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Saturday, September 12, 2009

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Thanks for the links. Her story reminded me how fiercely we struggle to control ourselves after trauma, our version of the story, and thereby (we hope) manage the feelings stirred up by it. Not the bossiness of the control freak, but the only way one can keep from feeling like the painting "The Scream".

I had a friend who also lost her husband when pregnant, and the difference in how she mothered that child as versus the first one who knew the father as an infant and toddler (lost him in a plane crash into icy water not 911).

A coworker lost her brother in 9/11 and spent weeks searching, and putting up signs and to this day will insist that only her version of her brother's last minutes are right. Not having lost a beloved relative as she had, I think I can understand the impulse: as if one can imaginatively enter into the world of one's loved one because of that tie. THat others, less close, couldn't possible. Is it true or not, that one might be able to know what they went thru? I think it possible.

A mundane example of how people heal from trauma by keeping the story and the feelings in a kind of cast, while things knit together again: a family in our church adopted two Russian boys from fairly horrific circumstances (way too many orphans, not enough food, attention, etc.). When they first came to my Sunday school class, they would sit on the edge of their chairs like bright eyed birds of prey, tracking the art supplies (never had them before) and the snacks my daughter and I brought to the evening Sunday School. Their new mother was exceptionally strict about no sweets and only "healthy" foods, but until I found this out, they would follow the cookies and cupcakes with longing eyes, but always refuse them (they were obedient boys). One day I brought clementines, hoping they would be allowed at least those. The younger one grabbed three, we nodded. THen he rapidly peeled them and lined the segments up in rows perfectly. Only when satisfied that the arrangement was perfect would he let himself eat them. Several years later, no more restraint or lining up clementine segments, Just happy wolfing and bounding around, and quite naughty. The redeeming power of love...

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