I narrowly survived being shot by my husband. I survived his suicide. Our children survived as witnesses. I survived my trauma and navigating my children through their trauma and grief journeys. I survived burying the beliefs of who I trusted him to be as I faced the undeniable truths of who he was, a controlling man who believed he had the right to use the guns he kept for our “protection” to murder me.
I cannot say that survival is any more than a day-to-day proposition. There is no mastery over trauma and PTSD after violence, no arrival at the day when it is left squarely behind.
Even within my hopefulness and optimism, a darkness lies, and only a sound, an event, a stress, fatigue, open the door for it to emerge. I suspect anyone who has survived violence experiences the same, it’s just not something we talk openly about. Perhaps in our minds to acknowledge it gives it too much space to expand; perhaps we want to pretend it isn’t there and we can be who we were before. But I’m not the person I was before. She is gone, and the aftermath of gun violence, with its physical, emotional and financial reminders, are what I am left to re-create her with.