A friend works with veterans. Some of her stories of the trauma they’ve experienced are beyond the pale. Stories like this one:
“He tells you about how he lost his innocence when he asked a fellow soldier why the skeletons that they were digging up all had their mouths open. His buddy responded: “Because they were buried alive.”
How can I read this and not feel like my little story is so common, and that my trauma is somehow unworthy? Seriously. What’s my pain compared to that? I know that comparing trauma is a losing game. But sometimes I can’t help it. We all do it. Don’t we?
People lose their children. It happens. Most survive it. And yet, I’m fighting so hard just to hold onto some thread of hope, and not just for Abi’s survival. For my own, as well.
I’m not saying losing a son or daughter is, or should be, easy. Of course not.
But the affect somehow seems disproportionate. Like the affect is more a measure of my own strength, or lack of strength, than it is about what’s actually happening. Like people survive much, much worse.
But thinking about the stories of these veterans somehow helped me to realize something. I’m dealing with the thought of losing my daughter. But that’s not the hardest part.
No. The hardest part is seeing this person who is so dear to me go through the process of dying.
That's the unbearable trauma.
Of course that’s it.