam after him, who he had tried to… Tried to talk him out of it every which way he could. When he came back, there were five of them all together. We were married in 1984 and he passed away in 1994, so basically almost ten years. We did not have children on purpose because of Agent Orange. He he did not want to take the chance that a child would have spina bifida. Plus, we were too busy enjoying each other’s company. He was married once before, and his brother said, “Yes, he was married before, but you were the apple of his eye.”… And that stuck with me for years. Still does. Obviously. He could be the sweetest, most wonderful man in the world and very loving. I mean, we never hang up the phone without saying, “I love you.” Never walked out the door without saying it. Just sitting on the couch, you know, just snuggling up to each other, I guess. Laughing a lot. Courteous. Opening a door for me every time I was, you know., every time we went somewhere. John was not close to anyone. If we met somebody and they were they fought in Vietnam, he’d ask them three or four simple questions, and if they couldn’t answer right, he’d get frustrated with them because there were a lot of wannabes, what they call wannabes out there. But if he could tell that they were in Vietnam, anybody who served in Vietnam, regardless of what they did, did their service and did their duty, then, yes, he he had an instant bond with them and they had an instant bond with him.

HOST: [00:15:08] But like a lot of other Vietnam vets, John’s service had affected him deeply. And when those emotions surfaced, Cyndy found her loving husband transformed.

CYNDY: [00:15:19] I knew what I was getting into when I married him. I chose to be with him. John was a pressure cooker… And that was part of the PTSD. He would see something on television that would set him off, and he would explode. He could get very verbal against the world, and it’s hard to describe what that’s like, but something would set him off and he would just… The anger would surface so quickly that you couldn’t…. The best thing to do was to let him get it out. But he’d say, “Is this what the fuck I was fighting for,” … you know? And that would be why we didn’t watch the news very much.

HOST: [00:16:11] In those days, a lot of Vietnam veterans just weren’t inclined to seek help, especially from the government.

CYNDY: [00:16:19] At the time, he wouldn’t deal with the VA. And back then, to be quite honest, in in the early, the late ’70s and early ’80s, the guys did not want to go to the VA. When you’re married to someone with PTSD, they isolate a lot. So you are their person to let it all out. If I saw him start to pressure cook, as I call it, I would try to get him to let it out, because once he let it out, then it relieved him a little bit. To be honest, he drank a lot. So he would go into the bedroom, shut the door and drink and scream and yell. And I would just go out and, you know, just let him do it to get it out of his system.

HOST: [00:17:25] Cyndy was John’s only support, and she knew she needed help to sustain herself in that role. She found it among other Vietnam veterans and their families.

CYNDY: [00:17:36] I made a call to the vet center to see if I could get counseling. I never had a lot of friends growing up, so my friends were few. And… To be quite honest, I didn’t talk about it to family and friends. You know, it was just something you didn’t mention your your family life and the bad things that go on, you just mention the good things. Go on. I kind of clung more to the veterans themselves. You know, hearing their stories and how they deal with things and such and how I tried to deal with things with John, you know, letting him get it off his chest was one of the things I learned. Don’t try to sugarcoat it. Just let him scream and yell and whatever he needs to do, bang a wall if he has to, you know. By getting those other perspectives helped me understand what he was going through more.

HOST: [00:18:43] John and Cyndy liked to visit the rocky coastline of Northern California. John had lived there for a time. And for him, it remained a place of peace.

CYNDY: [00:18:54] The only time I ever saw John fully, fully relaxed is when we were at the coast at the water. He was at peace there. Basically, when we would go up, we would we would stay at a place that was very peaceful, very quiet, not much around, but nature.

HOST: [00:19:19] After a time, the couple moved to the Pittsburgh area, where John had grown up and still had fond memories. But eventually, the combination of his PTSD and his exposure to Agent Orange proved too much for John’s heart to take.

CYNDY: [00:19:35] His heart just stopped. He had so much plaque and such built up from the Agent Orange, that – and the frustrations that he was always carrying inside – his heart just stopped. I came home and he was gone on the floor. Another part of PTSD. I also just still see that picture. Thirty-some odd years later here.

HOST: [00:20:10] It was February 1994, winter in western Pennsylvania.

