Today for the first time since the shooting, I travelled along the very same route as we did on that fateful night. From the instant I realized that my mother was heading in that direction, my stomach began to cramp. I began to feel upset and nauseated. I could hardly breathe and yet at times I was hyperventilating. My voice seemed to have gotten lost again. I just could not bring myself to speak.
Aside from jumping out of the car, there was nothing I could do but remain seated, hold on to my seatbelt for dear life and silently pray. I felt the tears welling up but as usual I did not want to let the crying out. I wanted to scream aloud.
As we passed the first landmark, the place where I was transferred from my vehicle to the police van, I pointed it out to my mother. The feeling was very difficult to describe. I was shaken to the core. Shortly after, we passed the spot where I was shot that night.
I found it very difficult to believe that such a horrendous incident occurred there. I felt detached – as though I was viewing someone else’s scene. My year filled with the terror of being shot at, the trauma of being in the emergency room, the uncertainty in the intensive care unit and all the resulting surgeries and procedures, all inundated my mind at once.
Thoughts of why this happened to me. All I wanted was a little happiness. How could it have ended so violently? Was it real? What was life going to be like from now on? Was there some higher reason for this tragedy? My whole life has changed! Every aspect of my former life has become altered in some way. I guess that I may have been judged negatively by some persons. It does not matter. In the end I have to face my destiny alone.
On returning home after that trip, I quietly went to my room and replayed the scenes repeatedly in my mind. Although it had upset me tremendously, I know that it was a good thing that happened. Somehow, at sometime I would have had to face that reality. Facing that demon, going down that memory lane, probably had some therapeutic effect.
In life we all have to deal with our own problems and dilemmas. There is no way we can ask someone else to deflect the proverbial bullets fired at us. When we face our final day, it is on our own ground we must stand. As difficult as it may seem, the strength to rise up to any challenge is embedded within us. All we need to do is have faith in God and ourselves.
Not every day will be the same. Some days will be more difficult than others. Some days will pass like a summer’s breeze, soft and gentle, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. There will be days when the intensity of your burdens is so great, that it feels you may never be free of them. Days when you wish to never get out of bed. Then… just when you are looking at despair directly in the eyes, something may happen to jolt you, to lift your spirits.
Until that time, you labour onwards, step by step, toward the brighter days.