Making peace with life’s great hurdles is a long process. I knew there must be many ways to let go of old emotional pains that eventually became physical pain and resistance. What came to mind were the helpful familiar steps used to overcome the sadness of death. Isn’t the past a death of sorts? Besides, my abuser has now been dead 15 years. At his viewing before the funeral, it didn’t bother me to look at the dead body in the open casket. I wanted to make sure he was dead.

Letting yourself grieve is a beginning step in dealing with death. Since my abuse is over or dead, so to speak, why not grieve over me, the sad little girl who had her childhood taken away? The second step is to understand I wasn’t alone. That’s an easy one: who hasn’t seen recent headlines of children being sexually abused? There are plenty of us out there. Don’t hold it in was another suggestion. No problem, I’ve discussed it on my blog in three installments so far.

A “happy” family — me, Dad & Mom

Asking for help was one of the steps. I’ve been able to discuss it with close family members and good friends, and that has helped me a great deal. I went to a unique therapist with psychic talents a few years ago. Without telling her much, she analyzed the basics of what had happened—that since I couldn’t express my anger or tell my secret, I’d turned it inward and became an adult too soon. It was time to process what happened and let it out. I’ve been processing for a while, but lives aren’t fairy tales and letting go of old baggage might be a lifelong pursuit. The memories come and go but get less powerful as time goes by.

Using invented names, I’ve told a more complete version of my story in my Ebook on Amazon: Colonels Don’t Apologize.

This most recent exploration of my inner being has netted some results, but the story isn’t over. My postings attracted quite a few readers and some private positive comments. I also rediscovered an old file of letters from my dad. After he died in 1997, I decided to read through the letters and find some enlightening passages to share with my sister and brother. As I’ve mentioned before, Dad could relate to me in letters, and I’d forgotten that most of what he wrote was surprisingly encouraging and supportive. He did not visit me from his Washington State home nor encourage me to come there, and he didn’t call (he never got over the old fears of wasting money on phone calls), but he enjoyed writing long detailed letters and so did I.

As I mentioned previously, I confronted him in a letter about his abuse, but he could not acknowledge it. I then decided to push the old emotions aside once again, and we both buried the past as we continued to correspond. Not long after that, he began to obviously decline in mental prowess. As his mind deteriorated, he only managed to write a few more brief and very flawed letters.

Life isn’t neat and tidy; it’s complicated and full of errant emotions. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to say, “There, that’s done and I feel totally at peace,” but there’s solace in the many blessings I’ve received and continue to have. And, ironically enough, I feel this man who abused me also loved me.

In a letter Dad wrote to me a few years before he died, he said, “You know I am proud of the progress you are making. Remember I love you and am proud of you. Hoping the best for you. You have ‘the right stuff.’”

One Comment

  1. Burl Nadolny says:

    Awesome blog, I’ve even learned considerably more than i presume you have realised by looking through this, I’ll bookmark it and use it again in the future.

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