I don't think you are hanging onto it Steve, I think you are turning to face it, walking towards it, moving through it and that is the only way to come out the other side. I think if you run away from it, it doesn't work, it is running from your own shadow; it remains part of you, unspoken, unmanaged, locked into you, the fear and the shock of the deaths and the bomb feet away. It haunts you, and it hurts you.
I beleive this: If you can find the strength to voice it, share it, write it, remember it, you can make it into part of your history, something you lived *through*, not something uncontrollable that haunts & controls you. It becomes just one part of you, just one of the stories that make up who you are, a horrible story, but in the end, just one of the stories of your life, and therefore something you can integrate into the whole story who you are.It stops defining you.
I dream about this: Maybe one day you I will say to my grandaughter ' I did many things, when I was younger, I travelled, I taught, I learned things, I wrote things, I fell deeply in love and was loved back, and once, I was on a train and I was very close to a bomb!
And she'll say ' Really? Did it hurt?'
And I'll say ' Yes, it did for a while, but then time passed and I almost forgot about it because other things happened to me, and it stopped being as important.'
Maybe. I hope so. I hope so for you too.
I think the shock has to fade first, and that takes as long as it takes, and only then the integration of the shock can begin, and you just can't start dealing with it straight away - it's like running on a broken leg straight away.
I know how you said you pushed it away and avoided it and never spoke of it for months - but I found when it is pushed down, it rises up in anothger form - anger, nightmares, illness - until you turn and face it one way or another.
I promise, it goes, it is intense when you first face it full on but it really does get better. I'm talkign about the 2002 attack on me that left me with PTSD; by July 6th last year the symptoms had gone, and I was loving life again - it felt, in fact, better and sweeter than before, because I had gone through something terrible and come out the other end.
Then the bomb; and back to square one with the PTSD. But at least I knew this time it was going to get better, and that was encouraging: I knew I dealt with it once and that was my secret weapon which gives me hope that this too will pass. For all of us. Best of luck Steve, and well done on writing one of the most powerful pieces of testimony I've ever read.