They say every face in a crowd has a story to tell, this is my story..

The news shows and newspapers all called it 'Road Rage'. To me that sounded like a disease, an affliction that can make you kill. A sorry excuse to take the claw end of a hammer and slam it repeatedly into the skull of a human being. In April of 1999 my little brother passed away. Doesn't passed away sound so gentle, even normal? David's death was neither. It was murder. He was found lying in a strangers driveway in a pool of blood. He had been punched, stomped and beaten over his entire body. I still have so many questions. I wrote this book at first for therapy and then for answers. I have found a few. I mainly realized l lost a brother tragically and senselessly. Like every other face in the crowd I have a story..and I want to share my story with you! PUBLICATION DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED LATE SUMMER/EARLY FALL :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

From the book "Bristol Stomp" It is all about me..

I was still involved in such an unhealthy relationship. After I counted all the horrible things I had done in my life and all the awful things that happened to me, I would try to plan my escape. How could I do it with the least amount of confrontation and angst?
Yeah it was pretty obvious I was a nut case. Now I had this traumatic stress thing too. I wasn’t the only one suffering with this illness or disorder. Most of my family had the thing too. If someone slammed a door I jumped out of my skin. If a car followed me too closely I had to pull over. It was such a release to talk about these episodes in my homicide survivors group. I was also educating myself on the disorder and working on getting it under control. I did not want to be on medication for one minute longer than I had to be.
Towards the end of the summer my symptoms started to lesson. Unfortunately as my mental symptoms became more infrequent my physical ones seemed to be getting worse. I decided I needed to take better care of myself. I bought vitamins that were supposed to help with energy. I took vitamin C and E. I bought calcium supplements. They were like chocolate, caramel candy so I enjoyed taking them. I became obsessive about washing my hands. Germs were the enemy. I was so tired of the sinus infections. Two weeks after starting my new health regime I got sick to my stomach. I had pains in my sides. I took some Advil and went to bed. When I got up in the morning I had a rash all over my body. My throat and chest felt like it was on fire. My face was swollen and I had a fever. I was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital.
After six days on IV liquids and antibiotics I finally got a diagnosis. The rash was caused by a turtle virus. I had recently bought my grand daughter Allyson a turtle and had helped her clean the cage. The virus had a very long name but apparently there is no cure for it other than antibiotics and cream for the rash. I would have it for life. It could remain dormant for years or become chronic. Great I thought, now I am scared to death of turtles.
The burning pain in my throat and stomach was caused by an allergic reaction to those calcium supplements I loved so much. They were made with shellfish, which I am very allergic too. My intestines had been burned so badly I was unable to eat for two weeks. Those Burger King commercials were killing me. I was starving. They also told me my appendix was slightly swollen and I had diverticulitis. I remained in the hospital for another week. The whole experience was scary but honestly I was relieved that there was a physical cause and not a mental one.
By early September I was feeling so much better, mentally and physically. I tried to enjoy my job again and spent as much time as possible with the kids. My counseling was going really well and I actually felt like I was helping the newer members of the group. I continued my classes because there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to help victims and survivors. I wanted to become a counselor.

Then it all came crashing down again…9/11 happened. I went in to the paper really early that morning with plans of catching up on some work. A friend called and asked if I had heard a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. She knew I had a friend that worked in the building. My partner had arrived, so together we walked down to the newsroom and there it was on all the televisions. When the second plane hit, we thought it was a re-play of the first. Having a father that worked in the airline business I knew immediately it was not an accident. No pilot would crash into a building. There was too much water close by.
I went back to my little cubby office and then heard the pentagon had been hit. Now I was terrified. My partner and I went out back to smoke a cigarette and watched five military jets wiz by. Our building was located right on the Delaware River and they were headed north, to New York we imagined. I had to get out of that building. I decided I would try to salvage the day and visit some clients. Glenn Beck was on the radio in my car. Sometimes I listened to talk radio other times music. Today was a news day. The more I listened the sadder I felt. Every client I visited was glued to their televisions, just stunned. I called all of my kids, I just had a need to know they were safe. I went home and lied on the sofa and watched the news all night. It was just one horror story after another.
Of course it was all about me. I had lost a brother to murder. I had an awful childhood, just a horrible life all together and now this. Now our whole country was being threatened by terrorists. All of my hard work in therapy was going down with those buildings. I wanted to crawl back into my dark hole. I felt sick again.
As I continued to watch through the night all of a sudden it wasn’t about me anymore. I watched the faces of strangers not knowing whether their loved ones had survived. The thought of all those mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends that lost their loved ones that day was overwhelming. Would they end up like me, afraid of their own shadows and physically sick? I prayed for them and I cried for them.


