November 15th, 1995. That is the day my grandfather shot himself rather than face me in court.
My memories of that day are few and vague.
Flashes of Memory
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 much at all of the 3-day trip.
I can’t recall packing up the hotel, traveling to the airport, or flying back home to California. I barely remember my own participation in the trial.
I don’t really remember the inside of the courthouse, or the faces of the judge, the lawyers, or detectives; some of whom 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 only 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.
As The Unpacking Begins
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; 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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I am a trauma informed, trained, and Certified Peer Support Specialist in the state of Wisconsin. I am also a survivor with years committed to my own trauma healing after being diagnosed with (C) PTSD due to childhood abuse. Additionally, I have a professional and personal history of community facilitation and peer work.
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Reading your post, my heart hurts for you. Be gentle with yourself today and all the days that are to come. It might not feel like it, but you’ve come really far.
Thank you for the kind words and for the words of encouragement. Days like today test the limits of resilience, that is for sure.
I appreciate the courage it takes for you to share your story. My heart aches for what you experienced. I can connect to your reaction of having a flood of emotions instead of cogent verbal memory.
Thank you! It’s nice to know I’m not alone. 🙂
Such hard work. I hope you can do some sweet, kind things for yourself as you move through this; hot bubble baths, lots of rest, slow walks, and maybe a nice soft teddy bear…
I have a snuggly toddler, an Afghan project, a great book, and an amazing husband … plus therapy twice a week if all else fails. 😝😅
But in seriousness, I am taking it easy, and I appreciate your words of encouragement. 💜
What a powerful post. I quoted some of your words to my therapist. There are years missing from my life and I wish I had written more in my teenage years. I believe I encouraged myself to forget too….
“Coincidentally, I do have a never ending ocean of tears though. It’s like my mind just wants to erase this day from my memory but my senses can’t shake the grief.”
I had to share this with my therapist, because it speaks so accurately to my own experiences. Thank you for your words, I am misty eyed.
I can’t even put into words what your comments mean to me. <3 I am so sorry my words resonate with the pain you feel but I am comforted to know we are in this together.
I am comforted to know we and so many others are healing together. You are breaking the cycle, it takes immense courage to be a parent such as yourself and it will make all the difference ❤❤