One Drop of Rain (Marty Parker’s PTSD story)

Marty Parker while hiking the Appalachian Trail

My good friend Marty Parker go to talking about my story recently. She shared her story with me and I knew immediately it had the possibility to help someone.

One thing I’ve learned about Marty is she has a huge heart and I knew she would be willing to share her story with you as well. So here it is, it’s brutally honest and spoken with true and honest love for others.

First here’s Marty’s bio;

Marty Parker is a nurse of 27 years. She has worked in the area of Emergency Medicine the majority of her career. Throughout her career she has encountered the goodness that comes with caring for sick, injured and dying patients. But in that goodness, she has also faced trauma, tragedies, and often war like scenarios played out over and over. While she has been honored to serve her patients, each loss comes with a price. Many health care workers find this conflict overwhelming even their best works yields death or other sad stories for countless families.

Marty has had specialized training in the field of trauma at a large Level 1 Trauma Center. She is currently the House Supervisor overseeing the care of more than 800 patients and 2000 employees.

She has suffered with PTSD for years and has dealt with depression on and off through out her professional life. Dealing with the death of children, husbands, family’s is common place at a hospital but her patients stories don’t simply end when she returns home. They often leave nurses and doctors with years of pain to battle.

Strangely enough, she met her loving spouse when he was admitted to her hospital after having been burned in a fire. Robert Parker in a Heavy Rescue firefighter and while he was at a friends gathering, he was severely burned in a fire and taken to Marty’s hospital. While there, he stopped breathing and Marty ultimately did CPR on Robert to save his life. Several months after his recovery from his burns, he ran into Marty and asked her to breakfast. He called her “his angel” and declared Marty was guardian sent from heaven. Funny, she declined. Roberts persistence paid off and ultimately they had their first date. Robert is a United States Marine Corp veteran. The two married in 2012. Marty now declares Robert as her guardian angel as he has stood beside her during countless days and nights while she deals with her depression and PTSD. He has helped her nightmares and even encouraged her to seek help in managing her PTSD. He strongly encouraged her to find other outlets and coping skills for PTSD and depression.

Marty attributes nature to her healing and coping with life’s traumas. The ocean, long distance backpacking and the call of the mountains help the daily struggle. The strength of God and her loving husband allows her to be strong.

Robert called Marty “his angel” she said him “her saving grace.” But in a conversation later she corrected and said “Actually God is my Saving grace, Robert is my hero and rock.”

“One Drop of Rain”

No one knows what a person has had to deal with or face in their life. We all have our story and our own personal cross to bare. Each one of us have our weakness, our guilt, our shame and our triumphs. People wrong you and your parents let you down and then try to build you back up. Often failing miserably. Trusts get broken and innocence stolen far too young. You can’t really know me or my woes. With that said, I too have no clue what you have been through or what has happened to you in your life. I just see the stranger you are willing to share. I can say that we are all human and placed here to become better and live better each day. To help one another and become one life. It doesn’t matter if u were abused as a child or bullied. It doesn’t matter, if u were or are a drunk, if you are a sinner or if you are a saint. Being perfectly imperfect is the way we are suppose to be. We are all fragile beings within our own strength.

In my career, I see people fight for their life daily. Fighting off diseases and illnesses I can’t even pronounce. I see death regularly (most everyday death is “normal” to me.) But how can death truly be classed as “normal?” Some peoples deaths are planned and plotted, some deaths are known/ expected due to an illness and is a welcomed relief, some are a complete shock from some terrible tragedy or accident. Causes me PTSD. All death equals a loss to the world. It leaves their loved ones with grief and pain and a void to never be filled only dealt with slowly.

We live in a world filled with hate, crime and badness. I look around me and I see homeless people, hungry people, weak and tired and drained people. Poor work ethics and poor decisions being made. Laziness and lackadaisical people expecting a free ride and hand outs from other hard working people. Deplorable. The sense of justice seems lost. Sometimes… in my past, these things have overwhelmed my soul. Broke me and crushed my spirit. I was completely defeated and wanted no more of this world.

So one day I drove to the beach (other than the mountains, the beach is my safe haven.) I sat in my sultry car and sat outside my favorite light house just sharing at it. I love light houses but today it was just a black and white stripped tower looming in front of me. The air was thick and it was hard to breathe.

I was SPENT…. I sat and thought about how life sucked. I felt hopeless. I felt like my life was useless to me. I felt worthless and used. I was getting divorced, I felt unloved and just ugly. I was confused and tired and broken. The day needed to be done. I was over it and it needed to just stop! Even the simple act of breathing seemed to hurt me. I wanted things to end. Suicide, no…. I did not want to be dead really. I simply just wanted to be done. Done with life’s problems and stresses that seemed to engulf my existence. Bills and work, being a nurse, and divorce and kids and the seemingly never ending tasks it took to just live… these “things” were way too much to continue. Stop the earth, I want off screamed my brain.

My head wanted to explode and I wanted to disappear. I was crying and felt empty. I listened to music and felt like nothing mattered. Especially me, I did not matter. It was summer and my car was hot and humid. It was predicted to storm. I didn’t mind the threat of a storm or the unbearable muggy heat. I did not even open the windows. Just sat there sweating feeling numb.

