Journeyers, it’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks.
Family in the hospital.
Family coming and going.
Skeletons leaping from closets.
Gatherings and celebrations have collided with worry and heartache and painful memories.
The flurry of activity kept me from writing yesterday.
The emotional drain of last night’s and the previous evening’s events leaves me exhausted.
Limbs seemingly drained of life.
Eyes throbbing from the wellsprings they delivered.
I own some of this.
The conflict between my children, one which goes deeper than the breaking away phase, deeper than that dysfunction that has existed outside of me.
I. Own. It.
Things from my distant past that I kept locked away, hidden even from myself.
Patterns repeated with my own children.
Pain. Suffering. Regret. Fear. Hate.
And love. I know there is love locked away, overshadowed by years of paradox and contradiction.
If you love me, then why didn’t you protect me, they ask?
These things I’ve been thinking about in the past year, little deliverances of awareness that spoke to me.
I’ve been working on a letter to my children, much like the letter I wrote to Warren for our anniversary.
A communication that I hoped would open doors for them, an invitation to both forgive and to encourage questions.
I’ve been pondering this for more than six months, and yet, I seem to keep getting stuck on, “I’m sorry if I ever made you feel afraid.”
The person charged with loving and protecting you from hurt and pain.
A mother who one day many years ago woke up and realized that somewhere along the way she’d crossed that line between swatting a behind to get her child’s attention and spanking them in a fit of anger.
A woman who realized those boundaries were easily blurred.
A female brought up in a universal silence that spanned generations of countless families across all races and religions, decades of switches and paddles and belts and frying pans and confusion.
Someone who never learned that abuse can be present, even in the absence of bruises, welts, and marks.
I’m struggling to turn off Justification’s chatter, to turn off The Story that my generation and those before me told us: “You want to know what a beating is? You’ve no idea what some children go through. Black eyes and bruises and broken bones!”
And two nights ago now, through grace and courage and compassion and caring and fear it all came tumbling forth at our dining room table.
I am in awe of the power of communication, encouraged by the knowledge that this child, my child, felt just enough trust somewhere deep inside, that he could acknowledge those truths and give them a voice.
“How could you do that to me? That’s not supposed to happen. You’re supposed to protect me and you did that?”
I felt his fear.
And my own.
And now I am scared for very different reasons.
Frightened by the fact that I cannot take it back, that I can never, ever change what happened, that I can only move forward.
Frightened that the power of forgiveness lies only in their hearts.
“Thank you for your courage to tell me how you feel,” I said, “I’m sorry, so, so very sorry that I intimidated and hurt you so badly.”
I wanted to ask for forgiveness, and yet, it is not my place.
“Dad and I have been seeing a therapist,” I said, “I wonder if we should all go. Would you be interested in doing family counseling?”
“Yes.” He said.
“Maybe now we can begin to heal,” I said, my eyes boring into the depths of hurt reflected in his eyes.
Awareness is half the battle, Journeyers.
I’m not sure, but somehow I think the very hardest work has already been done.
But there is a long, long road ahead…
Hugs and healing, Journeyers…