In 1968 my brother, Danny who was 19 years old was killed in Vietnam. At the time, I was 15 years old. His helicopter was shot down and according to eye witnesses exploded in mid-air and then landed on the banks of a river. Because of heavy, enemy ground fire his body was never recovered. To date, he is listed as MIA (Missing in Action). After the loss of my brother several searches were conducted over the years, but no body was recovered. My mother and father lived the remainder of their years grieving deeply, but never gave up hope that someday his body would be recovered and returned home for a proper military burial.

In 2004 my father received a letter from the government informing him that there would be no more searches for Danny’s remains. The government felt that because of the many, many years which had passed, any chances of recovering his remains would be impossible. The hope my parents once had died the day they received that letter.

In 2006, when Mom and Dad were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I continued to pray to God to please bring Danny’s remains home. Even when we had received the letter I didn’t want to give up hope, because it was a deep feeling inside of me that someday his body would be returned home. In March, 2008, my parents were laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, DC.

On September 2, 2009 I received a letter from the government claiming that a witness has come forward with new information possibly pertaining to my brother. I know without a doubt that the day will come for me when I will be burying my brother, beside my mother and father at Arlington. God will answer my prayers. I’m certain of it.

Deborah Ann Tornillo
Author, “36 Days Apart”

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Deborah Tornillo

Deborah Tornillo was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas by her loving and nurturing parents. She attended the University of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she studied Art. After marrying, raising two daughters and enjoying life with her family, Deborah joined a higher calling by committing to be the primary caregiver for her parents, both of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in February 2006. In her new collection of memoirs, 36 Days Apart: A memoir of a daughter, her parents and the Beast named – Alzheimer’s: A story of Life, Love and Death, Deborah chronicles the time spent taking care of her mother and father. 36 Days Apart recounts this painful, enlightening journey, and Tornillo writes candidly about the struggles and fears she faced as her parents’ caregiver. As their disease progressed, Tornillo was faced with the difficult task of learning how to be a parent to her own parents. Through the year and a half of caring for them she extensively researched Alzheimer’s in order to provide the best care possible, all the while knowing that the disease would eventually win in the end. 36 Days Apart gives an honest, unflinching look at the realities of caring for and losing loved ones to Alzheimer’s. Tornillo gives the reader an inside look into the day-to-day life she faced during her heartbreaking, difficult time.

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