Everyone has lost someone close to them. Well, almost everyone. For the ones who have, there are specific phrases, words, poems, songs, pictures, movies, or even faces that remind them of their loved ones. Usually, these are sweet, beautiful memories. But that’s not what I want to talk about. What about the moments (say a movie) that spark terrible memories? Or images… I’ll explain.
I will start with this as an example: a scene from a movie that we all know is about to come up. A fight scene with guns, violence, blood, action-packed. We can handle that, right? What about the momma who lost her son or daughter in a gunfight? Ouch. She can no longer watch ‘The Avengers’ or even something as simple as the TV show CSI when they show the spoiler clip at the beginning of the episode.
Here’s where my dilemma arrives. Movies that “set off” or “spark.” The word that most people use, I cannot even say or type due to reasons of the way my 16-year-old son took his own life. A few weeks ago, while flipping through Netflix, I came across a movie called ’12 Gun Round.’ I read what it was about and WHY it had the word gun in the title. The main character’s last name is Gun. This is a Netflix original, so I hadn’t heard of it before. Totally engaged and interested in the movie, I was about to get the shock of my life. No warning. The main character’s son (who was also the main focus) put a gun to his head. I panicked. I mean, panicked. I fumbled with the remote to stop the movie as fast as I could before the scene actually happened. Whew. Done.
Here is a little history: the evening my son took his own life, I was not home, no one was. I did not find him either. But by all accounts, I should have. Timing-wise, it should have been me. This momma was spared the desire to pick up the gun and turn it on herself. But I arrived at the house maybe 45 minutes after… police, ambulance, firetrucks, lights, people, cars, screaming, crying… then there was me. They wouldn’t let this momma go in to hold her baby because she didn’t believe he was gone. I might not have seen what happened, but I KNOW what happened. My husband was told early on specific details, but I had no idea. I didn’t find out many things until months later until I felt like I could handle it. This is where I suffer from PTSD. July 26, 2017, gave me a nasty disorder.
No one wants to remember their child the way they were in their last moments if they had a gun in their hands. They want to remember their sweet faces.
There are movies out there I will never watch. Luckily I know about certain scenes. “A Star is Born,” I’m sure it is a beautiful movie, so I’ve heard, will never catch my eye. Some I’ve seen in the past, long before Zane left us before suicide ever affected us the way it does now, I remember watching movies containing these scenes. They never crossed my mind, or at least not to the level that they would today. “Heathers,” “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “7 Pounds.” I could go on.
I suppose what I’m getting at is why not a warning on movies with suicide scenes? There are warnings for characters dropping the F-bomb, violence, and walking around in a birthday suit, so why not one for something that can cause healing, grieving humans to fall back into PTSD? I’m not saying to walk on eggshells around us, but a small amount of empathy would be grand. A box with a letter in it. A code word. Something simple. Not too much to ask for.
For the last 21 months, I tend to dream less, but I visualize things more vividly. Reality hit me in the face. I would love to help a fellow human out and keep them from experiencing a horror of seeing something vile that already haunts them for the rest of their life.