CYNDY: [00:20:24] It was supposed to be a big storm coming in with a lot of snow and such. So he was basically buried fast on a Wednesday. My brother-in-law, my two sister-in-laws, and my niece and my mother all flew out from California. I remember one friend that he had met there… And that was it. At the funeral. And… I remember having to borrow money from my parents to, to bury him. And it was the first time in my life I’d ever had to ask for something. Which was hard for me. I had no idea what I was doing. I don’t even, I mean, it’s all kind of a blur. You know, I remember walking into the florist and the lady said, “Oh, I’m really sorry. Is it your father?” And I said, “No, it was my husband.” And she broke down and cried. You know, I remember things like that. But when we were asked, you know, when they asked me what I wanted on the headstone, I don’t remember if I picked it or if my mother picked it. I just don’t remember. I was surrounded by, I guess, the three people I knew the best: my sister-in-law, my my niece and my mom. They carried me through that. I was in my 30s. I was so young and it was so sudden. I was in shock for a year. All I could do is put one foot in front of the other and walk.

HOST: [00:22:06] Cyndy had a close friend from California named Audrey, who was then living in Maryland. Audrey drove up to western Pennsylvania and stayed with Cyndy for several days after John’s funeral. Cyndy had no reason to remain in Pennsylvania, and didn’t want to go back to California. So when Audrey returned to Maryland, Cyndy went with her.

CYNDY: [00:22:28] Audrey took me back to her house, in Gaithersburg at the time, for a week, and that’s how I got connected with The Wall. I went down to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I met a volunteer who laughed with me, cried with me, hugged me… And, just helped me get through what had just happened to me. It was my first experience ever going to The Wall. And so that whole week, I kept going down to The Wall. And I felt closer to John every time I was down there. That kept drawing me down there, and I kept meeting other veterans and other family members and such. I can tell you it felt healing. I don’t know. It felt… Like I needed to be there. Like John was there, but his name wasn’t there. But he was there. I couldn’t go down in the daytime much because I didn’t really want to deal with the tourists, but found out that a lot of the veterans and people who really had a connection to The Wall came down at night, and I would stay sometimes till two, three in the morning because I just couldn’t sleep.

HOST: [00:24:21] When we come back, Cyndy finds peace, understanding and the second great love-of-her-life at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Stick around. Have you ever heard of Wall Magic? People who visit the wall talk about it that unexpected, often spiritual connection or discovery that happens when you visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial? It’s one of those things that if you know, you know… You’ve either experienced it or you haven’t. Well, maybe you’d like to, but you can’t easily get yourself to The Wall in Washington, D.C. That’s exactly why VVMF created The Wall That Heals, an exact replica of the wall at three-quarter scale that travels to communities all across America. The Wall that Heals, and the Mobile Education Center that travels with it, will be in Chisholm, Minnesota, June 23 through 26. To see the rest of this year’s tour schedule and to learn how you can bring The Wall That Heals to your town, visit This year, we’re celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to commemorate this milestone. Every day at 3 p.m. Eastern, we read the name of every Wall honoree who died on that date. This is in addition to the live, in-person Reading of the Names that will be held in Washington, D.C., beginning on November 7th. You can visit for more information about the daily virtual Reading of the Names and about the in-person event. The 2022 In Memory induction ceremony at The Wall is all set for Father’s Day weekend, and we’re already accepting applications for the 2023 In Memory Honor Roll.

HOST: [00:26:15] So if you have loved ones who survived the Vietnam War and died after returning home, you can honor them in next year’s ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We also have an In Memory Facebook group with more than 15,000 members, so be sure to join that if you want to feel part of a community of people who’ve experienced a loss similar to yours. You’ll find the 2023 In Memory Honor Roll application and a link to the Facebook group by going to and clicking on In Memory. And finally, for 40 years, VVMF has led the way to help heal our nation. Remember those who gave all and honor all who served? Our new legacy endowment will ensure that we can continue honoring Vietnam veterans for the next 40 years and beyond. We launched the Legacy Endowment with a $500,000 matching gift campaign: The Legacy Challenge. Each new outright gift or gift established through a will, will be matched up to 50 percent, with a maximum of $50,000 matched per gift. All qualifying gifts established or newly identified before November 12th of this year are eligible for the match. Learn more at When we left Cyndy, she had lost her first husband, John Hollender, to the effects of both Agent Orange exposure and PTSD from his service in Vietnam. After John’s death, Cyndy moved to the Washington, D.C. area and was spending a lot of time at The Wall where she eventually became one of the volunteers we affectionately call Yellow Hats. There she would meet the man who became her second husband.

