PTSD: The Lullaby.

Last night after settling in, I tucked the blankets closer to my chin and took the last couple of slow, relaxed breaths before drifting off to sleep. My eyes closed, and my mind was at ease. A rarity for a man like me… I felt myself melt into the fabric of the bed and fade away while being serenaded by sounds of my blinds dancing with the breeze.


I can’t tell you when it started. But I can tell you what happened, and when it ended – the nightmares.


While my body remained in the here and now atop of my bed, my wounded psyche transcended time and space. Rushing backwards through experience and pain. It first brought back a faint sound. It was the sound of grief, a woman crying. In this particular instance, my mind mercifully chose not to bring back the images along with it. But as I sit here typing, I know exactly to whom those ghastly wails belong to – a woman who stood at the passenger side of a vehicle, flailing her arms as if to be comprised by nothing more than sinew. She was crying because the man in the passenger seat, her husband, was lazily slouched, and strapped upon the seat. He was grey, motionless and obviously gone from this world. He had died while seated beside his now bereft widow. She had heard him take his last breaths, but assumed he would begin snoring soon – he always fell asleep in the car –  but the snoring never came – only we did. And when we couldn’t save this man, when we couldn’t bring him back, we shattered this grieving woman’s fucking world. We tore it apart in four simple words: “I’m sorry, he’s gone,” that was in 2009. I can still hear, and remember everything… even when I don’t want too.


When the sounds of that woman and her loss ceased to reverberate within my ears, an image began to appear. Now I was in a dream. I knew it was a dream because my mother was there. She was sitting in a chair within what appeared to be a senior’s living centre. I approached the chair with a sense of optimism. It felt as though I was on my way to surprise her. I even had flowers in this dream. Much like any dream, the fluidity took hold. I was now beside my dear ol’ mum, perched upon one knee. We engaged in small talk until something went horribly awry. She looked me deadpan in the eye and while leaning in, breaking through the wall of circulating cigarette smoke, she touched the tip of her nose to mine, and said, “why didn’t you help me? I’m your mother! Why didn’t you love me!?” I was frozen. I don’t even think I was breathing. Neither in this world, nor the dream. I was paralyzed by guilt…


When I did speak, she would dismiss it, not allowing for me to complete a sentence. It was then that I noticed she was getting further and further away from me. Eventually, my twisted brain managed to fabricate a room of which I was the only occupant. A plain room, devoid of any features or remarkability. It was just me, and the contents within my hands – yes, something had now appeared and was clasped within my hands. It was a notepad. The kind with a spiral spine. All of it was empty, except for three pages – the pages that contained my mother’s suicide note… I was paralyzed once more…


Now, after a few moments of having the inability to move, I began to hear another scream. A deep baritone that clattered into the distance. It shouted back at me from nowhere. It was me. It was my scream. I was billowing a ferocious roar of agonizing grief and pain, trauma and torment…


My mind being what it is, refused to stop the dream there. Soon, the roars of my agony, replaced themselves with a much different and arguably just as painful-a-sound – gunshots. The cracking of rifle rounds flying overhead like birds. I was now graveside at a fallen brother’s funeral. The one I had been at in August of 2006. He had been killed in that God forsaken desert all those miles away. I guess you could say that part of me is still there, graveside. Listening to the cacophony of grief and rifle rounds…


The crying woman returned. It was different this time though. There was a different pitch to it. A different rhythm. It wouldn’t be long before I knew who that belonged to as well – my fallen mate’s despondent mother. Her tears fell like shards of glass. My cheeks tingled red hot, and just in behind my eyes began to swell. Realizing I couldn’t cry, I was standing at the position of attention, and no more than an arm’s reach from this heartbroken mother, I muscled every ounce of stubbornness, and swallowed my pain. One gulp. Then another. And another after that…


It was at this juncture that my wicked brain released me from the prison of memory. I had served my time. My eyes exploded open from behind my eyelids. I was awake now, still gulping deeply, just as I had done that hot August day. My mouth, just as dry as that fucking sand-coated hell where my brother was killed.


When I was more alert to the present, I felt a new sensation introduce itself to my skin – a frightful chill. The breeze had snuck its way passed the blinds, and was now caressing my sweat lathered skin. My hands shaking in unison with my breathing. I stood up, and closed the window.


Knowing that sleep was no longer an option, I found refuge on my couch. I examined the dark room and my surroundings. I sat in silence continuing to reacclimate to the here and now, observing everything. Reminding myself that I was “home”…


The ambient light from the city’s street lamps, slithered their way through the cracks of my blinds, and snaked their way along the floor, walls, and even onto me. As I sat there, I wanted to cry, but I also wanted to yell. So, I did neither…


Instead, I lumbered over to my closet, threw on some clothes, and went out for a walk. My grieving footsteps led me to the water. The moon had cast its subtle lure upon the gently bouncing surface of Lake Ontario.


I threw some thoughts along the water, skipping them like rocks to the horizon, hoping that’s where they’d stay. At least, for tonight…


The thing I am continuing to learn about PTSD, is that it never sleeps. It never stops. It just waits. Just beneath the surface of consciousness. My therapist has given me skills to combat this, and I am ever-learning more. But sometimes, PTSD tries to take control. And when it does, like it did tonight, Well, let’s just say I’m glad the bars were closed…


PTSD, a requiem for a dream.

8 thoughts on “PTSD: The Lullaby.

Add yours

  1. You’re an empathic soul in this unforgiving place, and I’m glad the bars were closed because while I am certainly not the arbiter of such coping mechanisms, it wasn’t the place you needed to be in at that moment. I mean, you wrote this brilliant piece sans that particular perspective coming into play.

    Your writing captures the hopelessness of a given moment and makes it feel transcendent. There is no bullshit, no pretense to your work. You simply narrate the moments with masterful strokes of irony and anguish. And you cannot teach that kind of writing. You either have it or you don;t. And you have it. In spades.

    As always, I wish you peace

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry.
    I come back here from time to time to read the same pieces. I don’t comment or ‘like’ because I just want to read your work.

    Kid? You should write a book.

    It would help a lot of people. And you’re an extremely talented pen.

    Just my two cents.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. It really means a lot when you comment and read.

      I have actually thought of writing a book, just no idea how to get published!? Lol.

      It’s also funny, I navigate your blog from time to time, and read stelthfully also! Haha.

      I enjoy your writing style – it flows with an ease of conversation. Your words become immersive.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much. I am duly humbled and grateful.

        Check out Wattpad. It’s a site for writers. You post your stuff on there, as you would a book.

        There are a few books that got their jump start by publishing on that site. Just a thought.


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