It started to rain and a single drop of rain hit my window. It was all alone, one little drop…. it just sat there like the tear on my cheek. I watched as the other rain drops hit the glass on my car. First there was one drop, by itself. Alone… Alone like me. Then one drop became two, two became three and so on. The water drops naturally wanted to join together. Like some magnetic force they collided. They would fall from the sky and then immediately try to find another drop of rain to roll down the window into some puddle. As did my tears. The tears from my eyes too flowed down my cheeks pooling on my chest. Like some odd parallel of fate. I watched the drops of rain for some time. Puzzled as the rain drops joined to make water trails down my window. My cars’ windows began fogging up due to the humidity. I didn’t care. I just sat breathing and watching the rain. I could smell the oceans salt air. It smelled fishy… but not in a bad smelly way. It was pleasing to my nose and some how calmed me. As the rain continued, I began tracing the lines of rain in the fog on my side window. Funny, I noticed that the rain drops weren’t meant to be apart. They joined forces to be together. To create a something bigger. It was beautiful to watch them join up.

Feeling lost, I decided to get out of my car and walked toward the beach across from the light house. The sun was setting behind the clouds that were rolling in. They were thick, dark and thunder was making a loud roar in the distance. These clouds looked ominous! Much like my life felt ominous to me.

I reached the waters edge and stared out at the nothingness. Dark water and big waves crashing loudly as their white caps tossed the water wildly. The sand was cold and wet and squished between my toes. My perfectly painted red toe nails poked through the sand. I sat there wiggling them until the sand chipped the polish off my left big toe. This made the perfect pedicure I just paid $60 bucks for totally ruined. “Just one more thing to fix! One more stupid stressor, “ran through my head. “June Cleaver wouldn’t have a chipped toe nail” I thought. Keeping up with “The Cleavers and The Jones” is too hard to manage. I hate trying to emulate and keep up with the “Have it all” people of the world. Note to self: Stop trying to! I suck at it and I hate false pretenses and living up to or faking junk like this.

The rain was falling down in a steady mist from above. I sat down in the sand and listened to the waves crash at my feet. A wave rolled in and soaked my bottom. I cared not. One bright flash lit up the sky and thunder roared and shook the ground. Still I sat…. The sky’s let loose and it stormed the most amazing storm I have ever seen. Thunder cracked and lightening split the sky in such an array of streaks that they were blinding to watch. But I watched. I listened and I didn’t move. It rained very hard. Side ways wind blowing the rain with the horizon. The wind blew so fiercely that my wet hair stuck to my face. I sat there and watched natures fury. Fearless and mesmerized. I should have been afraid for my life as the lightening was quite close. Instead of fear, I felt an amazing power and energy building within the storm. I witnessed the wind and rain and waves and as they passionately join together. I was awe struck by these forces. This storm changed my perspective of rain drops. It changed my perspective of life and it changed me. I could feel a new energy building within my soul. I was enthralled by the power of the storm. Seeing so much water that had joined together yet started from one drop of rain. The rain drops each becoming stronger when united as one to form an ocean. I was like the single drop of rain compared to this ocean around me. I was surrounded by an ocean of people who loved me and needed me. The storm and wind and waves was just some of the stressors the ocean has to contend with in its “life.” Wow, what an epiphany.

The wind and rain were cold on my skin, yet I felt so warm. I felt apart of the rain and of the storm. Mostly, I felt alive. The storm ended. I sat there soaking wet and felt happy for the first time in ages.

Now, looking back, I believe that the one drop of rain that hit my car window was actually a tear drop from my guardian angel who felt my despair. I know this now. The drop beckoned me to see that I wasn’t alone in this world. I was apart of something bigger and I was needed in my life. That drop of rain showed me that I was meant to join with others and make a difference to their life. To move past feeling alone and swim in an ocean filled with beauty and power. To be fierce and brave. To the weather all stressors thrown at me. I found me that day in the Outer Banks. Moreover, I found peace.

Suicide is terrible and hurtful. If you are depressed, reach out to someone! Anyone, me! “Suicide is a permanent solution to life’s temporary problems.” We are never alone. We may be in a storm but in that storm there is power. There is strength. There is always another drop of rain to join up with to flow to an ocean of tranquility.

If you have read this until the end know this… I love you. I am here today because I was saved by one rain drop from Heaven. I love myself and my life and try to live it each day to its fullest. I work hard and play hard. I love life and people and nature and humanity. The good the bad and the ugly are all beautiful when you seek the beauty within.

Because I love you I can say this: I can be your drop of rain. There is no better gift in this world than that of life… Being there for others and living through the storm is my personal calling. We are one people. Black, white, gay, straight, rich or poor…. we are one ocean!

This is my Story… And it is only the beginning. I am more than one drop of rain… I am a complex ocean.

Call me if u need someone to weather your storm with you. I will be there. Peace, hope and love: the greatest of these is HOPE!

2 thoughts on “One Drop of Rain (Marty Parker’s PTSD story)

Add yours

    1. Thank you Catherine. PTS and mental illness awareness needs more attention, especially in the first responder fields. I’m very sorry to hear your struggles. Unfortunately I’ve had many dark times myself. I hope you are doing better now. And thank you too for bringing awareness to PTSD.

      Liked by 1 person

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