So, I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile.
It’s been simmering, and stewing, and I’ve left it on the back burner. I think I’ve put it off because I knew that writing it would make it real.
There’s nothing more “real” than seeing your words in black and white, is there?
I’ve put off writing anything deeply personal for awhile because I knew I’d be leaving out a BIG THING. Which is uncomfortable for me. Omission is a big deal.
My blog is mostly food. I know that. But I feel a responsibility to share important parts of my life. Partly for myself but partly because I know I’ve put myself in a position where people compare themselves to me.
Whether they feel sorry for me and congratulate themselves for being a better parent than me (I use TV as a babysitter sometimes and feed my son processed junk food. Sue me) or to look at my pretty pictures and perfect space and wonder how I get it all done, when they are hanging on by a thread.
I have happy days and sad days, hurt and fear, feelings of insecurity, arguments with my husband…it all happens.
I also have a history. An ugly ugly history that I’ve shared with all of you.
I am not ashamed of my past. But I find that it’s a topic that makes people uncomfortable. It’s ugly and taboo and I hate that I might look damaged to you. I don’t see myself as damaged, and it breaks my heart to think that you might.
I am an overcomer and I am blessed. That is how I see myself most days. (Except when the baby won’t nap. Those days, I hate everyone)
But I also know that there are people in this world who prey on children and use the shame that comes with sexual abuse to their advantage. People who use the fear and the embarrassment as a breeding ground for broken trust and physical, mental, and emotional pain.
That is not okay.
So, today I am finishing my story. And I will talk about it and be a normal human being, and maybe be a light for someone who thinks that there is no way out.
Maybe a year or so ago, I did an update on my story where I shared that my dad had been released from prison. I was a little afraid, but confident that his release wouldn’t really affect me.
Unfortunately, I think my failure to ever actually THINK about living in a world where my dad was free backfired.
It’s hard to draw a line between denial and moving on. I usually lean more on the denial side I think, only because I do not want to be that person. That person whose whole identity is wrapped up in THE THING THAT HAPPENED to the point that I don’t move forward. So I push things aside and I move forward and I decide I’ll deal with it later.
For months after my dad was released, I was in constant fear. I was not sleeping (being pregnant/having a new baby didn’t help matters), imagining all kinds of scenarios where my dad showed up and hurt me or my kids.
How do you know what 17 years in prison does to a person? Does it make them remorseful, or feel like they have nothing to lose? I’d sit up and think about that constantly.
Every noise made me jump. I was checking for random cars on my street. Honestly…I felt like I was losing a little bit of my mind. It had never occurred to me that him being free, even though he was far away, would have such an impact.
Then this Summer, when I had reached a point where my fear was almost unbearable, I found out that he had died of a heart attack months earlier.
I still have not really figured out how I feel about that.
Relieved? I am, but it took a couple of months to get to that point. But know one thing — I trust and believe that whatever ways my dad failed me, God IS my heavenly father, and he made sure I found out right when I could not longer stand the fear I was living in.
I truly believe that.
Sad? Yes. But just at the situation. I am sad that he wasted his life the way that he did and died a broken man with nothing. I am sad for myself, who has never known a dad who would love me in a wholesome, unselfish, unconditional way.
I am NOT sad that I lost him. I did not love him and had no mixed feelings as far as his relationship with me was concerned. I harbored no hatred or wishes for revenge though — let me make that clear. Hate and vengeful thoughts have a way of creeping into your soul and blackening everything. I cannot be the kind of mother and wife I need to be and carry that around. Just not possible.
I think the main issue in this situation was closure. But I had long ago given up any hope of getting closure from him. When a person hurts you like he did me, the biggest mistake you can make is depending on them for ANY sort of emotional needs. Including closure. When he hurt me and broke my trust, I freed him of any obligations concerning my well being.
And considering the way things transpired, I am glad that I did.
I have accepted the fact that I will probably never know why he did what he did. He will never apologize to me and mean it. I will never ever know what he was thinking when he took his last breaths.
It’s hard to make peace with that. Really, really hard.
But I also know that God is blessing my journey, even if it doesn’t sound like it when you hear the facts.
I have so MUCH to be thankful for, and just the fact that I can recognize my blessings and love my kids says so much about what God wants for me. I know more pain than some people will ever know, but because of that, I recognize SO much beauty in ordinary things.
Things do not always wrap up neatly with a bow. We don’t always get what we deserve. Sometimes bad things happen that can never truly be made right.
Life is most definitely NOT like the movies.
We can get angry. I could ask, “GOD, WHY DID YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?? I never did ANYTHING to deserve this”.
But I will not.
INSTEAD, I will say, “Thank you. Thank you, for giving me the strength to get out. For holding my hand when I thought all hope was lost. For helping me to deal with this with grace and mercy. For letting me look at my dad with sympathy and not hate. And for giving me such an abundance of gifts, that I am too busy enjoying them to look back”.
Thank all of YOU for reading and emailing and always being kind and encouraging. So many of you have given me the gift of your stories and your pain and your words of encouragement. That is something that I can never treasure enough.
I truly hope you have a WONDERFUL day!!!