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I became the latest entry in that infamous club no one wants to join: the club of mothers who have lost a child. I had to take time away from the shop. Relationships have foundered and been lost because folks did not know how to handle the news about my son's murder. They were afraid to say Christopher's name, they were afraid to say the wrong thing. So they left. But more importantly, how did this affect me, emotionally? I do know that I will never again have daily interactions via social media or telephone with Christopher--almost every morning when I opened my computer at work there was a cheery note, and lively interaction throughout the day. I will never again know the magnificence and strength of my boy's hugs, or feel his care and concern for his mom. I will never again have heart-searing talks with Christopher when he wanted my advice. I will never be able to watch Christopher's pure joy when with his extended family. I think of a student of mine. When he walked into the classroom for the first time, my mind automatically registered winner. He stood tall, smiling and engaging with his friends, and when he spoke in class, he exuded confidence and charm. He was an athlete and had aspirations to become a lawyer. I assumed he was extremely bright. Until I graded his first exam. I was confused, and after checking and rechecking the score, I asked myself, How could this student have scored a D minus when all other indicators said he would ace it? I got my answer later through a personality theory paper in which he identified his own struggle with narcissism. He shared in that paper that his parents had always thought he could do anything, so anything that didn't come easy, he saw as a deficiency. Rather than seeking help with areas in which he struggled, he distanced himself from his need.

Though we've all felt insecurity and we've all created anger stories in our minds, when we witness others' unnecessary anger, we can't help but see the foolishness in it. Learning from others' mistakes via a story like this can help you be more mindful the next time your ego shouts insecure or angry thoughts at you. Punishing Others Punishes You A very long time ago, all the different parts of the body were really angry about the unequal distribution of tasks, so they had a meeting to discuss it. You see, some of the body parts were enraged because they felt like they did all the work while the stomach just sat there and reaped the benefits. They decided to revolt. The hands declared that they would no longer bring food to the mouth, the mouth refused to take food in, and the teeth refused to chew anything. They set out to teach the stomach a lesson. The different body parts convinced themselves that they were punishing the stomach. However, it did not take long for the whole body to begin to weaken and waste away. And his family will never know pure joy again. I have been told I was a soft place for Christopher to land after a tough week of city life. And of that, I am proud. I felt that my role became caregiver, to take care of my remaining family; Because I could not provide the emotional support she required, and also care for my nuclear family. My mother, Nanny-Junne, has now passed away, and this horrible incident contributed in no small way. Christopher was her life. Places that brought me pleasure were no longer places I wanted to visit. Family vacation spots became difficult to go to. I have spent almost 6 years trying to establish new Christmas traditions that would bring us joy, while still trying to maintain and cherish the memories of past Christmases.

When I later asked him about his exam performance, which had become a chronic problem, he said: I truly believed that I could walk into an exam and ace it regardless of whether I studied or not. My friend Jim always proclaimed that he could simply sit through lectures and then ace exams. I think I was trying to prove to myself that I could do it too. After all, the narcissism in me was practically screaming that I was capable of it. Plus, if I would do poorly, it was easier to say, Oh, I didn't study, rather than admitting that I studied and still didn't comprehend the material. On a deeper note, admitting that I failed would be proving some deep-down feelings of inadequacy that helped form my narcissistic personality in the first place. If I admitted that I wasn't good enough, two things would happen: I would either A) enter a depressive episode after realizing that I may not be good enough for college and begin to reevaluate what I am doing with my life, or B) have to reassure myself that I am good enough, further cementing my narcissistic personality. In order to allow myself to go forward through college and not fail the aspirations that had been set for me, I essentially continued telling myself that I am the greatest and further bought into my narcissism. This student's very need to be the greatest kept him far from that reality, at least academically. The body parts came together for a second meeting. This time the aim of the meeting was to apologize to the stomach. They offered gratitude for the digestion and distribution that it carries out for the whole body. Just because you cannot immediately see the value that others bring doesn't mean it's not there. The hatred you extend to others will most often hurt you the most. The more you can see the interconnectedness of everyone and the role everyone in your life plays in the story of who you are (including teaching you motivation, patience, how to overcome obstacles, and other invaluable lessons), the more you will understand the reality that punishing others punishes you. Learning from Anger Once a man came to the master, enraged. The man said that he was furious with his boss and that his anger was so overwhelming, it took him every ounce of control not to do something regretful. The teacher praised the man's restraint, but the man only replied that he thought he had progressed further in his path to peace, and he was surprised by how overcome with anger he was.

I will never understand how one person's carelessness, cowardice and arrogance can take my life, my sunshine. This is my life now. This will never change. My loss is always with me and always will be. Always living with the essence of Christopher and a sense of what if . What kind of uncle would he have been to his unborn nephew? What kind of son would he be towards me in my old age? I will never know. I will never feel his love towards me again. I try and find ways to cope. The two possibilities for him were either to wallow in shame or to deny inadequacies and attach to the grandiose self. The third option--to integrate and care for the part of him that didn't have the answers--was yet to be discovered. Filling Out the Picture This article has been a tough one for me. No, that's only part of the truth. They've all been tough. Embarrassingly tough. I can recall days where a single paragraph was all I had to show for my labors. I get stuck in loops, writing and erasing the same sentence multiple times. At the beginning of a new article, I am convinced I have nothing to say, and I'm pretty sure I don't know how to write.

I am still so angry! I want to leave that job, but I don't know if I should! I don't want to work somewhere where people act like that! But I don't know what to do . The teacher listened until the man was finished, and then he spoke. Imagine your anger is a kind, old, wise, and balanced friend who just wants to give you an important message right now. What do you think that message might be? The man thought about it for a bit. The more he thought about it, the more calm he became. Finally he said, To leave my job. I try and find moments of joy. And with the help of my wonderful daughter, and good friends and family, I am occasionally able to do that. But please, let there be no doubt. I am a Victim. Just as Christopher was. Thank you for listening. Can you even imagine having to share how broken-hearted you are with strangers and media alike? I mean, Rob and I chose to open our hearts to people about the sadness and the tragedy of our daughter's death. How Ellen managed to put her loss and pain into words and then deliver them to her son's killer and everyone else in that courtroom is beyond me. Ellen lives in Uxbridge, a township about a fifty-five-minute drive from Toronto.