Normal Looks Easy
After the death of my grandfather, life is a semi-focused blur. I see snippets, as most do. Time spent with aunts, cousins, and friends who became family through the years. I felt safe in their loving care, and that is something I have never forgotten.
I see myself looking around and knowing that other kids lived in routine and comfort that I don’t recall. I found peace when school began. I went by bus, car, and walked to different schools throughout Colorado. The best years were elementary school. We lived in one house for a few years. We rode bikes with kids on the block, had sleep outs, swam, roller skated, and did all the things normal kids did.
While I hid the terrorizing truth of my nights, the days were in bliss. I never had many friends, as I slowly grew fearful of people, but I wasn’t a recluse. Schoolwork and activities were the highlights of my younger years. With a competitive spirit and determination to do well, I achieved personal satisfaction with who I was.
No One Knew
Unfortunately, every night became a haunted nightmare, and to survive, I closed my eyes and flew away. With my baby sister in the bunk bed below me, I endured the torture, hopeful he would leave her alone. I would shed a tear in the darkness and whisper in my mind, “don’t move… don’t move..don’t wake up…don’t see..”
The years passed slowly. By day I was a thriving little girl, by night, a fearful, abused child. Before I reached junior high school, I disappeared. The pain overcame my innocence, as it does so many other abused children. I grew up and saw the world for what it was- an evil dungeon. I thought more about death than I did about life. My mind entered a dark place; it never really packed up and left.
While my thoughts worked one way, my heart moved in another. What made a young girl stay pure and tender? How do children who experience the worst of humanity remain kind and loving?
I saw love around me—true heroism in the small smiles, hugs, and kindness of others. While evil beat me down, some cared for my broken soul. I longed to disappear, to release to the arms of my lost grandfather. The tears that poured out of me as waterfalls have since dried up; I used every drop to survive the childhood I would live a lifetime fighting to escape.
I always wondered if anyone around me knew. Did someone look in my eyes and see the terror behind them? If so, they never said a thing. With each passing day, week, month, and year, I grew weary. The longer I remained the prisoner, the more distant and inaccessible I became. What you saw and who I was were different things. My smile was always for those on the outside while I suffered alone on the inside. Hindered by the overwhelming pain of another’s sin, I left much of myself behind to become the person who could withstand and continue.