Moving Through Emotional Trauma

My Daughter was shot early in the morning on Cinco De Mayo. The miracle is that she survived. The trauma of that incident has changed us all forever. I still feel stuck, lost and numb since this occurred almost 6 months ago now, but I feel I must share this incident in order to move on and past it. 

My daughter is an active and amazing 25 year old woman. She works in a leadership role in the food service industry and is a single mother of a very bright 5 year old daughter, but she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. She had gone out to a club with a friend to go dancing. While outside the club, getting ready to leave, some young men began fighting. Someone in the group pulled a gun and tried to shoot their adversaries but hit my daughter instead. The bullet entered high in her left abdomen and came out her back. It passed completely through her missing: stomach, intestines, lung, pancreases, spleen, and bones; literally missing everything important for life. There are many heroes in this story. Her friend was the first one. She fought her way back outside, against the crowd and despite active gun fire still occurring, to be by Kat’s side and apply first aid. Still more heroes were the police officers who arrived quickly and moved her to safety across the street. Then there are the EMTs, doctors and nurses who got her to the hospital, into surgery and started on her healing process. I am so grateful to all of these people who played these roles to make sure my daughter came back to me. Her sisters who rushed to be by her side, putting their own lives on hold, as well as all the other extended family members aiding in her recovery. There is so much for me to be grateful for in this story. 

I feel the need to finally share this emotional trauma. I have friends who have lost children and I cannot imagine that pain or what life looks like after having to face such a devastating loss. Many people go through all types of trauma and loss and I do not believe mine to be worse than anyone else or more important. I just feel the need to share about my trauma. That it might give words to others who have experienced this and somehow feel unworthy to express it. Because in the end, everything is okay. 

Everything is okay with my daughter. She has healed physically, although the scars are still there. Her life choices are forever changed by having gone through this, but emotionally she seems to be doing okay. For me, though, it is still there just below the surface. While she was in the hospital I stayed with her everyday; about 22 hours a day even though I didn’t have too. When she went home from the hospital it felt so hard to leave her. Somehow, I felt that if I could stay by her side, I could keep her safe. I knew I had to go but it was still one of the hardest things I have experienced. Having to drive away from her house her first day at home. 

I am numb, I am lost, and things that once seemed important have lost their appeal. I went to a therapist to see if that would help me work through it, but after a couple of sessions, she told me I didn’t really need to be there. I know I am processing grief. I am mourning the belief that we are safe. That things like random gun violence happen to other people but not to us, but it can happen to anyone. Does this mean we should live in fear and not experience life? I do not believe that. I believe that taking the risk, going to see and trying new things, falling in love, applying for your next great job, and following your dreams are all totally worth it; even when they do not turn out as planned. Even when pain and heartbreak are a part of your journey, the journey is still every bit worth taking. The trauma we feel is real, but so is our ability to dig and claw our way out of the the darkness. 

I am still figuring out how to make my way home to myself. Writing this blog is a part of that journey. Supportive friends and family are also a blessing on this trip. I have so much gratitude to all of the love and prayers that have been shared with us. Healing work, meditation, gratitude are also a part of this path. I will practice good self care, love my family, spend time with our children and grandchildren. Someday I will wake up and realize that the numbness is gone and that the darkness has been replaced with more light. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. May any emotional scars you are carrying be brought into the light and validated. I love you!

A Story of Adoption… My Story

When I was young I got pregnant. This was during the time in my life that I lovingly refer to as my ‘evil rebellious years’. I would fight with my mother for  just the sake of fighting and, of course, thought I knew everything about life. I was no longer living in my parents home for precisely these reasons. When I first realized I was pregnant, I was very happy and excited. I went shopping with a friend and bought a teddy bear that was wearing shorts with neon green smiley faces for this little spirit that was growing inside of me. I also ran into an ex-boyfriend’s Aunt shared with her my excitement. She one of the very first people who knew I was pregnant.

It didn’t take long, however, for me to come to the realization that my life was not conducive to raising a child and providing her with a life, I felt, she deserved. I had no job at the time. I was living on a friend’s couch. The future did not look bright. I had to make a very hard decision and I decided to place my baby for adoption. 

That same ex-boyfriend’s Aunt and Uncle had not been able to have children together. I called her and asked if she would raise my baby. I really think I shocked her. It is not the kind of call you expect to get. My mother was worried about having someone I knew adopt my baby and asked me to talk to an adoption agency. I did as she asked but it was not a good experience. They actually made threats that if I gave my child to someone of my choosing they would have me charged with child abandonment. What a terrible thing to threaten a 18 year old girl with. I was just trying to do the right thing for this little life that had been created by my actions. 

Lawyers got involved and the Aunt and Uncle started the long process of home studies to prove they would provide a safe and loving home for this little soul. I can not speak to everything they went though, in order to adopt this baby, as I was quite a bit removed from the process but it was a lot.  

From the time I was 3 months pregnant, I thought of this child growing inside me as their child. I am not sure I could have gone through with letting her go if I had not. When she was born, her mother was at the hospital. They were kind to me at the hospital, putting me in a private room just outside of the maternity ward. During my stay, her mother would come and spend time in my room with her. I remember one morning a well meaning nurse brought the little one into my room for me to give her a bottle. My only guess as to why she did this was because she thought I might want to keep her if I fed her. What this nurse could not have possibly known is that I did want to keep her. I would have loved to have taken her home with me, but I knew I could not offer her the life she deserved. 

When I was released from the hospital, her mother drove me home, dropped me off and left with her. It was the first time in 9 months I had been without her. It felt so strange. I will be forever grateful to her mother for doing what I could not do. She loves her, made sacrifices for her, and raised her to be a remarkable woman. I am so proud of the amazing person she has grown to be. 

Her mother kept me informed about her life, invited me to events, and allowed her to spend time with my grandparents. I was so amazed in her love and unselfishness. I love her for this. 

When I share this story with others they open up with their own stories of placing children for adoption, being adopted, or other adoption stories within their own family. Adoption touches far more people than we realize. I am not embarrassed by my choice to place my baby with a different Mom and Dad. They gave her a better life. It was a decision I made out of love. Just as their choice to welcome this little soul into their life was also made out of love. 

And the story continues -> My Daughter’s Mother… Dotties Story (An Adoption Story continued)

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your past choices made from love give you peace, as if by magic. 

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