Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Dream that Changed my Forever

The blanket Mom made for my baby

Nine years old and broken...

like Thumbelina, my favorite baby doll. I pulled her string and she barely moved. I held her close to calm her fears, but nothing I did could make her awaken to my love. I swaddled her in the baby blanket my mom had sewn for her, and pulled her close. And I sang...

Rock-a-bye, baby,
On the tree top.
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks
The cradle will fall.
And down will come baby,
Cradle and all. 

I thought about the falling cradle, and pulled her closer to my heart. Broken and raggedy, still I loved her. Gentle, I swept her unkept strawberry blonde hair to the side. 

I'll never let you fall. 

Fear-filled every night...

blankets pulled clear up to my chin. Eyes closed. Frozen. I thought if I didn't move when he touched me, he would leave me to sleep, and sweep strawberry blonde hair gentle off my face. Maybe he would swaddle me gentle and tender. Maybe he would sing over me.

But his touch was of a wholly different kind. And pain joined my fear many times over. 

I wanted to die...

and every night, I thought about how I could just stop breathing. Vague memories of Dad telling me that Grandma had died and gone to Heaven taunted me with the possibility of escape. I pulled Thumbelina closer, and tucked her baby blanket tight under her chin. 

One night...

as I slept sound, I woke, not with a start, not abrupt and fearful, but serene. My body, mind, and spirit wrapped in tranquil warmth. Familiar surroundings eluded me as I was in an altogether different place.

Even now, I'm asking for God's words to flow a near close description of this place. I can only say that my presence there was something other than life here. Certainly other from life I knew as a deeply wounded, frightened child.

Fervent Love, radiant Light, peace-FILLED Presence. No fear, no pain. I belonged. His Presence was pure white, brilliant Light all around Him, through Him, from Him. The details of His face were veiled in Holy resplendence. Yet, even that was right.

I was loved. Truly. Completely. Eternally. 


When He spoke, His words didn't come audibly to my ears. They came as a whisper to my heart. 

You have to go back. It is not time. 

I responded not with words, but as He had spoken to me. My heart was begging. 

Please let me stay. I don't want to go back. I want to stay here with You.

His encompassing Presence didn't waver, but His Heart came to me again. 

I'm not finished with you yet. You have work to do. 

Again, my heart beseeched Him. 

Please, I want to stay. 

I woke in my bed...

and still the peace of His Presence lingered. I met the One Who loves me Eternal. Though I didn't yet know His Name, I spoke to Him each night until sleep finally came. I didn't hear any whispers to my heart as before, yet I knew He was with me. Somehow. 

Please help me sleep. Please help me not be afraid. Please.

Over and over again, I uttered these words in my mind. And when my grandpa came to hurt me, I somehow (a miracle, I'll never understand) found solace in silent conversations with this One who made His glorious presence known. Somehow, there was a sliver of safety there. I can't explain it. The physical agony, the emotional suffering, the shattered spirit of me, a raggedy, abused little girl had the tiniest of seeds planted into her being by the One Who loved her true. Through six years of torment, this hidden seed was my life preserver. I clung tight when I thought I would break. I felt its grip tight around me when I was sure to perish. 

Sharing the sacred...

here in this place for anyone to see is hard. There are those, I'm sure, who will find my words difficult to believe. I don't know why He chose to make Himself known to me in this manner, and have only voiced this sacred encounter with a select few trusted friends and family members. My intention was to keep this experience sheltered inside, guarded from the reproach of anyone who might tell me I foolishly misinterpreted a childish dream. 

But now, I am compelled to tell. And I'm willing to risk the consequence of naysayers. This is my story, and I'm sharing the sacred with my truest voice. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Father, Daughter Dance

Daddy will be here...

I know he will be. 

"You look so pretty, Share." She finished the ponytail with a slight pull and turned me toward the mirror. "You're all ready now." 

I know he'll come. He has too! 

"This dress looks so pretty on you. You're grandpa is going to love it too. Wait until you see him. He's all dressed up for your special night." 

But Daddy's taking me to the dance. He'll be here. He'll knock at the door in a few minutes, just in time. 

"Wait here a minute now. I'll tell you when to come out." She said. I waited for the knock at the front door when she stepped out. I leaned close to the door so I wouldn't miss it. "Come on out, Sharen!" 

Just because I didn't hear the front door open, doesn't mean he's not here. 

Eyes to my feet, I walked slow into the living room. "You're going to be the most beautiful girl at the dance tonight," he said. 

It's not Daddy's voice. It's his. 

"Shall we?" He reached for my hand, and I did the only thing I knew I could do. I put my hand in his, and he walked me to the car. 

