Monday, February 25, 2008

Allow Yourself Closure

Dear Aunt Babz,

When I was eight years old my dad shot my mom 13 times in her chest. When the police brought me and my grandparents to the morgue, my grandma begged the medical examiner to see the body, but because of the condition of the body the examiner refused. However, the examiner took a picture of my momʼs face and that was it. Two years later a special agent from the F.B.I who had helped in that case came to our house with the evidence that was used in the case. Two things were in the box, cassettes tapes of my mom talking about her life (audio diary) and the photographs of her body at the crime scene. As crazy as it sounds, my grandma wanted to see these pictures and so did I. The agent hesitated and then warned us about how graphic they were. I didnʼt push it any further because I knew my grandma wouldnʼt be able to handle it, but I knew I could. Over the years I figured I would just forget about the urge to see them, but I didnʼt. My grandparents raised me so I had been around them most of my life. But at the time of her death I had been living with her and had been for a year. When she died I cried on and off, but I held the rest in. And Its confusing because I had only lived with her for a year, she was in the army and she was gone a lot so we werenʼt that close, but I cant move on. Anyway, I am 19 now and I plan to retrieve those photos and visit my dad and show him so he can see my pain. And as for the photos, I am a tough woman and I know seeing them will make me cry, but I would get it over with and finish grieving than spend the rest of my life holding on. PLEASE HELP AM I DOING THE RIGHT THING?

Dear Sherell,

You have been down a road that is both painful and hard. And for that I am sorry. But you seem to have incredible inner strength and a very great family support from your grandparents, which is so important.

Are you doing the right thing by wanting to see those pictures? I think so. And I will explain, but the second part of the question: are you doing the right thing confronting your father with them? I am not so sure.

I think if you were to confront your father, you have already played out in your head how that would go, and if you didn’t receive that image in real life that it could seriously harm your mental health. So I would caution you to not do that, and let it go. I would also ask that you talk to a mental health professional about the very real and very warranted feelings you have concerning your father and the murder of your mother. I am sure that you are indeed seeing someone in that faction, but in case you have decided not to continue with that kind of support or do not talk about this fantasy (this is a term that seems like it shouldn’t apply here, but it is reference to the visualization of the outcome of this confrontation) I feel it is necessary to bring up.

Now. As for you wanting to see those pictures. I understand whole-heartedly, and I can see how they are holding you back. Many people may not understand, but it is a sense of closure that you need. For some people, the closure they require will be that of finding inner peace and making themselves feel whole again. But for others, a need of cognition is required to make the puzzle complete. And by this, I mean in your situation you need to see the pictures and know what your mother’s pain looked like in order to aptly assign a reaction to it. You do not know in your mind if you are ready to move on because you are a logical type thinker, and you do not know if the action of moving forward or forgiveness is really applicable to the crime that was placed. You need to know the scale of your feelings before you can validate catharsis. Which to me makes total sense. Even looking at the premise of having a logical mind make sense. Looking a the sheer definition of Logic:

1. Of, relating to, in accordance with, or of the nature of logic.

2. Based on earlier or otherwise known statements, events, or conditions; reasonable.

3. Reasoning or capable of reasoning in a clear and consistent manner.

But the main thing is that you need to see for yourself what happened in order to close the unknown. That will make your reasoning skills develop the reason to heal. It will be hard, painful, and you may be out of commission for a little while because the imagery will be haunting and very likely gory. And that is something a person doesn’t ever recover from. But for you, for your type of personality, you need this scar to heal. And no, that doesn’t make you freakish or cruel. It is the type of mind you have, a logical one, and you will be able to gain strength from this and move on.

What ever you choose, please be sure that you let your grandparents in on your intentions and let them support you. You will need that support if you make the choice to see the photos, as I am sure that it will devastate you. So let them in, and anyone else who is of support, you need it.

