Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Days Like These

Most of you know this has been a very rough month for me.

I made some advances in therapy, being able to give voice to the events of that violent day, something I thought I would never be able to do. And that was good. Unfortunately, at some point it became too much, causing an overload of triggers. Too many details I really didn’t want to remember. It was very frightening so I had to stop.

Switched gears to focus more on the guilt that I carry, which led me to write a letter to Daphne’s parents, asking for forgiveness, among other things. Received a letter back from her mother with an acknowledgment of our relationship.  It was not an unkind note.  But no forgiveness.  Most importantly it gave me information on where she was buried.

Went to the cemetery which was brutal. I really don’t have words for it. I was utterly unprepared to see her headstone. It sucked everything out of me. Having never had closure it was almost too much to see the ending, so cold, so final.

And today was the anniversary of that day. It was particularly painful this year. Listening to Billie Holiday records. Her records. The only thing I have left of her.  In many ways I am going through the mourning process all over again.  I hope this time the wound will heal better.

I have been brought to my knees more than once this month. I have wept harder this month than I thought humanly possible.  But there is always something that picks me back up - the knowledge of all the angels in my life who keep me afloat in one way or another.

I thank all of you who let me know that you were with me through the month and particularly today. It is so incredibly comforting to me to know that although I am still dealing with the trauma of violence and the loss of a great love, I still have an awful lot of love and caring that surrounds me. 

It is because of you that I can make peace with days like these.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Response

Today I received a simple, handwritten note, signed by Daphne’s mother.

Two sentences.

And the name of a cemetery.

I need to rethink everything I thought I knew.

My head is spinning.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Updating the Kids

By request

Beanie is absolutely loving college life. She declined the crew team (sending Martha into a tailspin) but has redeemed herself by joining club basketball and field hockey. And has gotten a paying job to ref basketball games. She is running for freshman class vice president - not because she has any love of government but because the guy running for president is hot. Yeah, some things never change. Since she took a ton of college level courses in High School, she has been able to jump right into her major courses, psychology and criminal justice, which she is loving. Philosophy not so much. She likes her roommate but says she’s a slob. Which, if you ever saw Beanie’s room here, you realize must be pretty bad.

Peachie is in her senior year. She was elected captain of her field hockey team which is great because she has long lived in the shadow of her sister’s athletic career and its nice for her to shine a little on her own. She loves all her teachers this year which is a refreshing change. She has decided she does not want a boyfriend, but has remained very good friends with her ex. In fact, since where he is going to college is actually closer to us than where he used to live, they are actually seeing more of each other than when they were together. She says he is her best friend. That works for me. She has befriended an exchange student from Germany who we are getting to know. His one observation of America - “the portions are so large”. Yep. She has lost her waitressing job when the restaurant was recently seized for back taxes and is really bummed because she had close to $300 still owned to her. So she is out seeking new employment and beginning the college application process. And while she is missing her sister, she is also loving being an only child.

This weekend Peachie is going to visit Beanie at college. At first, she was going to take the train, but since I have been in such a funk, I thought it would be therapeutic to drive her down and all go out for a nice family dinner. And then, I am told, Martha and I are to leave immediately because they have plans. Beanie has already told me that she has told all the guys how hot her little sister is. And I am now personally delivering my littlest lamb to the college wolves. What kind of mother does this?

So this weekend Martha and I have the house to ourselves. No kids. No friends of kids. This is what it will be like next year, every single day. We’ll have to start getting used it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


This week is a high holy week in Judaism, set aside for atonement. And although I am not Jewish, I have long been exposed to and invited to participate in many of the traditions and celebrations of the faith. Unlike the Christian belief that when you sin against someone, you can just ask forgiveness from a priest or god, the Jewish belief states that first you need to go and ask forgiveness from the person you have hurt and make it right. This makes much more sense to me.

I began to practice this ritual many years ago. I have found it to be very humbling and very cleansing. And I have been very blessed that all the people (and there have been many) to whom I have spoken and asked forgiveness have always been extremely gracious and forgiving. Except, ironically, three leaders from my former church who chose to not even acknowledge my apologies. (Christian hypocrisy noted)

This month is a hard one for me, the anniversary of a violent attack that changed my life forever, and now, finally, doing some serious work in therapy to come to grips with it all. One of the biggest things I believe prevents me from having closure is that I don’t know the ending of the story. Because her parents would not allow me to see her, nor would they speak to me, I don’t know if, or where, Daphne was buried. I do not the exact date of her death. Or even how she died. There was no saying goodbye. There was no saying “I’m sorry”. Just a huge gaping wound that continues to bleed.

I have often fantasized about calling her parents hoping that, after all these years, they might give me some closure. Numerous times I have look them up, written down the phone number, but I have never been able to find the courage to call.

And then, on Rosh Hashanah, after considering all those other apologies I wanted to make ths week, it came to me. I was unable to apologize to Daphne but I could, should apologize to her parents. And as soon as I thought of it, the need to do it became overwhelming. For the last three days I have working on this letter. It has been agonizing. Every word. Every memory. The guilt. The staggering guilt. I have poured my whole heart into this letter.

Now that it is written, I am hesitant to send it.. I am wrestling with knowing that this apology is not pure. That I do have another motive, that of wanting some information back. And I don’t know how I’ll handle it if I get no response at all.

The thought of that seems unbearable.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


As some of you who have followed my journey through therapy are aware, the main goal of my therapy has been to be able to express the details of the sexual attack that entombed me in trauma and guilt and eventually took the life of my partner. Having buried the attack as far as I could for many, many years, being able to talk about it at all has been a challenge. But under the expert care of my therapist, I have been nibbling around the edges and begun to allow some light into those dark places.

On Monday, answering her direct and often brutally frank questions, I was finally able to talk about the details of the torture and excruciating torment that was inflicted on Daphne. I will not relate it here as it somehow seems like a violation of her privacy. Suffice it to say I am emotionally raw and exhausted. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything so harrowing.

And I was expecting a major shift in myself. For years I have heard that if I could conquer the trauma by talking about it, it would lose its power over me. That all those triggers that body slam me, and all those horrific memories that plaque me, all the guilt that weights me down, would somehow disappear. I was expecting a miracle. I didn’t get it.

I still have to talk about all that happened to me which I can’t even imagine doing.

Maybe then.