The PTSD of Grief

Trauma’s experience comes back to slap you in the face and knock you down when you least expect it while you grieve; this is PTSD.  Sounds, visuals, and even the time of day can trigger the pain all over again. This is one such moment for me:

moon thru the trees

Stepping out into the night air

this late at night

when all is quiet and still,

a chill reverberates through my veins.

 

The moon is high

and the damp cool breeze

freezes the memory even as my breath exhales a cloud

into the starlit space.

 

Visceral memory awakens

and I shiver and shake

back to the side of the road

on the night of your accident;

my stomach knots into a square.

 

The lights flash yellow and orange and blue and blindingly white

as trucks and cars are askew and many

blocking the way for everyone except us, your dad and me;

only we were allowed in.

 

Fear like no fear I felt before

overwhelmed me more than my imaginings

anticipated…

 

Waiting was hard.

Seeing was hard.

Comprehending was hard

and the ground beneath me was hard

and wet

and consuming me in the farmers’ meadow

like fermenting dung, and it all stunk!

 

I breathed deep

because I think I just stopped

from the shock of it all.

Disbelief and amazement stunned me

when I realized how close to death you came.

 

Even now,

as I step into this night months and months later

fear overtakes me

and I can feel the damp and see the lights and hear the confusion;

You were almost taken by the angel of death,

if it were not for the angel of life that carried you thru those juxtaposed poles

as you flew airbone

down into the belly of the farmers meadow.

 

Slapped across the face I feel the sting again, and again, and again;

PTSD for me

every time I step out into the night air

this late at night

when all is quiet and still …

and a chill reverberates through my veins.

 

You weren’t taken then,

but little did I know

time would only be yours for just so many months more…

and then you really would be gone.

Forever gone from my earthly-momma-grasp;

No more cool, moon-lit nights for you.

 

Deep, deep, deep it sits way down inside –

my fear was fully realized.

What I did not know,

was that night

was just a prelude to the worst night of my life.

I just can’t shake it; PTSD.

Fear like no fear I felt before remains within my bones.

One viscerally locked memory flows into the next…

 

Son,

I miss you so much.

***

 

So the question remains, “what do we do with the pain that re-occurs; how do we deal with this grief induced PTSD?”

I will tell you,

I just allow myself to feel it.

The pain and tears are what they are;

The hour passes and I am still me and I know

that God has been holding my hand

the whole time;

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  Isaiah 41:13

As I approach my first Mother’s Day without my son, Caleb, I anticipate pain and sorrow to be heavily pressing upon my momma-heart even as I take joy in my other children both near and far.  I will not fear because I know God will be helping me get through the day.

If you are a grieving momma, I say, put your hand in His and let Him be your help you too!

 

 

 

 

 

That Dreaded in-the-Middle-of-the-Night- Phone Call

Hello?

Mom, is dad there?

Hello?

Where are you?

Where is your car?

Who is bringing you home?

Are you okay?

Why are getting into a strangers car?

What time will he be here?

Should we get dressed?

Is he okay?

Did he say where he is?

Did he say anything about his car?

Is that them?

What happened to your head?

Does it hurt?

Do you know you have an egg on your head?

How did that happen?

What town were you in?

What intersection?

This street?

This way?

How many tow trucks are there?

Is this your son?

Is he alright?

Should we call the ambulance?

Where is his car?

Down there?

He came from which direction?

Missed this pole?

Then that pole too?

How fast was he going?

Airborne?

How did he live through that?

He shouldn’t have?

Angels?

What were you doing?

Why were you even in this town?

How did this happen?

I can’t believe he did this?

Who will follow the ambulance?

 

***

All parents dread the phone call in-the-middle-of-the-night.

That was the night we realized just how deep our son’s addiction was and how dangerous it was becoming. It was the night we hoped would have scared him out of his denial.

Sadly, it did not.

If you have questions and wonder if your son or daughter is using a substance, seek counsel at your local Recovery Center or police station’s D.A.R.T program; do not let stigma or shame or fear hold you back.