CYNDY: [00:28:05] I guess it was ’96. I had honored John through the In Memory program and found closure. And I was ready to start moving on. But not away from The Wall. I mean, I would never go away from The Wall.

HOST: [00:28:26] Paul Crawford Stancliff was a Yellow Hat, like Cyndy, and like John, he was a Vietnam veteran. Paul had volunteered for the Navy and served as a machinist mate from 1964 to 1969. In 1967, he went to Vietnam aboard the USS Boston, a heavy cruiser. Shortly before the Boston was to return to sea, Paul was transferred to the USS Alt, a destroyer that docked in the Mekong Delta, taking Paul from blue water to brown water, a distinction that would become important many years later.

CYNDY: [00:28:58] We’d say “hi” and that… We really didn’t know each other. But one day he comes up and he stands next to me and he says, “Are you going to get to work yet?” And I said, “Yeah, when you give me a raise.” He said, “Well, I’ll give you 25%.” And I said, “Well, only 25 percent of nothing is still nothing!” And that’s just how we talked the whole rest of our lives. But we were both healing. Paul was widowed about the same period of time I was widowed and we just started talking and enjoying when we saw each other and… 4th of July is what I consider our first date.

CYNDY: [00:29:53] Independence Day on the National Mall is a spectacle like no other, especially in those days. Enormous crowds would spend the day having picnics and tossing Frisbees and generally being festive while they waited for the grand finale: The evening fireworks show over the Washington Monument. Paul and Cyndy were there all day, in their yellow hats and shirts, volunteering at The Wall.

CYNDY: [00:30:16] This was before they cordoned off all of 4th of July and of course, before they had no drinking on The Mall and that… And it was absolutely packed, just person after person. And Paul comes up and he says, “You want to buy me lunch?” And I said, “Sure, come on, we’ll go buy lunch.” He said, “Come on, I got to go to my car first.” He pulls out an ice chest that could feed the whole block, and he had a picnic basket, he had chicken, he’d made.. and a potato salad. So, in essence, he really was buying me lunch. And he you know, we sat out there, we had this big, huge picnic. We had food all day long and…. Alison Krauss is an artist that he really loved, and she was playing at the Sullivan Theatre and he said, “You want to go down and see?” And I’d never heard of her before. So I said, “Sure, we’ll go down there.” And I was kind of I’m kind of the outgoing type. And I would we wanted to go down to the front of the stage. So I got my yellow hat and I got my little shirt and he was behind me and I said, “Excuse me… Coming through… Pardon me… Coming through… Yellow Hat coming through… Volunteer here!” And we just kept walking and walking and walking all the way down to the front of the Sullivan Theater. And then because we were volunteers, they allowed us to go backstage. So…. And that night, of course, we went back to the Washington Monument and watched the fireworks fly. And we both felt like a couple of 16-year-old kids. He was also a gentleman… In the old, old days… And extremely loving… Someone who who cooked every day, cooked the meals, did the laundry for me. I was not domestic in any way, shape or form at that time. We had a very fun relationship.

HOST: [00:32:42] But underneath all of that, fun and joy and love. A time bomb was ticking. Paul’s time in the Mekong Delta had exposed him to Agent Orange. And nearly 30 years later, for the first time, that exposure began to manifest itself.

CYNDY: [00:32:59] When you spray, it doesn’t stop at the waterline. Let’s be honest. You know, the winds blow it and such. These men, even though they had a desalinization system on the ships and such, they bathed in it. They drank it, they… You know, cooked in it. You brush your teeth in it, you know? I’m sorry, but it still gets into the system. And because they actually were docked at the Mekong Delta, they were closer to it. It started with him the when he found out he was severely diabetic all of a sudden, less than a year before he married me. He had heart problems, things that didn’t run in the family, but eventually became presumptive for Vietnam service and Agent Orange.

HOST: [00:33:59] Over the next 17 years, Agent Orange would slowly kill Paul a piece at a time.

