He Found the Tree to Hang Himself; Instead, Marc Raciti, Wife Now Help Other VetsPhoenix New Times
July 28, 2017
Marc enlisted in the military as a private at 25 and retired 24 years later as an Army major. He was deployed five times and “frequently provided good medicine in bad places” as an orthopedic physician assistant.
Among all the lush Hawaiian greenery stood a bare, gray trunk with roots shooting out in all directions. It was easy to miss and even easier to forget. Birds wouldn’t even perch on the bony branches.
Marc and Sonja Raciti wrote, edited, and published a book on how PTSD affects veterans and their families.Marc Raciti said that he and the tree shared a connection. This was the tree he chose to hang himself on.
“We’re both strong and had this greatness about us, but we’re both broken,” he said.
He wrote the notes, he brought a rope, and he was prepared to go. But instead, he fell asleep leaning on the long roots that formed a natural armchair. He dreamed of the drop from the tree branch and waited for whatever version of the afterlife would present itself.
He woke up and decided to seek help.
Marc is shy to talk about how he met his wife, Sonja, at Schofield Barracks army base in Hawaii. He lets her do most of the talking about how they were set up by a mutual friend and waited a whole year to meet to each other.
But when it comes to the mental health of veterans, Marc is quick to speak up. He’s written and published a book on the subject, specifically centered on his own journey.
His self-published novel, I Just Want to See Trees, was recently named a finalist in the International Book Awards for two categories, Health: Psychology/Mental Health and History: Military, earning the book a small golden sticker on the front cover.
The title and cover are a tribute to the large, dead tree Marc considered hanging himself on. He named the tree, and the poem it inspired, "Unforgiven."
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