It's such a simple thing, but very significant. My sister planted the garden for Mother, for Mother's Day some years ago. My other sisters and I donated some of the plants. so it was a gift from all of us, though the sister who lived nearby planted and tended the garden.
Mother passed away on July 26th, 2013, and the garden has not been touched since. Perhaps it has been too painful. Perhaps there is just too much to do. Perhaps, at least in my case, I have been trying to break my attachment to this house I have lived in for 10 years with my Mother, so that I may move out and move on.
The act of pulling weeds marks the beginning of my attempt to remove the weeds from my own life that hide the beauty. I intend to create the life I want, rather than remain in the life my past has created. There may be pain in remembrance, but there is also beauty to be cared for. There is life to be lived.
A Child Wronged
Growing up, I knew something was Wrong. That gut feeling was pushed deep inside, but I knew that my father was not supposed to be dong to me the things he was doing. It would be many years before I could try to argue against it to make him stop, which didn't work anyway, but well before I had the words, I had the feeling.
I have huge gaps in my childhood memories. Many people, places and things simply aren't available for me to recall.
I don't remember ever doing any homework, though my mother insisted I did. I accused her of doing it, thinking she was just trying to keep me from getting in trouble at school and embarrassing her. Only after my diagnosis as an adult did I understand that my brain was keeping those memories hidden from me.
I don't remember doing essays for scholarships. I don't remember the "beauty pageants" in which I participated in - though I have photographic evidence.
I do remember being forced to watch pornographic movies on the reel-to-reel projector, while my father touched either me, himself, or both, or while he directed me to touch myself.
I do remember the pictures he took, because "he deserved to know what a developing girl looked like" since he was my father.
I do remember the hiding place in the house where he placed magazines, and vibrators, and other things for "our" use.
I do remember when I figured out that I could make up stories about what I had done with boys and that would satisfy him enough that he would not touch me. At least, not that time.
I do remember "romantic nights on the beach" in the Virgin Islands (ironic name) while mother, on this family vacation, was out shopping or was reading in the cottage.
I do remember so much more.
A Mother Blinded
Mom didn't know.
For a long time, I couldn't understand how she couldn't know. Father left a vibrator box on the table once, and somehow explained it away when she found it. The doctor told her I had developed an STD because she washed me with a washcloth she had used - since she had the STD as well. Father had given it to us both, from some woman around town he had been with.
But now I realize that she couldn't know. Her brain wouldn't let her know. She was also being abused sexually and emotionally. Sex, to her, was to be tolerated and she hated sex and her body. Father told me that because she would not be the proper wife, I had to step up to the job.
Father controlled her financially, emotionally, sexually, and socially. I think she got away with being so involved in my schooling only because it kept me happy, and he needed that in order to keep doing what he was doing. I think she was escaping as much as I was.
Who wants to believe their husband, father of their four children, could possibly be doing something heinous to their youngest? Incest wasn't talked about in her day, and only when I was 18 was I able to expose his secret, to the family. (Please, please read this page to explain how this can happen.)
Nobody had known.
I am only telling my story this publically now, because Mom has passed away. She had made me promise to keep the secret from her family, and from people in our hometown. She hated herself that she didn't protect me, and she didn't want everyone else to hate her as well. She didn't want anyone to ask her that dreaded question - how could you not know?
I have been in therapy off and on over the years, and I have long known I carry a diagnosis of some sort of Major Depression. I have also been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But only upon being diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder in 2007 have I had any success with therapy.
Now I understand the memory gaps and the strange "moody" behavior that has plagued me all my life. I understand why I'm still having trouble finding safety and security. I understand why I made the choices I've made which have led me to today. I understand why I'm still having difficulty doing any more than trying to survive.
No More Secrets
I understand how my family may have difficulty with my disclosure. I also understand that it is vital for my healing to eliminate the remaining secret-keeping about this abuse.
"Any secret-keeping is a perpetuation of the dynamic that contributes to sexual abuse." - MOSACI choose to work to be free of my father's abuse from this point onward. I choose to continue my therapy so that I can make better choices and improve my life. I choose to be open about what I endured, so that I can continue to heal, and so that others may find healing in my story.
Today, I Weeded Mother's Garden
And it was Good.