In 1982, I was 14 years old. My parents had been sleeping in separate bedrooms for a few years. My mother suffered from depression, and I knew their marriage was falling apart. There was never any violence or arguing in our home, just silent anxiety.
The first day of summer vacation, I was at my friend’s house when an ambulance went by. I knew something was wrong and ran home to find my father being loaded into an ambulance. The police told me he had been shot five times, and my mother was missing. We lived in a middle-class, suburban neighborhood with no crime or violence.
My father said he kept a gun in the house for protection. If that gun hadn’t been there, my mother never would have shot him. He had told her he wanted a divorce, and she had snapped. That day my family was shattered.
I’ve had undiagnosed PTSD until four years ago. Somehow my father survived, and my mother moved away. He never pressed charges because he knew he played a part by having that gun in the house. My mother had never been violent before this.
Because of this day, I am broken.