Monday, November 25, 2013

Survivors Voice- a long ago Thanksgiving blessing

This morning a long ago memory came back to me as I was thinking about this weeks holiday.  After I had disclosed the sexual abuse from my childhood to my Mother (in my late 20's), the year rolled around and Thanksgiving was approaching.  Our family tradition was that my Mother, Brothers and I take the Thanksgiving meal to my Grandparents home to be together.  My Grandfather was the perpetrator against me.

At this point in my healing, I couldn't even conceive of the possibility that 'we', or even I didn't have to make this trek.  I thought that my world would unravel if I did not keep it spinning as usual.  Part of what was so awful for me over the years was this and other visits to their home where I had to pretend everything was 'normal'.  My Mom and I had not yet disclosed the abuse to my brothers so they were unaware of the tension that was brewing for my Mom and I as Thanksgiving approached.

I was terrified, Mom was filled with rage,  but we packed up the turkey and off we went to Apache Junction.  That day my Mother was my hero.  She could have out performed any linebacker in the NFL.  She maneuvered herself throughout the house and throughout the day putting herself between him and me and my Grandfather never had the opportunity to lay a hand on me.   No welcome hug, no kiss hello/goodbye... nothing.

I'll never know whether my Grandparents or my Brothers noticed anything odd that day, but I got through it because of my Mother.  I don't know how she did it.  It's true that years before, my Mom missed the fact that I was in danger when my Grandpa was arrested for 'bothering' some neighbor children and she didn't keep me safe.  But, she was there for me that day and indeed every moment after I disclosed the abuse to her.  And for me, as a survivor, that made all the difference.

That was the last time any of us ever set foot in their home.  Not long after that, we did tell my Brothers and the news did not tear the fabric of our family as I was so sure it would.  It's funny (odd, not funny ha ha) what we make up in our heads as kids about what will happen if we tell.

I give thanks for the courage I found in myself through the telling of my story all those years ago.  Stand in truth of your life friends it feels amazing.

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