Tuesday, May 11, 2010
By a quirk of fate I have just finished a conversation with an eleven year old girl in the waiting room at the trauma therapist’s office. My son had been sitting on my lap and went to the bathroom. She leaned over and quietly asked was I waiting to see Bobby (the therapist). I answered my son was. She said her mom and grandmother were in with him because she was having a very difficult time; she had been shot in the neck. She asked was my son shot too? I tell her that he had not been, but I had. She asked where and I told her. She asked does it still hurt-the bullet in her neck hurts all the time. I tell her I too have a bullet and point to my abdomen.
My eyes well up. She was very reassuring, saying it was okay. Her mom had been shot twice, her brother four times, by her father. She noted it was not an accident-he did it on purpose. I understand the disbelief in her gaze and voice.
She was so soft spoken; barely audible. Like maybe I’d take it from her and carry it away if she asked softly enough. Her brother is ten and has been in the hospital in intensive care over a month. I told her I’d pray for them all-especially her brother.
I am stunned. I think she’s stunned she shared it. This child and I share the reality that no matter how many times we tell the story, there is no relief; it is not taken away. It is still ours, it is still real, we cannot make sense of it all. It is an unGodly bond she and I have, one which neither would choose, yet we seek solace in each others gaze.
I cannot help but be mad that her innocence has been stolen like my children’s. Clearly it is not looking good for her brother. I hold it together because there is a room full of people, and there is her. I try to process what this little girl has just told me.
As my son comes out I ask the therapist for a minute in his office to go over the paperwork needed to release records. I retell my experience in the waiting room. He says their experience is much like ours, adding no further detail. I don’t want to hear that. I don’t want to know anyone else has to experience it, although I know it to be true.
As we drive home tears roll down my cheeks, and by the time I get here I go into the bedroom, close the door, and cry. To think I was so upset when I realized today as the doctor was touching my right breast that the feeling isn’t there, and it may not be coming back. For God’s sake I have a breast. My children are physically unharmed, and I am walking around, surrounded by people who care for me. Yet I still cry. It is real all over again. Moving between mournful, grateful, angry tears. I remember crying this hard while I was in the hospital. After all the visitors had left and I was alone.
I’ve cried a long time. I make myself get off the bed and out of the bedroom because I know I have to for the children. I doubt I’d move if they weren’t here. I get up and do the next thing.
I cannot shake it. How quietly she spoke. Her eyes. Just looking into her eyes. That it made no sense to her, that she could make no sense of any of it. I can make no sense of it either. I cry every time I think of her. We were little comfort to one another.