I received a letter in the mail from my uncle notifying me that my father had passed away. I think he was about eighty. My uncle knew that I was estranged from my father, but I have no idea what my father told him the reason was. Included in the envelope was the prayer card. It had a poem on the back that spoke of my father as someone who was kind and wanted to leave the world a better place. Ironic. Later, I received a copy of the will which stated that nothing would be left for his daughters. I wrote back to my uncle thanking him for taking the trouble to find me. I also wrote that I’d been unable to deal with my parent’s denial of the abuse and had ceased to have contact with them do to that. How do I feel? I wish he were still alive and suffering somehow. I hope there is a hell for him and my mother. I don’t want them to be at peace when I still struggle to live a life marred by their sexual abuse. My anger has dissipated over the years; it is not red hot any longer. I no longer grit my teeth about what was done to me. I no longer want vengeance but I long for justice. On the positive side I feel that some evil has left the planet. His name was Frank Joseph Kinney. He was a monster. My sister passed away suddenly last fall and so will not know that he left her nothing in the will despite her continued contact with him. She could not bring herself to believe my allegations of abuse. I finally understood and accepted her reluctance to lose her good father figure and we became close again. I miss her and wish she was still alive but I am at the same time relieved that she didn’t have to go through the pain of finding herself left out of his will. His last dastardly deed left no victim. But, I go on and have found much healing through therapists and medications handle the worst of my PTSD symptoms. My life has been hard but still worth living. I wonder sometimes what I would have been like if I had not been sexually abused. Sigh. I am broken in so many places but there is strength in places too. And, so I go on.
Brave are my sisters and brothers who have endured sexual abuse in their childhood and rise each morning determined to live their best life. Brave are we who suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to love us and protect us. Brave are those whose trust was abused and used against them. Brave are those that struggle to not merely survive but thrive. Brave are those that speak the truth and dispel the ignorance surrounding childhood sexual abuse. Remember you are brave when the bad days seem to outnumber the good ones. Remember you are brave when you love despite the greatest of odds. May today be one where your spirit flies in the face of all that burdens you, haunts you, and nearly destroyed you. And if today is a difficult day, where hope seems far away, be gentle with yourself and remember that a better day is on its way. And always remember. you are brave.