My mother always demonstrated grace and love. She lived a tragic life, but she survived. I often asked her to write her life’s story, but she kept avoiding the subject. Finally at age seventy-three, a counselor in a nursing home convinced her. She approached my brother and me and told us she had something to tell us before she could write any more of the book.
The following is the part of her story that helped me understand her deep depression. Her trauma affected her, but it also affected me and my family. I don’t want the tragedy that affected me to affect another generation. I hope this story will help you in your own healing. If memories of sexual abuse plague you, tell a counselor and get help.
My Mom’s Story
We went to church every time the doors were open. I led the singing. I did have a pretty soprano voice and enjoyed the services. There was church on Saturday night and Sunday and training courses on Sunday night and prayer meeting Wednesday night. My daddy was a deacon in the church and everyone, including me, thought he could do no wrong.
When I was twelve years old, Daddy started sexual abuse. I cried and begged him not to, but he said it was alright. It was what Daddies and daughters did. I never liked it. When I was fourteen years old a friend guessed what was going on and told me it was what daddies and mothers did. I didn’t believe her at first. My daddy wouldn’t do anything wrong, but she finally convinced me. I felt hate for him in place of love, pure rage, but I never let on. I acted like I loved him in front of people. I didn’t want mother to know. He was a sick man.
If I refused him, he was grouchy and mean to mother and me and kicked the dogs and slammed the cats up against the wall for nothing. I couldn’t stand for him to be mean to mother and animals, so I never told anyone until recently. I knew no one would believe me. Mother and I were both afraid of him in his bad times. I think she knew, but was afraid to say anything. She was a gentle woman. He never hit us, but we never knew if he would. Once Daddy spanked me because he accused me of doing something I didn’t do. He wouldn’t believe me and said the spanking was for telling a lie. Boy, what a whopper he told and never got punished for it.
I graduated from high school just a few days before I was seventeen and wanted to go to nursing school the worst way. Daddy said he would not pay for my tuition nor would he let me go to town to get a job. My precious mother was a wonderful seamstress, so she took in sewing and made enough money to pay my tuition and buy my uniforms. God bless her. The sexual abuse went on until I was eighteen years old and left home for nurses’ training.
I know the Lord’s prayer says to forgive those that trespass against you, but I can’t forgive Daddy for what he did to me with his sexual abuse. Every time I think about it I shake inside like a bowl of jelly. I’ve prayed to be able to forgive him, but I can’t. I don’t have it in me, because every time I think of it I feel rage, not forgiveness. During the last sixty years I have been in some stage of depression and I blame this awful feeling on him.
I don’t know if my mother ever forgave my grandfather. Forgiveness may be the hardest thing you ever do, but it will give you freedom and peace you may never have thought possible. If you want to forgive but can’t seem to do it, pray. Tell Jesus you want to forgive and be free, but you can’t do it by yourself. Ask Him to take the anger from you and tell Him you give it to Him freely. Then thank Him. You may have to do it over and over as you remember things that have made you angry.
How has abuse impacted your life? Do you have a forgiveness story?
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