It’s August 4th and I’ve invited my mom to coffee at our local Starbucks, a neutral place to have a serious discussion about my past, my bio-dad Orval, and search for answers. My mom and I only live a half-mile from each other. We don’t talk every day or even once a week, but maybe once a month or so, not for any other reason except that life gets busy.
I called my mom the week prior to schedule this appointment and told her I’m writing a book about my life. She said she’s supportive of it and thinks that it will be very healing for me and will help others. I let her know it was not my intent to make her feel uncomfortable, but I had some questions to ask of her since she knew Orval more intimately, as well as about my grandparents.
Two coffees each, and four and a half emotional hours later, my mom and I were hugging. I thanked her for answering my questions and allowing me to share a couple of stories with her she didn’t know. Again, it was not my intent to upset her, but for the recollection of my own memories and asking questions to gain a better understanding of the circumstances at the time.
I was very appreciative of my mom coming to meet me for this appointment, she could have said no. I knew it wasn’t easy for her. I can totally relate to her as a mother of what her feelings must have been as we talked about the subject matter of sexual abuse, leaving her kids to go find herself, and her guilt of not protecting us (her words). As I shared one specific memory with my mom, she could not recall it happening. I look at it this way, it was a traumatic experience, it happened 45-46 years ago, and I can only imagine that no one would want to have that memory, as I have blocked out memories as well. I am not in a place to judge. I am at a point in life where I have forgiven her and accept her answers and truth as she believes it to be. We all have our own demons. I would like to say this as well… What purpose would it serve for me to blame, or be angry about any of this, or to hold ill feelings? It would not! It would only hurt me to feel that way. I choose to move past and create whatever joy I can find for my life.
I share this with you because in this life we have to communicate, especially about the ‘difficult’ topics that make us feel uncomfortable. In an age of technology (too much of it if you ask me), we have easy ‘outs’ to communication. You hear of people breaking up via text message, or ghosting friends when friendships get too difficult. When my mom and I left each other after our talk, we were spent but I feel it was healing and bonding for the both of us.
I talked with my mom the week after our appointment, and she mentioned that she felt spent and emotional. I let her know that I did a Facebook Live the Sunday after our talk, and how a friend of mine reached out to me to let me know that it opened the door for her and her son to talk about her son’s abuse. My mom said she didn’t watch it, that it was too emotional for her, but I let her know that in this crazy process, her and I are helping someone and setting an example of what the healing process can look like. It gave her a new positive perspective about what we did, and she was able to say, “Wow, you mean I helped?” I told her of course she helped!
This is why I’m writing my story. It is not about me telling my story for a pity party, or for people to feel sorry for me, or to whine about how difficult life has been or how unfair it’s been to me…NO!!! I am writing my story in the hopes of being a catalyst in starting the discussion about sexual abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, and familial kidnapping. It is time to use my voice (or my writing) as a superpower, a weapon against these forces. The more we can openly talk about these difficult issues, the more awareness can be created, and the more healing can happen.
If you, too, have experienced any trauma or abuse in your life, YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM, YOU ARE A SURVIVOR! Yes, I am yelling from a metaphorical mountaintop to you, from a place of love, hope, and faith.
I am not a victim, I am a survivor.