I’ve recently been reminded of the phrase, ‘You’ll know when things are about to get better – it’s when you feel like you’ve reached your breaking point.’ Not terribly comforting I admit, but it’s usually true. At least I hope so for the sake of me and those around me.
As my last few posts – as well as my overall ‘lack’ of posting proves, the past several weeks have been difficult for me. While trying to help a family member get over a very difficult period in their life I’ve experienced a harsh lesson on the cruelty of others while memories of my divorce back in 2001 have been intruding my thoughts. Last week my mind betrayed me again with thoughts I have tried laying to rest for nearly three years.
My husband and I were talking with our neighbors across the street about an accident that had just happened down the street from us. As we were watching the firetrucks and police cars block the road from traffic my neighbor asked if I knew the neighbors directly to the right of us. I replied that because of our 6 month hibernation from the brutal winter, we hadn’t had much of a chance to make small talk. She said, ‘Well, their dog keeps getting loose and runs all over the neighborhood. I keep telling them that they need to fix their fence before someone gets hurt.’
Not more than 30 seconds after she finished that sentence, our next door neighbors opened their front door to step outside. The dog squeezed between their legs and started running toward the street. Within seconds we witnessed the dog as he was struck by a passing vehicle. I remember hearing a long, wailing sound, thinking it was the dog; it wasn’t. That scream was coming from me.
The vehicle stopped and the driver stepped out, the look of disbelief on his face. My husband and the neighbors across the street rushed to come to the aid of the dog and owner who, by that time was knelt down in the street next to his companion. As for me, I suddenly felt like I was going to crumble to my knees. When I finally willed my legs to move, I headed straight for the house where I broke down and sobbed.
I was upset for the dog, most certainly. Heartbroken for the owner, definitely. But the majority of my uncontrollable crying came from deep within. I was having flashbacks of my mother’s accident a few years ago when she was struck by a car (the first of a 2 part post can be read here)
I always thought that people with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) suffered because of something that happened ‘to’ them. I was ignorant to the fact that one can be afflicted with this disorder by witnessing a horrific event. It wasn’t until I went to therapy shortly after my mother’s accident that I learned more about this condition.
The accident involving the dog (whom died within 5 minutes of being struck) caused me to come to terms with certain things about myself that are likely to remain for a long time to come. No longer am I able to watch the News. Reports of sad or depressing stories seem to wound me deeply. Shocking photos or videos in my Facebook newsfeed are quickly eliminated from my view, for once I allow my mind to accept what my eyes are seeing I find myself grieving for days. Even movies with too serious a storyline are off limits.
It’s been a week since the unfortunate accident with the dog but I am still having flashbacks. If I allowed myself, I could easily use those feelings and make them tangible in the form of new artwork. Perhaps in the future I will be able to explore that part of myself within the safety of my studio, but for now I distract myself with images that bring peace, happiness and love to my mind. This latest piece is a result of that place in my mind which I reserve for beauty and comfort. My place of solace:
Title: Serenity of Spring