The Van Incident

1. Write down your deepest emotions and thoughts about the trauma or traumas. How has this event touched your life? You might describe what happened, what you saw and felt, and what you remember. You might also want to tie this event to other parts of your life, such as your childhood and your relationship with your spouse or significant other, parents, family members, friends, and co-workers. How might it be related to people you love? How is it connected to who you would like to become in the future, who it is that you have been in the past, or who you are now? You might even write about your dreams and haunting thoughts relating to the trauma, in addition to exploring your very deepest emotions.
     This was horrific. I should have done more- I, and the other people trying to save her, failed miserably. My own actions cost her life. Afterward, I spiralled into yet another depressive spiral, resulting in yet another trip to 7W.
Seeing the van burn up was the definition of horror- she was so STILL. She said nothing as the flames engulfed her. The smell was so utterly foul- just a stench. The vehicle burning and her. Ugh.
     I do not see any relationship to how this effected my family relationships, or others, other than that failure is not to be tolerated.
In the future, I want to help others to “thrive” not die, obviously. Even with a considerable resume, I just cannot view myself as any sort of a success, odd, isn’t it?
2. Write about all the ways you remember the experience(s)- sights, sounds, smells, memories, thoughts, feelings, and so on. You may link the experience the experience to other important things in your life. You may want to write about the same experience or about another aspect of it, or a different event.
     What can I say about the accident scene? It was vile, the heat scorching my hands and arms and face, I was burning, scrambling with these straps, I believe I was yelling out, I felt like I was flailing, and I remember hearing the noise as the tires burst (it sounded like shots out of a 5″ gun). It really reminded me of scrambling around in the boat pocket incident.
3. Explore your thoughts and feelings about whatever emotional upheaval bothered you the most. Focus on some of the emotions that came up after the event. Did you think that you were going to die, or that you were responsible for what happened? Write about what you now know; that you did not die, or were not to blame. You can also write about the same things you wrote about earlier, such as powerful experiences or emotions you haven’t shared with others.
     Yes. I thought I could die. Maybe I wanted to, if I could not succeed. Better off dead than failing. I do not understand why it is that I fail so much and that these failures cause others to die. What is wrong with me?!? Yeah, it is inescapable that I played a role in her dying.
     Oddly, I have at times told folks that we succeeded. We saved her. I’m ashamed we failed.I wish we did better, did our duty.
4. Write the story about what happened to you, and if you want, include what you did to help yourself survive. Even though no one else may see your story, it is important that you write about all the ways you remember the trauma- sights, sounds, smells, memories, thoughts, feelings, and so on. You may link your survival to other important things in your life. You may want to write about the same subject or about another aspect of the event that you haven’t covered.
     Yeah, it makes me feel so much worse about myself, who I am. If somebody else did it, I could see thier body would have physically pulled them away as they began to burn. I cannot let myself off so easy. I’d be better off dead.
5. This event has affected not just you, but everyone else around you. The ways in which you think and talk to people about it may have changed over time. However painful your experiences have been, you will have learned from them. Think of another person who has gone through a similar event. Knowing now what most helped you survive, what would you say to that other person?
 How will I look back on it? A “well intentioned” low point, and further documentation of my insufficiency. I will look back on it as a willingness to undertake heroic measures, even at the threat of my own life, and even if I am destined to fail at it.
6. Imagine that it is ten years from now and you’re looking back on what happened. How will you want to think about the event(s) at this future time? What do you think you will see as the most important parts of what happened when you look back on it?

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