My son likely lived about twenty minutes.
I delivered him when I was sixteen, at thirty-three weeks gestation, on March 23, 1991, into the hands of insane, sadistic criminals. Think Nazis - except make Hitler my father and Joseph Mengele his friends.
After that, I proceeded to lose what little hold I still had on reality. I lost my mind.
It is difficult to be poetic about the loss of a child: I think Eric Clapton has done it best.
The moment my son, who could have been my father's or my boyfriend's child, was murdered, my soul slipped outside of my body and never fully returned. In fact, I am still trying to return on a daily basis. Some days are better than others.
More accurately, I am trying to stay in my body now. At least now, I even know there is a body which is my own. At least now, I know what the concept 'now' is. Finally, I am taking steps in my life as a sovereign being.
The challenge is the millions of tiny triggers which happen throughout my day; they can bring up a snippet of benign memory which was lost to me, or can send me into a full-blown seizure as my mind and body race to synthesize the complex neuropsychological damage it needs to release. During the latter, it feels as if I am reliving the initial horror all over again. All the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations associated with the memory interrupt my daily living, shoving aside anything which is happening in the present so the past can break through. It is tedious but necessary - a difficult path to healing.
Life is heavy right now. And, yet, I still make room for joy. I must.
It's amazing the things we take for granted as human beings. You have probably grown up with a clear understanding of time, that your body is your own, and hopefully, some sense of who you are. That magical essence which makes you unique from others. For me, that was chipped away at, little by little, as savage predators tore away at my psyche, my body, and my spirit, each time they abused either me or someone innocent who I could not protect. My psychoemotional makeup was fractured into bits to insulate me from what was happening so I could live through it. However, me, the real me, was always there, although caged, hiding and waiting. Waiting for the opportunity to crawl back out and wholly live.
When the abuse started, I was so young my brain began to delegate what I could manage into conscious and subconscious memory. The reality I lived on a daily basis did not include the abuse I was enduring. I ate, slept, drank, pooped, showered - just like you did. But, when something traumatic happened, my brain shielded me by wrapping up the traumatic memory with an energy like a warm blanket, and stored it for later, a time when it would be safe to unfold the chaos and bring it back out into the light.
In the light, my horrors have been reduced to moments of evil; times when another person's unconsciousness overrode my ability to be fully human. As I reclaim each inch, I find my humanity was never taken, just lost to me for a time. When I walk through each memory, little by little, I can shine some more. It is the best revenge I could ever hope for.
The journey has been to unearth my truth, the dirt of my past, taking it from its grave and placing it properly back into the past where it belongs - behind me. It is like assembling a quilt of consciousness by interweaving the memories into the loom of my being - thread by thread, pattern by pattern, theme by theme - until it resembles a whole person. I am still in the middle stages of that process, but I like what I see, and I am thankful my soul is full of gentleness and compassion for what I endured. That is something I can add to our collective awareness because I give it to myself - a silver lining.
Yesterday, my second therapist choked up in front of me. She began discussing how strong my soul is to show up day after day, chipping away at the weighty baggage I drag around, aware I could sink into an abyss of depression or addiction or worse if I didn't. She told me she was awestruck by that kind of courage. I know she was telling her truth.
I didn't know what to say. Most days it is a struggle just to stay present; be a mother, wife, and friend. I don't usually think much beyond that - beyond each tiny bit of self-geography I reclaim. Her words helped me feel seen; known for the hundreds of minute challenges I face daily that are not noticeable to the naked eye. It was a recognition I needed to hear, and more importantly know.
Twenty years ago, I lost my son to murder at the hands of my father and the sadistic cult he was a member of while my mother and brother turned their backs.
I can not get my son back.
I will miss him for the rest of my life.
The best gift I know to give him is to heal in spite of how hard it is. I hope this will make him smile.
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