As I sit here in the silent night I can’t help but think about all my family and I have went through since July 22,2010, the day someone tried to kill my 17-year-old son while he was hanging out at a friend’s house. By God’s grace he is still here with us. But I am constantly reminded of how I felt the night I received that call and how I received so many calls of prayers and concern. Hmmm, it kind of reminded me of when a loved one passes away and everybody you know or used to know calls and offers their condolences. They then ask that question: “What happened, and are you o.k?” Now don’t get me wrong some are really sincere, but some people are just being nosey. You know how it is after the funeral, the phone calls and visits become less frequent until they totally stop.
Well, the phone calls and the visits have stopped and I’m here all alone with God trying to piece my family’s life back together. One bad judgement has changed my son’s life and mine as well. Helping him to recover is strenuous. I feel as if the weight of my family is on my shoulders. I can’t remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep since the shooting. I would like for you to step in my shoes for a minute…Picture sitting up throughout the night occasionally nodding off and being interrupted by your son’s screams. “Ahhh! Momma ,I’m hurting!” he says through clenched teeth. I jump up and stand for a moment trying to get my composure. “I’m here, just give me a minute while I get your pain meds,” I say, stretching and yawning. As I fill his cup with water and count out two pills I hand them to him silently praying this will help and he will eventually fall back to sleep. After giving him his medicine he doses off again for what seems like a couple minutes. Just when I try to relax again he breaks out in a cold sweat, something he has done every night since the shooting. I can’t do anything but pray that God’s peace will fall over him. He always tells me that every time he closes his eyes all he can see is that last shot.
“I know Ricky, but remember you are here at home and you are safe,” I assure him, crying on the inside.
” I know, Momma, but you just don’t understand I almost died, I was shot Momma, I was shot,” he says, looking off into space.
I try to remind and reassure him that everything will be o.k, but deep down I am not so sure myself. All I can do is pray that God will continue to keep us covered. My days have changed from waking up, praying, then writing, to barely sleeping, administering my son shots to the stomach, physical therapy exercise, pain meds, and then finally preparing his breakfast. This is done before my other children wake up. I still have to juggle working, but I thank God that I can work from home. I am blessed that my daughter helps me out sometimes, too.
My son will recover physically, but the mental damage he is going through will take awhile for him to recover from. He doesn’t feel safe at home even though it didn’t happen at our house. This is a day to day struggle for me to regain some sense of balance for him as well as the rest of my family. I find myself thinking of what happened to all that help people offered me in the beginning. You know when you read about a person getting shot or even injured, the natural response is to reach out but it has to go further than the initial moment you hear about the incident. You have continue helping out after the fact because the emotional scars are so much harder to deal with than the actual wounds. We have a long road ahead of us with physical therapy as well as psychological therapy.
If you hear about a shooting or know someone who has been shot look beyond the news article or what you hear in the media. Say a prayer and continue to offer your support because the aftermath is far more worst than the incident.
Mikenda Early is a proud mother of three and currently resides in Nashville,TN. She works diligently with a non-profit organization named In Full Motion which prepares the youth in her community with the skills to achieve high ACT Scores so they may be able to go to college. She’s also pursuing a degree in Nursing at Nashville State while working on her first novel.
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