September 16, 2019


My trauma is a melting pot of feelings that a stew together. The initial trauma was the sexual abuse as a child. I carried that for a long time. I don’t feel like I carry that with me. Maybe deep down there is a small wound. I feel like that has healed. I don’t feel sad or upset when I talk about that trauma. I don’t get angry or resentful. 


My brother’s suicide is the trauma that has not healed in the last nine years. It is the wound that seeps open at the sight of other little events of traumas and bursts the floodgates open. It mixes my emotions up and it all feels like the same pain.


In the past few years, there have been some tragic events. We have lost three young people from my school to suicide. Kids that roamed these halls have ended their young lives. It cut open my heart and refreshed that wound from my brother. 


My student. He was a quirky boy. Quiet and kept to himself. Smart. I wrote his IEP for three years. I wished him well. Then, I received the news that he was dead. Just gone. I was informed in a way like it was business. They needed files on a kid who was dead. Just paperwork. My heart hurt.


My friend’s son, a kid I’ve known since about 1st grade really did me in. I don’t know why but his death really hit me hard. Maybe it was the closeness I have to his family. He no longer went to our school. He was in high school. Once you are one of our kids, you are always one of our kids. 

The night of his vigil, I couldn’t go. I stayed home and got drunk. I couldn’t face the world. I drank until I couldn’t see straight. My son put me to bed. I didn’t shower for a week or brush my teeth. I was depressed.


The last suicide. She was a bright kid. She had a rough go of it. She always said hi to me even though I wasn’t her teacher. I had her brother and she always told me what was going on with her family. Her suicide hit me hard too. She was a sweet thing that had her life stolen by the demon of suicide.


All these deaths opened up my trauma. I could not distinguish them from my brother’s suicide. It was the same wound. It hurt on the same level of grief. I cried for the same pain I felt. 


Now a new trauma. The passing of Paula. 


Paula was murdered. I knew Paula as a young girl from school. She is the daughter of our former assistant principal, Sean. She is also one of the singers in the choir at the church where her father, my former AP is the choir director. I know Paula more as a young adult from the church. Seeing her weekly at mass in the last year that I’ve attended St. John Neuman. She was a bright light. Always smiling. She could sing in Latin and do it beautifully. She was funny and talented. 


I didn’t know her very well, but my heart is broken for my friend and his family. It feels traumatic for me just knowing her even though I didn’t know her very well. I’m grief-stricken. 


I didn’t shower for a week or brush my teeth. My sister finally told me I smelled and I showered. 


Dealing with tragic loss opens the wound on my heart. Cognitively, I know I should be able to process each of these losses individually, but I can’t. They all go into the same bucket. They are daisy-chained together and will stitch my heart closed until the next trauma happens that unleashes the tears to fill the bucket.

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