*content warning – DV*
She was always a little off the rails, rebellious, and not at all like her older brother. Her father was a functioning alcoholic for a while yet thankfully her mother fought for their marriage and won. At 16 she met the bad boy in town, a dangerous mix of notorious and charming but handy with his fists. He’d lost his father when he was young, raised by his mother who struggled with all those wayward brothers. She should’ve paid attention when her own father pinned this teenager down in the dining room after he’d seen the first bruise. At 17 she became pregnant, an accident. At 18 she was a mother to a red headed baby girl, followed by a curly haired strawberry blonde boy when she was 22.
Council flat, drug money, making ends meet. He spent time growing, dealing, selling, smoking, late nights with friends playing guitar along to Pink Floyd, full days spent stoned in bed. Holes punched in walls, tables through windows and that time he nearly killed the dog as they all wept on the upstairs landing listening. The kids did well at school though, despite what they saw, they heard, they felt, they hid. No need to get away, or take them away. No need to talk it through.
Then respite, the house raid and the prison sentence ending the eggshells…for a while. New love brought new hope and an impetus to leave. Then he came home and it was time to flee. She should’ve done it years ago but didn’t, or couldn’t. The children’s bedroom furniture dumped on her parent’s lawn in revenge confirmed her belated choice. She divorced with a lifetime restraining order and set up a new home, new partner, new baby. And then he found it and turned up with the knife. And still, silence, avoidance, shame.
Years later, after the time of courts, custody and threats, she saw her children grow. Strive forward and forge their own paths, her daughter particularly determined. Her son struggled with anger for a while, her daughter somewhat out of reach. She was too busy avoiding the struggles of the third. Grandchildren came along and she stayed back, letting them all get on with it. A card here, a text there. They seem happy so they must be fine.
The red haired baby girl is me.
Someday…the trauma will leave me. I’ll not cry or shake when I write or talk about it all. I won’t feel the adrenaline of fight or flight. I won’t be hypervigilant. I won’t get emotionally triggered or have flashbacks. I’ll be carefree and lighthearted, I’ll feel free.
Someday. Someday…we’ll talk. I’ll be brave enough to breach the ever widening gap and fear of inflicting further hurt and talk to my mum about all of this and all the rest. Fill in the gaps of her life and tell her the story of me. Someday we’ll connect like we’ve never before.
Someday…I’ll know how to forgive. How to forgive him for the years of damage and chaos he wreaked. How to forgive her for her absence, her non involvement and her head in the sand. In my life as a child, as an adult, as a mother. In the lives of my children.
Someday…I’ll learn to accept. Accept who I am with this background of mine. Accept how it affected me, changed me, hurt me, shaped me. Accept that people didn’t know better and sometimes still don’t. Accept she was compromised and probably did her best.
Someday…I’ll understand why. Why no-one intervened. Why she couldn’t leave. Why it was never spoken of then, or now. Maybe I’ll understand then.
Someday…I’ll heal myself. I’ll not need trauma therapy, and I won’t fight so hard to be ok at times. I’ll not feel so lost and alone. I’ll shed my protection and embrace trust. I won’t have friends telling me that I seem fine, they just don’t see the tears, the effort, the pain. I’ll be assured and secure. I’ll know my worth and I’ll love all of myself.
Someday…I’ll find my peace. I’ll be able to focus on us and him, as he has focused on me. I won’t be so consumed by juggling the demands of motherhood, my career and maintaining my wellbeing whilst keeping the plates spinning so I don’t drop then smash them all. I know the time will come when they’ll grow and leave, and until then I’ll aim to be the happiest and healthiest mummy I can. One day I’ll have time to be just me. I’ll be all his as he will be all mine. And I will continue to love and know only love as I see the sun through the clouds once more.
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