Just before 7:00 a.m. on October 15, 1997, LTTE’s Black Tigers drove a truck laden with 770 pounds of explosives into the car park of my hotel in Sri Lanka. I watched in horror from my hotel room window as they shot and killed unarmed security guards. When the bomb exploded, I got blown across the room, had hundreds of pieces of glass in my back, and hid in a closet with another person while a gun battle ensued for several hours. One sniper was a few feet from where we hid.
Words cannot convey how terrifying it was. Dodging bullets, we were finally rescued and evacuated. The trauma of what happened that day I kept suppressed, and it ate away at my health. Before my wife Carla died of breast cancer in 2018, I promised her I would see a therapist on a regular basis. In 2022, I am ready to call myself a survivor — for the sake of my own healing journey and to give a voice to the 15 people who died.