We often hope and pray that others still trapped in the cycles of abuse, betrayal, shame and dissociation will choose truth and begin the long journey into freedom, but the reality is many do not. Living in darkness has a cost, both temporal and eternal.
This post contains a letter from one survivor to her Dad. At the time she wrote this the man she grew up with was lying on his death bed in his early 60s, his mind devoured by a decade of Alzheimer's Disease. It is likely his mind broke down under the pressure of maintaining dissociation for his entire life. He was one of her primary abusers, but she believes he is a Christian. This is her way of saying goodbye.
You are dying. You can no longer walk and I imagine you are older and grayer than what nature could manage on her own. I imagine cervices of vacant skin forming where fat and sinew have been overtaken by wasting. I imagine your soul is not so different than your face, riddled with the death of years spent in the flame of contempt. Is your heart so far removed that my words could not find a resting place? Did my forgiveness fall out of earshot? Or perhaps you didn’t want to hear. Well, now you can do nothing but hear for your mouth is locked shut until heaven enfolds you. No more violence will come from your hands nor passion from your loins; you are dead as you live.
I am angry, but not for what you’ve done to me. I am angry but not for what you should have done for me but didn’t. I am angry because of what you could have had if you had only let the light in. Why were you a coward? Did you not fear God? No, I dare say, you did not, but you could have. You could have trembled and repented at the foot of the cross and let go of your burden, the very burden that crippled your mind and sent you to an early grave. You could have instead received the cleansing water of life and we could be walking together in His Light, for His Light alone brings fellowship where the bowels of hell have unleashed their divisive power. We could have been a testimony of His unfathomable grace. But you take your secret to your grave and I am left to face life in the aftermath of your lust poured out upon my tender heart.
Why? Why this road? Did you see no other? Did you scoff at the ignominy of the truth and count the cost as unworthy? Was it worth it? You hurt me. Every day you hurt me as you twisted my mind and crushed my heart with your sadistic and lavish expenditure of my innocence to satiate your hunger. All the hurt of the violence and sex doesn’t compare to this last piercing act. You leave this world in the cold silence of denial and hope the blame falls upon me.
But this time…I won’t take it.
This time…I say no.
This time I let the pain of your choices rest with you. I could wish that you would find peace in these last days that you spend imprisoned in your frail frame. I can’t bear the thought of the torment you may be enduring, but I never could save you. All my scheming and cover-ups and little girl hopes never could blot out the stain of your touch.
I cannot walk towards you for the darkness forbids me. So I wave goodbye from here. I will see you on the other side once He has washed away every tear and the stench of regret. Thank you for teaching me the brevity of life and the weight of my choices. Each step, each movement of the will penetrates the veil of time and bleeds into eternity. By God’s grace I choose a different way. I know you loved me, but you loved yourself first. I desire and intend to seek to love God first so perhaps He can write my story differently.
And when my time comes and there is a gathering to send me home perhaps there will be smiles and not tears, anticipation and not agony, blessing and not shame, glory and not despair. And perhaps you will be there to welcome me home…a home that we can both share and for the first time I will still be safe.
I love you. I always have and always will. I forgive you. Goodbye.