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Dear President Trump,

The days are blurring together. When we picked up our brother-in-law’s (BIL) cremated remains earlier and Laura’s brother signed and dated the release form, it was awfully disconcerting to realize BIL died just four days ago. It seems like infinitely more time has passed and it feels like it was just yesterday. I’ve never been through a death experience like this. Most the people I’ve known who’ve died were at much more of a remove. The loss of our baby is the closest situation to BIL’s death, but then I was so ill and stunned I didn’t have the wherewithal to contemplate time.

It’s been helping that Laura and I’ve been piecing the sequence of events together. We’ve done this outside her brother’s hearing to spare him being re-exposed unbidden to those last awful days of BIL’s, but I wonder how he’s coping with the fragmented, distorted timeline. He and BIL’s brother went through most of it together so later they’ll probably revisit what happened to make sense of how it unfolded.

One of the best treatments for PTSD involves repeatedly telling the story of a traumatic experience. This can be done organically with friends and family rather than in therapy. The idea is that one wants to go from a situation where the contents of a file cabinet have been dumped all over the floor to one where there is some organization and coherence. It’s basically the same material whether it’s scattered on the floor, shoved haphazardly in a drawer, or more or less neatly filed away, but there is something healing about the process of putting it in order. Through this, one also has the opportunity to examine cognitive distortions that might have come along for the ride (i.e., self-blame or over generalizations) and to cull those bits.

One sign that we are starting to poke our heads out of the cocoon of grief is that we are paying attention to the fact that you are now officially an unindicted co-conspirator to a federal crime. It’s sort of like the trauma mess – before yesterday you were an unofficial unindicted co-conspirator and now it is somewhat more organized and coherent in that it’s official. I hope to goodness your Republican lackeys don’t just shove it unexamined back into the file cabinet.

May we be safe from trauma shards.
May we be willing work hard at digging down to the truth.
May we strive for healthy ways of holding our hard stuff.
May you make peace with the reality that there is no escape for you.

Tracy Simpson

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