CYNDY: [00:34:07] I just watched him go from being diabetic, to having a heart attack, to having a stroke, to losing an eye, to having two back surgeries, to having prostate cancer, to having renal failure, and congestive heart failure. It just it took him very slowly. I watched my strapping, vibrant husband go down to being someone who couldn’t… I had to, unfortunately… I couldn’t take care of him anymore, he had to go into a nursing facility. Nothing can really prepare you. I can’t say that that’s a word I would use. Age plays a big difference in it as well. I mean, I was in my 30’s. I’m 64 now. You know, laughing. Teasing each other, doing things like that just went away. You know, just the last six months of his life were just the most debilitating of his life. Comments like, “I’m tired of being tired.” I became a caregiver… had to make sure he got his pills taken got make sure to he you know, just… Watching him deteriorate like that, I couldn’t do it again.

HOST: [00:35:57] Complicating matters was the fact that Paul also suffered from PTSD, although his symptoms were very different from John’s. They would still play a role in his decline.

CYNDY: [00:36:11] He could never concentrate. You know, like he, fortunately, did not have it as as severely as John had it, at all. Paul’s was more mild. More… Toyed with his concentration. He he was completely opposite. He did not want conflict. He couldn’t deal with conflict. His thing was to just go away… “Let it go. Let it go. Forget it. Drop it. I can’t, I can’t deal with that.” What helps was I told him not to drop his claim. I kept pushing him. I said, they’re going to push you so hard that you’re going to want to give up or die. That’s how the VA works. And we, we kept it appealing and appealing and appealing and appealing and appealing. That was one of the things I would not let him let that claim drop. Even during the deterioration, we still got to do things. I mean, the last big thing that we got to do that was enjoyable was I had a best friend whose birthday was my birthday, and we were he was my oldest and dearest friend, and he was living in a trailer, boon docking places. And we decided we wanted to go out to Sedona, Arizona. So we took this big, long, three-week trip and then met with my best friend for a week. And so me being able to get him out and him being able to enjoy that, of course, at that time he was with a walker and couldn’t walk much and that we knew his kidneys were failing. So we tried to do as much as we could in the time period we could before he had to go on dialysis.

CYNDY: [00:38:23] The six months between June 2020 and January of ’21. The dialysis took him down so fast, it made me cry just to watch him have to go through that. We were in the hospital many times. There were times in the hospital that I was very forceful and said, I am the decision maker here because Paul was not was not good at remembering things. I always had to go to the doctor with him. I retired early. I retired at the age of 55 so that I could do these things, go to the doctors with them and such. To be able to know what the doctor said and how they said it. And so, yes, we were aware his kidneys were failing. Did we wait too long to go on dialysis? It’s possible. Am I going to second guess myself? Absolutely not. I just wanted to enjoy the time we had together. Because of COVID, I couldn’t see him when he went into the nursing facility. However, they wanted me to be there at the dialysis center with him while he was having dialysis because he he was agitated so he would pull the needle out. So if I was there, he was less agitated. I was there the day he died. I’m the last person he saw. I was holding his hand for three hours and talking with him. And I thank God for that every day.

HOST: [00:40:28] I asked Cyndy, who was buried, two husbands, both veterans, what advice she has for family members of veterans who are struggling as a result of their service.

CYNDY: [00:40:41] If it gets to be too much seek outside help, there is help available. Seek help for yourself. Go to the VA and get as much help as they will give you. Be a pain in their butt. Seek out other people who who are going through what you’re going through. Being a caregiver is a very difficult thing to be, and it takes its toll physically and mentally on you. You have to take care of yourself because if you don’t, you can’t really take care of your veteran. Try to get as much family involvement. If it wasn’t for my stepchildren, which I call my children, Paul’s kids, I’d be a basket case. You’re going to learn you’re not alone.

HOST: [00:41:38] Cyndy Hollender-Stancliff, though she recently moved to Virginia Beach, Cyndy is still an active Volunteer at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Paul Crawford Stancliff, will be inducted into this year’s In Memory Honor Roll on Father’s Day weekend at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Thanks for supporting the official podcast from the founders of The Wall in Washington, DC. If you want to give us a little extra boost, tell a friend or two to check us out. Or better yet, leave us a rating or a review. Wherever you get your podcasts, Apple Podcasts or Spotify or iHeart Radio, that’s the most powerful way to help new listeners find us. We’ll be back in two weeks with more stories of service, sacrifice and healing. See you then.

[00:42:35] Forever in. Oh, no. To be. It’s so wonderful. With me. We go way.

Echoes of the Vietnam War

Full Interviews

Full Interview with Casey Byington

Full Interview with Cyndy Hollender-Stancliff

Echoes of the Vietnam War

Show Notes

Echoes of The Vietnam War

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