Anyone else have unwanted brutal images popping up all the time?

Discussion in 'Loss of Loved One to Violence/Murder' started by junestar, Aug 21, 2022.

  1. junestar

    junestar Guest

    The love of my life was killed by a drunk driver last summer. She crossed the center line and hit his car head-on, killing him and his best friend. His friend's son was in the backseat and survived, after weeks and weeks in the ICU.

    I find myself imagining awful, horrible things, like what his body looked like as they pulled it from the wreckage. I'm surprised by a vicious car crash in a TV show and see the blood on the windshield and think about his beautiful face, bloodied.

    We're finally getting around to talking about a trial or plea bargain (and that could be a thread all on its own), and that means talking about "evidence" and...I know that means that there are pictures of his broken body in someone's file somewhere. Talking about the intricacies of the charges means talking about some of the visceral parts of the accident.

    I try very hard to not judge how my grief shows up, and not try to defend it to anyone, including myself. I know that just about anything can be "normal" because grief is so specific, so I'm trying not to spend energy feeling like this is "wrong" or anything, but...anyone else have this? Either because you saw the aftermath or because you didn't and your imagination is working overtime? Is it better to know or to imagine?

    I have an amazing group of friends who have been there every step of the way for me, but this is the one area I feel like no-one understands.
  2. Sandy Edwards

    Sandy Edwards New Member

    Yes, I relate. My father was killed by my brother, who concealed his body in the freezer for over a year before the state police finally confronted him. On July 11, 2017, a state trooper came to my door to notify me and ask “How sick is your brother?” I’ll spare all the details but suffice it to say that I had to get my father’s dental records so that they could identify what was left of his unrecognizable remains in reportedly horrific condition.

    For months I obsessed with the idea that I should have been allowed to see my father’s body and perhaps it would have brought more closure (even though the state trooper who retrieved the remains was so disturbed over it that he immediately took a sick leave the next day).

    It wasn’t until a friend of mine told me how unsettling it had been when he went to see his mom in a hospice care facility and was the first to find her deceased in her bed in an awful, contorted expression. He said it was better that I hadn’t seen my dad’s body and it took him awhile to get past the upsetting image of his mom. I have to say, that information was a help to hear.

    Since then, however, though I don’t know what I didn’t see, I can say that over these past five years, I have had countless gory and morbid thoughts that I never experienced prior. I find myself with fleeting images of all kinds of violence not related to my father at all (probably more tied to a subconscious contemplation of what psychopaths may be capable of) and sometimes I have horrid and detailed dream imagery.

    Given all that’s occurred, it is normal to have these thoughts. I’m grateful I have the insight to know that just as easily as they arise, I can rise above them and not dwell on them. Over time, they have become less prominent and I’m also less sensitive to what are only fleeting thoughts that aren’t worth paying attention to.

    The hardest ones are when they show up as nightmares, but I know that what we dream is simply a metaphor, it’s not literal and usually it’s not even about the obvious subject. So when I occasionally wake up from some terrible image, I ask myself what is currently causing those feelings and fears in my life and in that way (usually through journaling) I can find the insight which is a gift for whatever my current circumstance.

    I also look for ways to be of service and do something productive. I’ve found the more I can do that, the less the bad images pop up.

    I hope that helps.