November 15th, 1995. That is the day my grandfather shot himself rather than face me in court.
My memories are few and vague. I remember the hotel that morning, going to check out the continental breakfast, I have flash memories of the detectives coming to tell us my grandfather was dead of his own hand, and that’s it.
I don’t remember the 36 hours prior to packing up the hotel, traveling to the airport, or flying back home to California. I don’t really remember the inside of the courthouse, or the faces of the judge, the lawyers, and detectives that I had been working with for a year or so at that point. In fact, if it weren’t for my diary entry, I wouldn’t even remember the name of my court-appointed advocate. A woman that I do remember in essence.
The one solitary diary entry that I wrote about this day gives me no additional details either.
For such an impactful and pivotal moment in my life, it’s almost like it never happened. I let myself, perhaps even encouraged myself, to forget.
I’ve touched on this in therapy; my lack of memory, and about how this experience makes me feel. This is a part of my childhood that I never give much thought to. I brush over it in therapy. I can see why, I have dissociated all feelings towards it.
Coincidentally, I do have a never ending ocean of tears to cry over it though. It’s like my mind just wants to erase this day from my memory but my senses can’t shake the grief.
I feel like I can’t catch my breathe sometimes. Sometimes, the complexity of my trauma knocks the wind right out of me when I try to touch it, but I know I have to lean into it.
So today, I am acknowledging one of the worst days of my life. A day that changed many of my perceptions of the world: of family, of safety, of stability, and of my own place of existence. Many of those perceptions followed me like a shadow into adulthood and try to get in the way of normal daily functioning.
I’m going to be patient with myself; I am going to feel it, process it, and do the best I can to move past it. If only the feeling and processing part wasn’t so painful and tiring.
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