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PTSD and Heavy Hearts December 16, 2012

Posted by makingyourdashcount in mourning, parenting, Thoughts.
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I’m not sure if it’s PTSD, but I can’t watch a crime drama because it takes me right back to the fingerprint dust that encrusted my brother’s car.  When I went with the detective to pick his car up from the impound lot, it never occurred to me that this all too real connection to the crime scene that marked my brother’s death would even be there.

Detective shows of the 90’s always showed the carefulness of fingerprint screening.  Dusting a bit on, dusting a bit off. Meticulous.  That was not my brother’s car.  His was covered in it.  Fine and black every time one touched the car, inside or out,  it’s evidence remained on black hands and fingertips. I had no idea.

My first stop after the impound lot was a car wash.  I remember imagining it as a rape victim showering after an attack.  Although this was not a physical assault on me, it was an assault on all that defined my comfortable suburban middle class life.  This evidence of the fact that my brother died as part of a crime sent shudders through me, even thinking about it today, 11 years later. But I can avoid crime dramas.

I have a harder time avoiding ambulances, whose sirens take me to 2004 when my daughter’s ambulance blazed its sirens for miles to our local Children’s Hospital.  Perhaps the sirens would comfort me today, if Sarah had survived.  She didn’t.  Even now there are times when a passing ambulance leaves me still on the side of the road, while I catch my breath. But ambulances are luckily long and far between.  I can live my life.

The children, parents, teachers and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School will not have that luxury.  They have no choice but to again sit in a classroom or send their children on a bus. The love and and guidance that will need to accompany each step is beyond imagination. Elementary schools are places of wonder, not of violence.  In efforts to protect our children, how will the parents whose children were spared  fit this back together? It isn’t a matter of “suck it up and get on the bus.” Of course my heart is heavy for those who grieve.  But my heart also cries for those who survived.

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