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Day of Celebration

A Mother and Son Recover from the Trauma of a Domestic Shooting

A critical milestone in trauma therapy is the moment when a child shares with his parents or caregivers the trauma narrative he has written. It is the moment when he demonstrates he now has more control over the story of his trauma than it has over him, but it can be painful and difficult for his loved ones to hear. That is, you would not expect to see high-fives and spontaneous dancing.

But that is exactly what happened the day Cynthia’s son read his trauma narrative to her and her parents.

At age 7, her son had a horrific experience few children will have. In a parking lot outside of a church service, he watched as his father shot his mother seven times at close range.  His father then pulled him into his car and fled, leading police on a chase that ended in a 90-minute standoff.

Paramedics rushed Cynthia to the hospital where she was stabilized. Police officers referred her son the very next day to CCFH where he met therapist Tripp Ake. Cynthia would spend the following months slowly recovering in rehab. Her son would spend that time healing from the emotional and psychological wounds he received that day.

On this day, though, mother and son each had something exciting to show the other. He could not wait for her to see how brave he could be, and she could not wait for him to see her walk into the room unaided – a feat her doctors never thought possible.

“To hear what my son had experienced that day was simply overwhelming,” Cynthia says, “but it was also a day of celebration. It was like the flood gates opened, and we just let it out and let it go.”

And that was the moment her son began jumping up and down, giving high-fives, and dancing.

Today, her son is a typical 17-year old boy. He has a part-time job and is hoping to get a car. He plays football, makes the honor roll, and spends a lot of time thinking about what college he will attend. On the surface, these things seem unremarkable Study after study, though, shows that the trauma he experienced could have easily undermined all of his accomplishments and aspirations, leaving behind nothing but long-term negative consequences for his health and well-being.

Instead, because of the care they received at CCFH, Cynthia and her son can look forward to many more celebrations in the years to come.

Posted on April 21, 2015