"Have fun tonight!" I heard my mom's voice behind me, though barely. Her words pushed  through the reverberation of my silent cry. 

And so it went every year...

I finally gave up on the dream of Daddy showing up for Father, Daughter Dances, and accepted my grandpa as his substitute. At least he couldn't hurt me while we were at school. We were simply a normal grandfather and his granddaughter. Only not.

(As an aside... I would share a picture of my grandpa and me, but during my healing years, as an act of setting healthy boundaries, I got rid of every single photo of him. I'll share this story soon)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Peek into the Nearer Present

As I tell this story...

a glimpse of spring appears, and touches of ruby-tipped cocoons emerge upon newly hatched ruddy leaves. Petals wrapped safe in blankets of green test the slightest glow of the sun and begin their dance of unfolding. Each fragile layer emerges, one after the other, until the rose opens radiant. 

And so it is as I reveal my story. The beginning... the only place to ever start any telling. 

Yet, I'm reminded, today is decades beyond, and I must interrupt the flow of telling to allow you a glimpse of the here and now. 

Because a few have expressed concern that I haven't healed, that only now the wounds of childhood abuse were opening, I must, for this post, defer to nearer present years, to tell a story of restoration. 


It's true. She didn't believe me the first time I told her about the touching. And it's true, she dismissed my experience as a figment of my imagination. She did nothing to protect me. Instead, she turned away from her little girl (from me), refusing to hear the ugly truth of her daughter's pain. 

Until many years later. 

I was 29 years old, married, with three children of my own. My oldest, a daughter, had turned eight. Her smile, her infectious giggles... her precious innocence. How could anyone be so cruel as to take that away? My little girl's age triggered the raggedy girl inside of me. 

This confrontation happened months into my healing journey...

"Mom, I have share something with you. You didn't believe me the first time, and you may choose to not believe me again. The choice is yours. But I need to tell you now because I'm doing the work of healing in my life. I've already confronted Grandpa, and he is aware that I am telling you." The words spilled out without pause. Stopping their flow, however brief, could have halted the momentum. She had to know. And I had to tell...

...again. Will she believe me this time? 

"I remember. I'm so sorry. I remember." Her voice raspy through tears. 

She remembers.

Her words, though far too late to change the damage already inflicted through six years of sexual abuse, ushered in an emotional balm of sorts. 

She believes me...

And our relationship healed in time, as I did. Our bond was unbreakable until cancer took her from Earth into Eternity. 

Mom... Do you promise you'll be there when it's my turn? 

I promise. 

She promised. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Safe to Cry Here

Moving between a fresh manuscript and this blog post...

I'm desperately trying to tell my story plain here, to speak in my truest voice. And I will. Yet even now, shame approaches, unwelcome, unbidden. It is expected. Embarrassment swells, slow and painful. Senses heighten, warning me to stop the telling. 

"Please stop!" I hear her innocent voice pleading within. "Don't tell them! Please!" 

I know why the telling is challenged. Her story allows other true voices to speak. And so once again, I sweep the little one, this broken, weeping, raggedy girl into my arms. I brush tears away as they fall, hers and mine. I hold her close. And together we tell. 

But first...

This is why her story, my story, was locked in a secret place for so long. Too long. Trembling with fear, my first attempt to tell left me crushed and hopeless. I remember the voice of disbelief. I remember the reprimand. 

"Mommy, how come Grandpa hurts me every night?" I searched for her response, waiting for ... something. I watched her wet a washcloth to wipe the cold cream off of her face. She paused for the briefest moment and then...


Did she hear me? 

So I added to my confession. "He touches me here." I pointed to my chest. "And here." I lowered my tiny hand to further portray my grandfather's offense. I gazed from my small hand into my mother's eyes. Tears welled, I felt them there, full and ready to flood. My posture moved slight to ready for her embrace sure to come. 

How I needed that embrace. I needed her to hold me and tell me everything would be okay. I won't let him touch you ever again, the words I heard in my young, innocent heart. Words sure to come. 

She'll protect me now. I'm safe.

Only she didn't. 

Fury shown in her blue eyes. And the tears in my own vanished as I faced an unfamiliar rage. I backed away, and turned to wipe any remnant of moisture away. Quickly now, before she sees.

"Look at me!" I turned to face a mother I did not expect, one I did not know. An introduction to one I trusted, yet no longer. No more. "You're imagining things! Never, NEVER say anything like that again!" 

I never mentioned it again.

Not for a very long time. 

If only I could have told her then...

yet I'm telling this innocent child within (as I've told her over the past years). You were all kinds of brave to speak true. The bravest little girl I've ever met. So, I hold her once again, comforting the secret pain of the revealing. I brush away tears that never fell. She is safe to cry here. 

You are safe here, little one.