I often am left to wonder – at what point do I stop being affected by the tragedies I hear of, that I see on tv, that I watch in a movie, or that I witness. I remember always feeling sad when something awful happened. I remember when the Challenger’s lift off interrupted my watching the Young and the Restless instead witnessing the death of all of those people on the Challenger. I remember being upset that I wasn’t more ‘affected’ that I wasn’t more sad, and yet I know that I couldn’t believe what I was watching, what I had seen and what they said had happened. I do remember when the Challenger exploded, thinking that something didn’t look right. Now I can barely hear about the Challenger without tearing up – is it as simple as, my grief was delayed.
I don’t think so.
I have written and talked so much about 911, that I will spare you the re-counting of my experiences and my grief and sorry there, but I can’t help but believe that 911 has left me with pain, with a fear (not of dying myself, but of losing those I love), and a sense of trauma that I don’t think I understand. For several years, I couldn’t hear, speak of or watch anything regarding 911. Now it still causes me to catch my breath and I have to control myself to speak of or listen to anyone regarding 911, but I can do it. I still haven’t been able to watch the movie yet, but I will
Recently, I learned how I handle tragedy with the whole mess of that murder at the Westroads. That stupid, selfish monster who decided that his need to be ‘known’ was more important than the eyes of others. I know I have mentioned to many how much it bugs me that he is so often referred to by name. I still believe that one of the first and most simple things to do is never call him by name. I was even dreading the tv movie that you know will come out of it some day. I was thinking that I should try and jump on trying to write that story. In it I wouldn’t mention his name – hell, I wouldn’t show more than his feet and the gun. The focus would be on the people who lost their lives. I am all about mental health and there were things this kid was missing, but the resources are out there and he had been receiving them for years. Again I say, I would feel for him, I would have empathy for him had he not made statements along the line of ending his life and making his name known.
There is a reason this is on my mind. I sat down to watch a movie last night while I ate my dinner and initially was going to watch The Kingdom, which I have had to shut of a couple of times before because what it is about, seems to fresh to me. I wasn’t sure if I could watch it. Well, last night I thought ‘I keep hearing how good this is’ but the DVD wouldn’t work in my player. So I looked through the movies that I have in my pile that I haven’t watched yet and settled on “We Are Marshall”.
I had forgotten what the movie was about and within the first ten minutes I was sobbing and truly, I sobbed throughout the majority of the movie. Now it was a powerful movie, there were obvious sad points in it and I know that normally it would have made me tearful, but normally I wouldn’t have sobbed the way I was sobbing. I have to wonder if this had to do with this story just hitting me so powerful and then I remembered one of my friends asking me, ‘When did you become so sensitive to trauma?’ He asked this after the Westroad’s shooting, when I wasn’t able to discuss it with him.
I keep going back and wondering if it all has to do with 911 – does it affect others like this? Will it affect me for ever? On the one hand, I hope so, it was a tragedy and there is a party of me that says reaction it causes me is a way of honoring and remembering those who lost there lives. On the other had, I hope that it doesn’t always affect me so strongly, that I have trouble dealing with other traumas which I am guessing are inevitable.
“We are Marshall” is a wonderful movie and powerful movie about how people come back from trauma. I loved that about the movie, it was truly inspirational.