Time-Bomb Trauma Trigger Defused

Time-bomb 2007 - Trauma Trigger Defused

Time-bomb 2007 – Trauma Trigger Defused

We are one week into a 3-month organizing project that targets boxes packed and moved quickly in 2007 (and unopened since that time). Feeling good about our progress this week, I decided to venture down to the basement boxes myself today for a couple of hours prior to watching Syracuse v. Miami men’s college hoops. It’s no sweat unpacking garden supplies and kitchen dishes, but the “Office” box in the picture above contained a mix of work documents from my user-experience design consulting job at the time, along with unused office supplies (#10 envelopes, 3-ring binders, labels, green staples), and a few odds-and-ends that have turned out to be an emotional time-bomb directly related to the trauma I experienced in 2007.

The Apple retail bag you see in the photo is one of these odds-and-ends, now a re-purposed remnant from the purchase of the-latest-then MacBook Pro laptop on which I’m still typing (only now am I aware that the apple has been an unconscious anchor for seven years). I purchased the laptop at the Syracuse, NY retail store on my arrival to Syracuse in the fall of 2007, for a sense of work- and networking-survival while camping temporarily back at my home-of-origin. I didn’t know then how long I was visiting. Needing to leave the consulting job for the purpose of out-of-state family care, I was then in a position of looking for alternate part-time work in Massachusetts. The 2007 new laptop (and iPhone, gifted that summer by my tech-savvy father) helped me to stay-in-touch, literally, with the technology world from which I was unexpectedly and uncomfortably on-leave. It felt like overnight I had become the full-time primary care manager for my mom, Margaret (age 66), who was declining fast with a Frontotemporal Degeneration diagnosis (it’s estimated that 4 of 100 people with a dementia are diagnosed with FTD, described by experts as the most difficult dementia diagnosis, in terms of its devastating effects on the family).

Additional trauma-story-related remnants now in-the-bag labeled “Trauma 2007” include (originally unpacked mixed as if scattered on a desk, now in chronological order, a best effort):

  • 2005, friends, gift to “Merry McDonald”, wrapped in hand-assembled McDonald’s happy-meal wrap, the music of Hildegard and Tavener, Boston, MA
  • 2006, October, family – 3-ring binder labeled “Margaret”, holds Margaret and Joe MacDonald long-term-care and estate planning notes, Syracuse, NY
  • 2006, October, family – marketing card, Hancock Estabrook LLP, Syracuse, NY
  • 2006, Fall, family – marketing tri-fold, St. Francis Adult Day Service, Syracuse, NY
  • 2006, Fall, personal – business card, Barmakian Jewelers, wedding ring research, Framingham, MA
  • 2007, work – document, Fidelity Investments, FeB Design Accessibility Process Version 1.1 (6 pages), Boston, MA
  • 2007, work – handwritten notes, Fidelity Investments, FeB Design Health & Insurance Business Project (3 pages), Merrimack, NH
  • 2007, March, family – funeral card, Jeremy Klugman (RIP, March 30, 2007), Albany, NY
  • 2007, March, family – contact info, Janet Silver, Albany, NY
  • 2007, May, family – birthday cards from mom and dad (one envelope is hand-addressed by Margaret, with return address label and stamps), mailed from Syracuse, NY
  • 2007, July, family – news article, Washington Post, “From Odd Behavior to a Difficult Diagnosis” by Sandra G. Boodman
  • 2007, July, family – hospital discharge paperwork, for patient Margaret MacDonald, St. Joe’s Hospital – ER Dept, Syracuse, NY
  • 2007, July, personal – credit card online payment receipt
  • 2007, August, family – marketing flyer, Lord & Taylor, summer sale, Syracuse, NY
  • 2007, August, work – badge, Fidelity Investments, Fidelity Center for Applied Technology, Seminar, Boston, MA
  • 2007, August, work – seminar notes, Fidelity Investments, Fidelity Center for Applied Technology, Seminar, Boston, MA (1 page)
  • 2007, August, work – business card, Fidelity Investments, FeB Design, Glenn Matheson, Senior Designer, Marlborough, MA
  • 2007, August, work – email print-outs, Fidelity Investments, FeB Design project research inquiry with MIT Media Lab, Industrial Liaison Program, Cambridge, MA
  • 2007, Fall, family – business card, Springhouse Assisted Living for Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Jamaica Plain, MA
  • 2007, Fall, personal – marketing flyer, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Lectures & Courses, Boston, MA
  • 2007, Fall, work – business cards, Phillip Zannini, Marlborough, MA
  • 2007, Fall, work – apple retail bag, Apple Store, MacBookPro purchased, Syracuse, NY
  • family – music, belonging to Margaret MacDonald, Mendelssohn’s “I waited for the Lord,” for two sopranos, Syracuse, NY

The action of writing this history and recording the above contents has helped defuse the unfathomable pain, life-interruption, grief, and power of the punch delivered earlier today as I unpacked this stuff. I write for my own PTSD-therapy and for the thousands of others who have suffered and suffer now a similar story.

With compassion and loving support,
Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

This post is part of the series: Transforming Trauma, Becoming Whole.
Please read “40+ Days of Desert Practice” for the series description and background.

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