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  • Aimee Williams

Unshaped

I envy the ones who can hear the words “car wreck”

Without an increase in heart rate

Without electricity going up their spines

Without rapid breathing

Without it all leading back to that one summer’s night

I envy the ones who can talk about trauma victims

Like they’re just patients

Like it’s work to be done

Compressions and breaths and shocks and meds

Hard work and important work, but still, work…

Like the family members shouldn’t be trying to come into the ER bay

They might not “get” it

…and I’m glad.

People talk about car wrecks or natural disasters and say

“Oh thank goodness it was only one fatality”

But that one person’s life may have been the world to many

One fatality is one too many

I called him “hubby”

Our chubby-cheeked toddler called him “dada”

I see his face in my mind when people talk of car wrecks

Remember feeling the void in the place that was our home

 As our toddler looked for him those first two weeks

“Dada can’t come home,” I would tell her

“He’s in heaven with Jesus.”

She didn’t comprehend

I envy those who can watch movies without

Fear of the content bleeding into their real lives

Like a small child, I have to hide my eyes or cover my ears

I cannot watch a car impact on screen

I cannot watch an attempted resuscitation

I cannot

It’s too real

The imagined drama, trauma, there spirals me

Into the night of his very real death

I only go to the movie theater for children’s movies or comedies…

Anything else is better watched in the privacy of my home

In the event it may touch on real life

I’m a superhero fan.

I watched Superman die on the big screen

Later in a casket as Clark Kent

Martha and Lois standing there mourning him

But that’s not what my deceitful eyes showed me.

I saw my Chris lying there—

My mother-in-law and myself at his casket.

I sobbed through the movie Batman vs. Superman

I am broken.

Trauma has reshaped me

Unshaped me

I’m elastic that has been overstretched,

Lost from its original form

Parts of me will never bounce back

I was 28 when the trauma

Came to make its home inside me

I’m not as broken as I once was

I cannot say I’m completely whole either

I don’t know that a total healing is possible this side of heaven

It’s about learning to live with this

It’s about trying to live and make it as small an impairment as possible

It’s about learning to crawl from the ashes

Then learning to walk

Then one day beginning to run again

Post traumatic stress

Grief

Loss

Life beyond those companions—

Possible

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