PTSD

In some ways, it’s been a long summer. Big decisions were made that needed to be made but that came at somewhat of a surprise. So we are processing the changes and what has brought us to this point.

I’ve got two kids and one precious little grand. These 3 keep me busy, both my hands and my heart, working to make the days easier and better as well as praying and encouraging for good lives, honorable, healthy, strong lives.

I’ve spent a great deal of time talking with Noah, my 11 year old who often brings to light what hasn’t been named, things that should be and maybe must be for all of our long-term benefit.

We’ve had our little guy with us while his mom worked many days this summer. The boys love one another like brothers and fight like brothers, and I’m trying to play a difficult balancing act, trying to be Mom to one and Granny to the other when they are so close in age, exactly the same difference in age as me and my only sibling, so it’s not always easy.

As I approach the topic of the trauma we’ve all faced, I always feel like I’m on the precipice above deep, dark waters too murky to see into. That’s really how the past several years have been…for all of us, truly.

The best I can do even with my history of studying psychology and going through my own personal counseling of many years is to name what I know. Then, I’m left as any other, to deal with the overwhelming knowledge that the unthinkable happened to us. Could it have been worse? Yes, and praise God it was not. But it was bad, terribly bad, something I would never wish for anyone to have to endure, certainly not children, and with a heavy and weary heart, I know not only did it happen, it happened to my own…

Noah mentioned the summer of two years ago yesterday to me. He asked if I remembered a particular evening. I did. He went on to describe the feelings he had that day, the thoughts, what he believed was going to happen to all of us here, at home. He begged to leave immediately. He remembers me offering assurance that we would be safe, but he said it did not help. He was consumed with panic.

I well remember that day. The tears of both my children and the surreal experience I had as I tried to wrap my mind around what was happening.

Noah asked if I thought he had PTSD, too. He still has nightmares and panic. He still has anger that was foreign to him before. He has difficulty trusting and whereas in the past the world was one big adventurous place to explore, he prefers to be home. He lives the change that has occurred in himself.

Today, the two boys were playing and the little one let out a squeal. I immediately respond with concern. Nothing wrong, just typical child play. I was in the next room where I could hear every word they said and really knew nothing was wrong, yet my immediate emotional response to anything that could possibly signal alarm, and my heartbeat has quickened and a sense of dread takes hold. And then the thought…we all have a little PTSD. When I hear distress from the little fella, I’m reminded of what I could not save him from, what should never have been, what we all want to erase, and what shattered innocence for 2, not 1, young children.

Through it all, you know to a great degree you are alone. As dearly as others may love you and want to help, they cannot know the cost of what has occurred. As with all other things, unless you’ve experienced something very similar, you can’t know, and it’s fresh and raw again even after times of emotional reprieve. Change makes it come again. Times and seasons are reminders, too. Words and stories some find comical lay open old wounds for us. It isn’t funny when you’ve really been harmed to hear people joke about kids needing a beating. Some have been beaten and they will never be proud it happened nor should they.

So…I’m ready for cooler days, shorter days, and for time to save us again by offering a new season, other opportunities to make new memories, days of gentleness, learning, growth, and peace.

A nice trip to the mountains to view some brilliant autumn color in the not too distant future sounds like just what the doctor ordered. And rest…rest that comes best on cold nights nestled all snug under a heavy quilt.

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