Monday, April 22, 2013


Today I called my therapist. Which doesn’t seem like a big deal, right?  I should have said today I NEEDED to call my therapist. Bad.  I originally started seeing her years ago when I was so overcome with grief that my skin actually ached, everything annoyed me and even the tick. . .tick. . . tick… of her office wall clock catapulted me over the edge during one session. She helped me through it all and when I came out the other end, we were dear friends.  As a matter of fact, most sessions we had in the past few years were more like business strategy meetings. She has a talent for putting everything in perspective, her bull meter is finely tuned and she loves me. Perfect!

Skin aching, stomach twisting, sadness oozing from every pore, I punched in her number and when the message machine came on, I calmly asked her to call me as soon as was convenient.  I hung up knowing I should have left her a more in-depth message.  I should have shouted   “PTSD has me by the throat and I can’t shake the fucker off.”

I was sucked into a multi-faceted perfect storm.  Phase one of the storm began a few weeks before when Steven, my one and only brother, my dear friend and support system, who had been vacationing in Virginia, blacked out, coughed up blood and was rushed to the hospital.  He was brought into the ICU with a diagnosis of sepsis-- blood pressure so low it was barely measurable.  The next 48 hours was a nightmare as we held our breath, waiting for him to turn the corner. The poor fellow in the bed next to his, with eerily similar symptoms, did not.  Thankfully my brother, who had been a marathon runner and in great physical condition, did.  He is a little worse for wear but definitely on the mend.

The emotional twister then headed northeast, gathered speed and hit hard. Phase Two:  I, like everyone else, watched in horrific real-time, the act of pure evil and cowardice as two bombs exploded at the finish line of The Boston Marathon. I don’t have to go into detail about the nightmare that followed. We've all seen it.  Some of us were standing feet away, some gorilla-glued to our televisions. In those couple of moments we all again witnessed the fragility of life; how in a split-second we can experience the highest of highs then the unfathomable lowest of lows.

I closed my eyes, tight.  Memories of twin buildings falling into their own footprints instantly flooded back. Visuals that were painstakingly hidden and held hostage underneath boulders of self-protection, escaped with rapid-fire speed.  I opened my eyes at the exact second a man in a wheelchair flashed on the screen. His legs were blown off and two men were running, pushing him through the crowd.

Phase three nearly knocked me down. It was suddenly 2001 and I was back in the ICU. I was one of ten people who surrounded the hospital bed. Later, I would find out the others were surgeons, nurses, psychiatrists and a social worker. It was up to me to tell the one person that I loved most in the world, the one person who for so many years my main purpose in life was to keep safe and out of harm’s way, that his strong left arm was no longer there. Only a densely-wrapped bloody gauze remained.

I know, all too well, the shock, anguish and disbelief. I know all too well the phantom pain that waits for these innocent victims. I am overwhelmed with anger. Who are the monsters who plotted this destruction, mayhem, dismemberment and death? 

When the photo of a sweet-faced teenager dominated the networks, I was stunned.  Monsters are supposed to look like monsters!  Not like a typical teenager who plays video games in his filthy clothes-strewn bedroom! What could have happened to the kid who people call “…sweet, polite, fun and full of life” that he would commit such a heinous act?  I don’t want to wonder about that.  With every fiber of my body, I don’t want to agonize over what went terribly wrong with him!   But I do.

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Alison is the award-winning author of The Lily Lockwood Series: The Seeds of a Daisy and soon to be published The Silver Cord.

The Seeds of a Daisy is available paperback and digital download: Amazon, and iTunes

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