Trauma Resurfaces The Pain of Yesterday!

Many people go through life and are never held up at gunpoint, robbed or in situations of extreme fear with shooters on a rampage.

I’ve now gone through this twice in my lifetime, thus far. We recently visited Waco, Texas to see our daughter, son in law and two youngest grandchildren (ages 10 months and 3 years). My daughter works at Baylor University and had decided to take us all to the dining commons for dinner on our 2nd night in Texas, (10-2019). We arrived, when suddenly, an alert was texted to her husband’s and her phones. The alert told us to “take shelter immediately & await further instructions”. My daughter started to panic as any mother of two babies would! I was frightened but tried to stay calm for her and the babies. We had to be separated from our husbands. They were sent to the men’s restroom & my daughter, the 2 babies & I were sent to the women’s restroom.

We awaited instructions but we were huddled into the corner of a handicapped stall. Finally, an employee came & told us we were on “lockdown” and we were all moved into the basement of the dining commons. There was stagnant air & it was difficult to breathe. I was very frightened but just continued to keep my daughter & grand babies calm. An employee, the cashier who I’d met as I entered the building; came around looking for me! She said that she was “drawn to me” & felt the need to come and check on me. She was so kind & she brought water downstairs for everyone. The water helped a lot and my granddaughter calmed down. Once we were all together as a family; in the basement, my husband was so good with the kids. We all tried to help them to be unafraid as we waited for the “all clear” alert. After about 55 minutes, we were given that alert and we were free to eat our dinner and go back to their home. We found out that about a half block away from campus, someone was shot. There were 3 people with automatic rifles on the run. The University took great care to see that we were kept safe during this ordeal. The staff was outstanding and very courageous.

It all brought me back to the time when I was 11 years old, in 1973, February. My parents, older brother & I went out after dinner to get my brother some Confirmation shoes. I was over looking at girls shoes, when suddenly I heard my father’s voice. He told me to come over to him. But a man had a gun pointed at my dads head! I didn’t know if I should try to run out of the store to get help? Or if it was not real? I remember saying aloud,”his “Candid Camera”? If I don’t cry, I get a prize?” My dad told me “Suzanne if you ever listen to me, do as I say right this moment! Come here right now!”

So I meandered back to the store room of the shoe store; where my family was held captive; along with another family of 4, a sales clerk and a manager. I saw my mother crying as one of the two men had their guns pointed at her face. The other man had his gun pointed at my dads head. I started to cry when they told my dad to empty his pockets and they proceeded to take my mothers wedding rings.(she’d gotten that engagement ring at age 14).

My dad grabbed the mans arm & said “Don’t you take those rings”! My mom yelled at him to get down and just do whatever he was told. I was crying so hard because the man said to my dad ,”shut up or I’ll put a bullet through your head”! I was really scared and my 13 year old brother stared emotionless as he was gathering every detail.

My mom passed out and the men grabbed my arm as if to take me with them. My mother laid on top of me as I was vomiting by this time! They kept telling my parents to “shut her up – or they would!” Finally, they ripped the phones off of the wall and made us lay down face to the ground. They said that we should wait 20 minutes before getting up. The manager somehow called the police. After they arrived, we told them as many details as we could remember. My brother stayed calm and gave them lots of Information.

After that, my mother was so scared & she didn’t want to go home right away. My Uncle, her brother, lived nearby. We went to his families home so my mom could calm down and feel better. Finally, we went home but I’ve never forgotten that day in my life. I had nightmares for a very long time and never was given a chance to discuss my feelings or fears. Lastly, I was blamed for the robbers taking my mothers wedding rings. My mother told everyone that as she was covering my mouth (because I was afraid, crying & even vomited as they robbers were saying “shut her up, or we will!!”), the robbers saw her rings sparkling and so they stole her precious wedding rings. Even though the robbers took all of the people’s wallets & jewelry etc., somehow it was my fault that those rings were taken off of her finger.

