If the Parkland Shooting Has Triggered Trauma From Your Own Child's Death, You're Not Alone


We who have walked this very traumatizing road of grief all have triggers. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, a song, a car, a toy, etc. They often take us by surprise. We never know when a trigger will present itself. What we do know is we are never quite prepared for any of them.

I have not been able to write much of late because of these triggers that seem to just keep on coming. One month and three days from now will be the 19th anniversary of that day on which my son was killed. That weight alone is enough. Yet, there have been those who have come forward to break their silence of sexual abuse. Yet, there has
been an awareness raised on domestic violence. Now, there is the utterly senseless killings of numerous young people at a school in Florida.

I am simply overwhelmed.

I somehow knew  something bad was going to happen that day. I awoke at approximately 4 a.m. to the sound of a loud bang. I took a brief survey of things in my home while knowing that this “bang” was not the result of anything that occurred in my home. Even my cats were acting strangely. They had gathered themselves around me when I returned to bed and were motionless. All I could do was pray. My thoughts bounced around with loved ones coming to mind. I prayed for God’s protection for my
surviving children.

That afternoon I turned on my computer and was getting ready to post things online when I turned on the news to catch up on what was occurring. I was quickly overwhelmed with the news of the tragic slaughter at the school in Florida. I froze.

Not again.

One month after my son was killed, the Columbine shooting took place on April 20, 1999. My son was killed on March 17, 1999. This killing is tragic enough in itself. For me, it is also a trigger. My heart breaks for all affected by these utterly senseless murders. Their journey has just begun. I simply could not post that day. Not only am I
attempting to deal with this new tragedy with the rest of the country, but because of how this triggers what occurred in 1999, I am overwhelmed with heartache and tears. All of these lives suddenly and brutally ended in a moment forever frozen in time.

This massacre is occurring one month and three days before my son’s anniversary, whereas, Columbine occurred one month and three days after my son’s killing. Seriously, what are the odds? The pain I am feeling is indescribable. The groaning of grief undeniable. PTSD? Perhaps. But placing a label on it in no way alleviates any of it.
Thirteen were killed at Columbine; 17 were killed in Florida. More were affected and traumatized beyond measure.

All of the analyzing now begins. The “talking heads” will freely give their opinions. The professionals will make their attempts to diagnose and explain “why?”. Many will try and make sense of something that makes no sense. Explanations and rationalizations will be sought. Folks will spin their wheels attempting to find solutions and prevent
further such tragedies. The politicians will begin their spiel.

The bottom line, innocent people are dead. Their loved ones left behind have now unwillingly and unexpectedly become members of the grief community, known as “The Rememberers.” We who have been walking this journey will pray, extend our support, offer what comfort we can, and simply say: “Me, too.”

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If you or a loved one is affected by infant loss, you can find grieving resources at The Grief Toolbox.

Jude’s book, “Gifts from the Ashes,” is available at Direct TextbookFollow this journey on Jude’s website.

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Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash


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