  1. That is a LOT to overcome. That you could change your perspective at all is inspiring.You are a survivor. I'm glad.

  2. Thank you; I survive on a day by day basis and truly want to help others who have suffered tragedies..this is my hope for the book. And thank you so much for your inspiration; I think you are amazing!

  3. You have so much to deal with! Illnesses like that are so scary because it seems like anyone can catch it and then of course have it for life. How do you cope with the permanence of it all? How are you feeling now?

    I can understand your relief at having a medical diagnosis for your symptoms, as it can be easy for your or doctors to write them off as symptoms of a psychiatric problem. The mind has a strange, strange influence on the body.

    I can imagine that knowing that someone I knew or someone in my family was tortured and murdered would become a lifelong trauma for me. That's aside from missing him too. I'm glad you're getting the help you need.

    I'm so glad your dreams of being a professional writer have come true! Life writing is a wonderful genre of non-fiction. I love it. It's so important, I think, as the personal story can motivate social change or at the very least raise awareness about something.

  4. Doreen, I am so glad to meet you. You wrote on my blog in April. Thank you. My heart connects to your pain. I am so sorry for the pain of your brother's death. I truly believe that as long as we suffer such senseless agony with no peace in sight, that the pain is manifested in real physical--and often mental--damage. I dealt with my pain of a bipolar, suicidal daughter and a marriage that unquietly slipped away, by making some specific decisions: joining a water aerobics class (I hate swimming). There I made friends which led to a book club and lunches out and in friends' homes. My physical ailments (chronic gastritis and esophagitis, depression, a chipped bone in my ankle) began to slowly improve and I began to feel better mentally, too. I finally gathered the courage to divorce my husband and move several states away with my two cats and start over. The fear and misery had become deadly. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to continue living. But I wanted to save myself so I could find the link to my girlhood that I had lost. It is working. I wish you peace and happiness and congratulations on all your beautiful grandchildren. Enjoy each sweet moment. And congratulations on the publication of your book and another one on the way. Your success is our success. Beth

  5. Oh Beth; you do know the pain. My husband lost his 17 year old bipolar son to suicide (my second book) on the very same day my brother was murdered. We did not know each other at the time but what a connection we share. I hope you have found some kind of peace to keep you grounded and healthy.
    @loveable_Homebody: I was so worried that I was crazy I think I made myself crazy; I was never so happy to hear I was sick! And for the 11 grand kids; Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop have one rule, we will not buy them anything alive(that darn turtle). As far as the torture; this is in my dreams nearly every night. It can be so unbearable thinking about how he suffered. These days I try to focus on my happier memories of him and I spend as much time with his son as possible and I thank God every day for that kid we kind of had to pull ourselves together for him.

  6. Doreen, you pull me along on an emotional journey with your words. What a poignant example of the power of writing. Thank you for sharing yourself and your experiences here. ~ Warmly, Lisa

  7. Well goodness! I thought I'd pop over here because my husband was snoring so loud I couldn't get to sleep and you're next on the Friday Fragment list. I got more than I bargained for! This my dear is already quite a story. WOW.

    I have one husband and he's had a liver transplant thanks to an organ donor and I now help other people going through the organ transplant process. I'm always very interested in true crime, but goodness, I've never wanted to be a part of any of the stories. I'm so sorry to hear that you have been.

    Good for you for getting it out and on paper and spreading your story. Brave brave woman :)

    Kristin - The Goat

  8. Wow, what a powerful story you have my friend!!
    You have overcome and came out on top of more trama than I can even imagine; and I 'thought' I had been through a lot. You are a true Angel and inspiration to us all!! Thank you so much for opening your heart and soul, sharing it with us all! You are helping so many!! xoxoxo
    BIG HUG!!
    Lova ya,

  9. Thank you girls; such wonderful comments make all the writing worth the pain; there are many reasons I felt compelled to tell this story and one of them was so my kids could understand that we may never forget the tragedies we have been through but we have to turn the pain into positive energy. Thank you all your comments make me smile :)

  10. Oh my, Doreen. Am so very sorry for the mishap and pain you have endured. I pray you stand on the promises in scripture to help you through this. God bless you, my sweet friend.