I hope that you can move forwards from this, and that you will be able to live the life I am sure your mother would love you to lead. A happy, safe and caring one.

Take care of yourself.


Aunt Babz Said...

Dear Sherell,

I am in the middle of moving but felt the need to speak to you on this. I've not had the chance to read what Xmichra has said to you but I trust her judgment and hopefully I don't repeat what she has said.

I can surely understand your curiosity, in wanting to see those pictures. In your mind you are still searching for answers, a sense of closure to a tragic situation. I simply can not fathom how I would feel if this happened to me. I still extend my condolences.

It is crystal clear to me that you have not closed the Chapter on your Mothers demise. I would imagine, I would have difficulty with it myself.

I'm sorry but I feel there are no answers in your looking at those awful pictures. While you may be extremely curious, it will serve no purpose to see such things. Spare yourself, my Dear, any further pain upon pain.

I would possibly recommend listening to the tapes. It may give you some answers, maybe shed some light on your Mothers situation. To hear her voice again may as well be comforting. You have not said what you believe are on those tapes except that they are an audio diary. It may lend some understanding, it may very well lend to your closure.

More importantly, if your Dad did all this to your Mom, it is doubtful that your pain will impact him as you would like. No, I think it will throw fuel on your fire and make things worse. Why? Because right now, your mind is trying to heal. One gift God does give us is the ability to heal in the sense that we often remember the good over the bad when it comes to someone dying, especially a loved one. By looking at those pictures, you will be left with that vision in your head instead of the ones you now embrace.

Yes, our brains kind of take Poloroid pics of situations, times, scenarios, you know, still shots of people, places and things. Rarely do we have a moving picture of an event. It normally is in still shots. Right now, I'd like you to look within yourself, in your memory archives and tell me and yourself, what pictures are there of your Mother? I'll betcha there are some from the last time you saw her, some from different events in your life and a few from your childhood. It is them that you need to hold on to, hold onto them for dear life. Please don't cloud those images that lay dormant within you with things that your mind may not be able to handle.

See, I consider myself an extremely strong woman. I've seen more than most and heard the battle cry. I've watched as those around me were killed. I thought I was handling it all. But I wasn't. It was coming out sideways, in weird ways. Just in example, when my Father died, I thought I was dealing but I wasn't. One day, I noticed a ring on my neck. Having a medical background I immediately thought it was ringworm. I went to our family Doctor. There I was in the hospital gown, open in the back. As the good Doctor began his examination, he went to my back and was going to listen to my lungs. I felt him open my gown a bit. He walked over and got a hand mirror, had me stand and told me to look at my back. There were rings all up and down my spine, some on the sides. It was the oddest thing I'd ever seen. He immediately knew what it was; Neurodermitis or as it is sometimes referred to as
Neurodermatosis. It is brought on by trauma, a psychosomatic illness.

Long story short, I was not dealing. On the outside, I was as cool as a cucumber in all situations but as the years would unfold, I began to notice things, especially of feeling like I was, "On Point," again, on high alert. Ultimately I would be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with HyperVigilance. It is and was all to real.

Don't do this to yourself. Spare yourself more pain than your mind can endure. I would love to see you embrace the good memories of your Mother. You know she could be particular and she would not want you to see her like this.
Heed these words.

Keeping It Real,

Aunt Babz


Xmichra said...

sometimes it amazes me the sides of the coin we take Babs.

And like anything else, reading another point of view can help to make a decision. Babs, i thought what you said was very relivant and insightful, and perhaps it would be better for our reader to just look past this and move on.

I think on this one i was going with the kind of person I am, and i would have to see the pictures. As you may already know my mind soes work differently where i need to assess a situation before assigning an emotion or action to it.

So maybe this isn't the case with Sherell. On one hand I hope not. Because with those pictures comes a truth you cannot un-see.

Either way though, i hope you do well Sherell. And Babs once again, i thought this was a great answer.

Anonymous said...

Closure is for suckers!