Today I thought we would continue our EMDR work but our conversation took off so quickly, we lost track of the time. The shooting at the high school in Parkland, FL had happened recently and we got into a discussion about gun control legislation. Since I live in Sandy Hook, it’s a painfully evergreen topic in our community.
But JW did ask me how Parkland affected me. Did I find the news triggering?
I realized that I don’t think school shootings affect me as much as they affect my friends… because I already understand the traumatic and tragic turns life can take so suddenly. I ‘knew that’ before Tinsley died, but something about actually living through a traumatic loss has brought a strange type of peace to me about the chaos and horror in the world.
I suppose you could say, I finally have admitted my powerlessness to protect my children. That’s not to say I don’t take every precaution I can to keep them safe (I’m on the over-protective spectrum for sure)….maybe my anxiety around my living children is already so high, a horrific event can’t push it any higher…. or maybe I have truly accepted that the world is a scary, unpredictable, and unfair place.
Avoidance is not the solution to triggering situations. For example, as I discussed with her during my history taking session last week, I was in a near-fatal car accident when I was 21. As a result, I don’t like to drive at night, even 14 years later. I kept thinking it would just “get better” with time but that was misguided. It won’t get better if I don’t process it.
A good reminder that if I don’t process the grief around Tinsley dying, it will haunt me forever. I can have it haunt me, or I can invite the intense pain of it now, and learn to integrate her life, and her death, into my daily living.