Bernie “Doc” Duff


Bernie “Doc” Duff: Aftermath

Artist’s Note: I did this painting for the PTSD unit at North Chicago VA Medical Center. As I did this painting, I was reminded of the feeling that I got for the staff at this hospital. It depicts a medic embracing a soldier new to battle.

The soldier on the right is crying, only because he still has that ability to feel the pain that soldiers who have been hardened by the ways of combat, have packed away. Showing one’s emotion is allowing weakness to gain control and when the individual loses any amount of control, that weakness had a habit of leading to death. The soldier on the left, while embracing the “New Guy,” shows little emotion and is but a shadow of himself. “Aftermath” is not only the after effects of war, but how we with PTSD must now reach back and embrace the child that we were before the trauma that was Vietnam.

At the PTSD Unit in North Chicago, the staff cradle and hold each one of the soldiers who pass through their doors and restore in us a measure of the life that we once knew.