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!

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle Against Giving Up

I begin by walking on two legs
Up and down, here and there, strong and steady strutting,
Even … just to stand, I am strong.
that’s how it is as the dawn breaks and the glimmers of the grays turn into blues and the mist lifts to reveal clarity caught in the sunlight’s path.
There is purpose. I declare.
He nods in agreement.

Interruptions come when I don’t expect them like a sucker punch to the gut
And a hole blows through my center
Buckling and bending I trip and stumble as my head spins and whips around.
What now? And why, and winds up my thoughts…
Purpose, is there? I question.
He nods in agreement.

One after another, the unexpected warbling of words that wound, shatter my standing and I fall to my knees …
So hard is the floor,
the sound thuds and reverberates up my spine and my hands break my fall;
I am on all fours now and it’s primal as I groan and grovel from my gut.
No way is there a purpose! I cry out.
He nods in agreement.

I can’t take it anymore and I collapse on the floor – prone, with my cheek pressed into the floor…
Cold it is and the tears trickle.

The stillness is loud.

He stands.
He bends his knee, first one, then the other.
He slowly falls forward onto his own hands and gently relaxes next to me.
It’s cold for him too as his cheek is pressed as well…
He looks at me and grasps my gaze that overflows the sorrows and pains and hurts and reaches into my deepest of places with a cradling caress.
He sees me whole and it’s ok… and He invites me up.
Hard and heavy and hungry,
Together we lift the weight and brush off the dust.

With a firm and sound voice,
He compassionately says, “purpose.
I know he’s right.
I nod in agreement.
And I stand again,
ready to go on.

***

This.

The battle against giving up.

This, in the grief!

This is a very deepest and truest of loves.
For me, I would lose the battle against giving up, if it were not for my earthly husband, “He” is my steady and faithful, always at my side, meeting me no matter where I am and encouraging me, as an authentic reflection of the ONE who is the ultimate “HE” in my life; My Lord Jesus, who stands with me in every battle, leading the Way.  

Who, is your “He?

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