Processing Trauma

paris5The Paris hospital hallway probably wasn’t as long as I remember it being. In reality, it took us 30 seconds to walk down the hallway to my dad’s room. In my memory, that was a 20 minute walk. It was up a hill and through a wind storm and under a screaming sun. It was a hike incomparable to my long distance runs.

The smocks we had to wear, the paper gowns that pretended to keep out germs, took maybe 10 seconds to get on. They felt like a light bristle against my skin, not like a heavy weighted quilt that took five minutes to pull on, which is what seems to be in my memory.

The way my dad looked, having endured the hardest week of his life, was apparently so much better than we could have expected. His muscle mass, his face, his teeth, the way his breathing looked, it was all better than what CJ prepared us for. But my memory will forever be tainted by an image of a broken, battered, and dying dad I call Superman. My memory has a stain the shape of my worst nightmare that reduced me to tears. My legs were shaking and I had to hold onto CJ to keep from falling to the floor. My body felt disconnected to this world and the moment felt like a scene in a movie that was never meant to be made.

The traumatic memories probably don’t look like the actual events. But they are the memories I have and the ones I have to deal with.

Apparently, we are all dealing with trauma right now. Meg cries and Haley struggles to deal with the emotions and we are tired and trudging through normal life.

Truly? Honestly?

I’m just tired.

Emotionally exhausted and drained. I’m not about to start crying or freak out about life. And I don’t think I need to. I’m not handling the trauma in a bad way. I don’t have to look like Haley or Meg or my mom.

Boredom, apathy, a constant headache, and a lack of emotions. That’s what it looks like for me right now. It looks different for Haley and Meg but that’s okay.

Apathy is an emotion. It’s a reaction that is valid. It’s annoying and comes with being easily annoyed, but its the emotion I have.

Image may contain: 1 person, beard, selfie and closeupI have these short memories that are very pronounced and distinct in my mind. Like walking down the hospital hallway to see my dad for the first time. Or when my mom got to the hotel and we ran down three flights of stairs to collide with her close to midnight, tears burning our eyes and relief to be rejoined with our mom flushing through our veins. These moments fill me.

The trauma was being so far away. Yeah, we were scared but the Holy Spirit did good things for me those first two weeks. I was forever promised that my dad would be okay. I felt in my gut that fear and doubt would do nothing for the situation, even though they snuck in occasionally.

The trauma, for me, was not “My dad is going to die.”

The trauma was “I’m not with my parents while my dad is on the verge of death.”

Now I’m home, my parents are home, and my family is together. The hospital gave my dad clearance to come home for a couple hours today to celebrate father’s day and seeing him in his happy place, by the pool with my mom bringing him meals, seems to calm any trauma that still wants to linger.

I am whole, I am happy. By the grace of God.


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