I guess I just wanted to share this with you all because the ordeal in Texas brought back some of those memories. After the robbery when I was only 11 years old, there were many more traumatic events that I experienced. If you know me or if you’ve had the chance to read the early posts &/or password protected posts in this blog; you’d realize how true this is. I was later diagnosed with PTSD, in or around my late 30’s. I finally received the help that was much needed. The Domestic Violence shelter and therapy has helped me over the years, to get past some of my fears. I still suffer today, but not nearly as much as I had in the past. Thank you for letting me share my experiences here with you today.

Suzanne, age 11 years

One thought on “Trauma Resurfaces The Pain of Yesterday!

  1. Oh Suzanne, I’m so sorry to hear of your horrifying experience while in Waco, TX Sometmes it seems like the entire world in WHACKO, which I’m really beginning to believe it is. Never did I think the world would be this bad, however, the Bible tells us it will. I can imagine your daughter’s fear with two small children’s, as well as your own fear as a mother, grandma, wife and the safety of yourself. Hey, we Grandma’s have a double whammy when it come to something like that, our own child, our grandchildren your son-in-law and husband.. You did a great job.

    The incident with the men back in the 70’s who were holding guns to your mom and dad’s heads had to be absolutely terrifying and something people who have never experiened, could never understand, but for them to say you were to blame for the robbery of your mother’s wedding rings, well I just don’t get that! They should be happy nothing worse happened! I had a really difficult time with that. Here you are sick! Of course your mom was trying to protect you, but somehow I don’t understand how you were to blame for her rings being taken. Perhaps she should have thought of that at the time, I’m sure she didn’t, obviously, but that ceretainly would have never entered your thoughts that time at all! Throwing up from fear of seeing your mom and dad being treated that way, as well as going thru horrific fear yourself. Wow, honey, I hope somehow you don’t continue to carrying that burden, because it was NOT you to blame. I know you said you had gone thru therapy at the Women’s Domestic Abuse Center. My daughter worked for the Center in our town for years, not as a Counselor, but as an assistant to the lady who ran the Center, I don’t know what she was called, President? Not sure, but I’ve known her for years also. Both my daughter have friends that work there and those people really do care and I’m so happy, and hope you are over soooooo……..much of your past life.

    This incident in Waco seems to be happening more and more in so many states, towns, counties and places. I’m so happy you did have a safe, happy ending, we just never know anymore, it’s terrible to have to be on your guard and toes all the time, but we do! I have to say that would have terrified me, but I would have done exactly what you did. I’m so thankful you all are okay.

    We tell our daughters and grandchildren to be aware of their surroundings and I’m always tellling my girls if they are out alone, especially around the holiday season to walk out with more people. Their husbands usually do go with them most the time, for which I feel much better about. Of course, now, you can order your groceries or about anything …………. and drive up and pick up. It’s not that expensive, at least around here. Just like at the last minute Sunday night, our eleven year old granddaughter remembered or probably my daughter remembered Bryleigh needed to have something for Monday…….it was getting dark by then also, but they stopped by to see if I had some boots – that looked like the 90’s! My grandaughter had spent Saturday night with us and we had gone to Target that day. She is so very good to help me and “thinks” better than I do…………….but she never mentioned anything about boots or we could have bought or at least looked at something there. I live in between two major small shopping mini malls and we could have checked both Targets. For instance, she couldn’t find the Pillsbury sugar cookies she wanted at Target Sunday, she used her phone and tells me they are out of stock! I would have never thought to do that. We even asked and she was correct on that one too!

