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Wounded

Someone finally said it to me.

“Time heals all wounds.”

This October, it will be five years since we’ve lost Sophia. It took five years for someone to say those words to me.

I guess the words were inevitable. And maybe there is something about the five-year mark that makes people say them.

At the five-year mark, people have grown weary from hearing about life’s past traumas.

“We all have traumas and we learn to deal with them,” someone says.

At the five-year mark, people think the memories have faded, the nightmares over.

“Post traumatic stress disorder,” they say, “well, that should pass.”

At the five-year mark, people want coping skills to be in place and therapy to be complete.

“Why don’t you cut back on your medication and just see what happens?” another suggests.

And sometimes, the words are too harsh for a vulnerable heart.

“You cannot just ride on the coattails of your tragedy.”

I cannot expect people to understand what it is like to lose a child. I cannot claim to be the only one to have ever lost a loved one or to have gone through something difficult. I can’t fault people for not understanding this. And I can’t fault them for wanting me to “be better.”

But how do you explain to people what it’s like to send your First Grader off to school knowing that there should be a Kindergartener next to her?

How do you convey the irrational terror that takes over your body when your child is out of your sight…even just in the next room?

How do you tell someone what it’s like to open the bedroom door of your child’s room every night to check on them, terrified to find some horror on the other side?

How do you explain the nightmares?

Flashbacks of police interrogations?

The cold sweats and the sheer PANIC that takes over your body when the phone rings?

And it’s just as terrifying to accept that these are things I will likely deal with for a very long time.

Re-Trauma Part 2

The medication started taking effect while Perek drove me to the police station in his car. Calls had been made, a babysitter for Annabelle lined up, all so that Chris and I could go to the police station that day instead of having to wait until the next. 
When we walked into the police station I expected to see bars and cells and prisoners but all I saw was a large waiting room and a nice looking woman behind a receptionist-like desk talking quietly on the phone. She politely asked the caller to please hold when we approached her.
“My name is Prinna Boudreau. I’m here to see Officer Briggs,” I said through the microphone on the glass window.
“Just one moment, I’ll let her know you’re here. Please have a seat,” she said nicely.
I didn’t have a seat. I couldn’t. I just wanted to focus on this being over. 
And then Chris flew in through the door in a sort of rage and encircled me in his arms like a scared child.
“I can’t believe they did this to her,” he said to Perek, as if I weren’t even there.
“Yeah, that call had her pretty shaken up,” Perek said. “I’m just glad you could get in today; I don’t know how she would have made it through the night.”

Re-Trauma Part 1

The below and next two posts require a bit of a warning. This is upsetting stuff. If you don’t know already, Chris and I were subjected to some pretty awful treatment by the police following Sophia’s death. This is how it began…

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The funeral came and went, the out of town guests eventually returned home, and I continued to sit for hours in the brown leather chair, holding a little purple dress with her spit up on the collar, wondering when I was going to wake up already.
And perhaps that is why my guard was down that day when the police called.
I was working on the computer with my brother, Perek, when the call came.
“Is this Prinna Boudreau?” the woman on the other line said.
“Yes, this is Prinna,” I replied, correcting her pronunciation.
“Prinna, this is Lieutenant Adams; I interviewed you at the hospital the night your daughter died…October 9, 2007. I just have a few more questions for you and I’d like to have you and Chris come in separately to talk. Are you available some time tomorrow?” she asked.
Questions? Separately? Tomorrow?
My blood ran cold. I grasped desperately for Perek and clung to his shoulders to prevent myself from falling to the floor. I instinctively put my head between my knees to keep from hyperventilating. The room started to spin wildly.
But I tried to compose myself; I didn’t want to appear guilty of something so I said, “Yes, absolutely, would 10:00 work for you?”
“Yes, please be here at 10:00 tomorrow. Oh one more quick question,” Officer Adams said. “What time did you say your babysitter was there the day that Sophia died?”
******************
As soon as I hung up the phone, all hell broke loose. I went tearing around the house like a wild animal, screaming that they were going to arrest me. That they thought we had killed Sophia. That they were taking me in tomorrow and I was going to jail.
I bounced around from room to room as Perek followed me running his hands through his hair looking terrified. He didn’t understand what was happening but he knew I needed help. He made some phone calls from the office while I continued my crazed tirade through the first and then second level of our house.
At some point he caught me and led me into the bathroom asking, “where are those pills that Dr. Taylor gave you, Prinna. Where are they? Show me where they are!” He still had the phone perched on his shoulder and I knew he was getting direction from someone…probably my mom.
I opened the top drawer in the bathroom and pointed to a pill bottle, which he grabbed desperately and struggled to open.
“How many do you take?” he demanded, grabbing my shoulders and forcing eye-contact.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” I kept repeating. I could see my own reflection in the bathroom mirror and I looked like a madwoman.
I hadn’t taken many of the pills so it was an honest answer. But then it occurred to me that maybe they would make these feelings stop, or at least calm me down, so I grabbed at the pill bottle, intent on taking as many as I could get my hands on.
Perek fought me for them. He was somehow able to read the label on the bottle during our little tug-of-war.
“You can have one, Prinna. It says you can have one.”
I took one and collapsed onto Perek, begging him to tell me I was a good mother. Begging him to tell me I wasn’t going to jail.