I see those two words used sometimes before an article or even a facebook update from those who share stories they know can be upsetting to others who have gone through similar things, as a warning that the story they’re telling could cause an emotional spiral.
Walk away if you need to, those words say.
Though often, it doesn’t even take reading a full story to cause the pain to come. Just a reference to the pain can be enough.
What triggers me isn’t something that anyone would really think to put a warning on.
And my eyes would flicker to the story and it would start anyway, without me even knowing all the details.
Lately, I’ve been seeing it more and more.
Lead. Lead poisoning.
Perhaps you’ve seen the articles about what’s been going on in Flint, Michigan. If you have, you probably shook your head and thought how awful it was, but then you probably moved on to something else, unless you live there or know someone who lives there.
Or maybe you saw articles like America’s Lead Poisoning Problem Isn’t Just in Flint. It’s Everywhere. And it gave you pause. Unless you think someone can only get lead poisoning by eating paint chips. (You’d be wrong.) And then there was yesterday’s story about Sebring, Ohio… which might only be the beginning of more stories like this.
But as the mom of a child who had lead poisoning, it’s heartbreaking to think about it.
We live with it, so it’s not like it never crosses my mind, despite the enormous progress my son has made over the past almost 7 years since his diagnosis.
But these articles, they talk about the long term effects. And though I’ve read all about them and witness some of them in our daily lives, those articles push it all to the forefront of my mind.
And then I spiral.
With all the what if‘s and if only‘s.
Until I almost can’t breathe for the heartache and worry.
Until I have no more words I can even share with you because I need to walk away to catch my breath and hug my son.