    But, Yeah, right……I don’t know what they wore in the 90’s, which year? but I did have some shoes and boots she use to play with when she stayed much more when she was younger and here with us, I love shoes and she does too, but I have so many that I cannot wear now since my stroke and she has taken the ones she wants, she helped me clean out my closet and sort thru give away or sell at yard sale; she did the climbing up on the shelves and was such a helper to me that day. We both love and wear Sketchers, (spelling) and she wears a size 6 or 6 1/2 like I do, but the ones she wanted do not fit me anymore and have too high a heel for her, plus some shoes are too little for her: so hard to believe they grow up so fast; my daughter called both Target stores and I suppose described what she needed and they had something, so they left and did the ……just pull up and someone is right there with a bag, she checked them out and apparently they worked, but my wonderful son-in-law and grandson was with them also; she even orders her groceries from Schnucks and other places she shops, it’s mostly the places where she orders exactly what she wants, they have photos, and she knows immediately if the item is in stock or when it will be, completes the forms and tells them when she will be there, and they are ready when she arrives, and loads her packages or groceries into her Van for her. She stays so busy with her work, grading papers and preparing for the next day classes, plus both kids are involved in so many extracurricular activities, she’s on the go all the time; she barely has time to cook! She teaches high school English and our two youngest grandchildren are now 16 and eleven and have so much going, weekends too, usually having friends over.

    He isn’t allowed to just jump in the car and go out because he has his license now. They don’t live far from the new high school where she teaches so our grandson rides to school with her, however he is involved in the jazz band, school plays and many other activities; he does drive alone sometimes and can only have one other person in the car with him. They are both really good kids, so are our older grandsons, 30 and 25, college and great jobs, the 30 year bought his first home at age 24 (fixer up to sell in a few years but it is nice for he and his dog) and although neither of them are married, they have girlfriends, but are able to take care of themselves as well. Of course, their mom (my oldest daughter) and their dad still worry about them, like I tell my girls, we will and you will, always worry about your kids, no matter their age, and your grrandkids, no matter their ages either!

    They do however, think I watch too much TV and worry too much about them all, and I do! But, I worked for the FBI in Washington, D.C. in 1965 right out of high school at the age of 17 ……. and I could tell you some things that happened “there” back in those days. I never went thru anything even similar to what you did at a much younger age, but I was totally scared several times, which is actually good considering being so young and living with several other girls. But, it still was not as it is today.

    After my hemorrhagic stroke in 2001, (not immediately right after!), but we went to Cancun with our youngest daughter and her husband who didn’t have children at that time. We had been out to eat and were leaving to get a cab, when my husband didn’t make a big scene, but said to keep walking and talking as if we were meeting someone, but not to turn around, even our youngest daughter sensed something was up, she caught what was happening, however, me? Having had the stroke, I didn’t and don’t have much cognitive intuition as I once did (and as I age, it has only worsened) and was totally unaware of what was going on, but several guys had jumped out from around the side of the restaurant and had started to follow us when, after a few minutes, although it seemed half an hour to me after I was told what they thought those guys might try to do to us, a cab did, in fact, pull up! Thank the Lord. So since that time, I was/am very careful when out by myself when I use to go to the mall by myself, which I can’t do anymore, because even with my cane, I cannot walk very far because of my PAIN! I cannot walk, except with a cane, but I rarely go alone, to a nearby Kohl’s or Target and that’s not very often because I spend more time in bed now than ever before. I don’t get dressed much either because of this pain condition I have constant burning, stabbing and back pain from Scoliosis surgery, stomach problems, and clothing, fans, loudness, panic attacks, many different sensations upset this condition. My husband never wants me to go alone, he usually always goes with me, but sometimes I just need to be alone for an hour or so every few months. He goes to Veteran’s meetings and counseling.

    Anyway, I’m so very thankful and happy your family is safe, and that you got a chance to settle down somewhat before going on to your daughter’s home. I know even then, and now, it’s still on your mind, it kinda makes us think and remember this is a different world we are living in and we all need to be aware of our surroundings. Take care my friend,


    Sandy Miller / credentials can be used.

    On Sun, Oct 20, 2019 at 12:26 PM Tears of Truth…. wrote:

    > Suzanne posted: ” Many people go through life and are never held up at > gunpoint, robbed or in situations of extreme fear with shooters on a > rampage. I’ve now gone through this twice in my lifetime, thus far. We > recently visited Waco, Texas to see our daughter, son in la” >


Comments are closed.