I couldn’t sleep last night. I’d fallen asleep but a hissing noise pulled me out of slumber. I woke my husband with the question, “What’s that noise?” only to discover, the steam shower had sprung a leak. He went downstairs, turned off the water, came back to bed and promptly fell back to sleep.
I was not so easily lured back into dreamland.
I got up. I read. I surfed the Net. I watched the river flow past.
In my meanderings, I remembered the videos from the inaugural Circles of Hope conference held last November had been posted on Youtube.
Alexis and I have been talking about writing a book about our healing journey together. I wasn’t sure where to begin but seeing as I couldn’t sleep, why not go back to our presentation and start there?
Working on that presentation together was not easy. Alexis and I had to risk delving into the broken places. We had to be willing to hear one another’s pain, and not try to own it, or fix it, or pretend it was all okay. For me, as her mother, there were times when I wanted to call it quits so that I wouldn’t have to hear her words, see her pain, know her anger.
We kept pushing through it. We kept trusting that the tears, the anger, the fear and sorrow were nothing compared to the joy and love we shared.
This is not an easy story to share. I’ve shared it many times. By myself. But working on it with Alexis I realized that while it happened to me, it also happened to my daughters. They too were on that road to hell. They too felt the fear, the horror, the loss.
The story of our journey into hell began with a man who drove up in a red Ferrari. He promised us happily-ever-after and then, like a magician making whatever is before your eyes disappear, he swept away the world as we knew it and turned our lives inside out and upside down.
For my daughters, that journey came at a seminal time in their lives. They were about to embark on their teen years. He promised them a life of ease and fun and laughter. He never warned them about the pain.
On February 26, 2003, 4 and a half years after he drove into our lives, I disappeared from their lives. It would not be until three months later that they learned what happened to me, or that I was even alive.
Healing from the darkness of those days has not been a straight line of that was before, this is after. It has been a journey into pain, sorrow, anger, fear, hurt. Amidst the laughter and joy, there has been blame and shame and sadness and regret; the full gamut of human emotions. And yet, no matter what appeared before us, there was always the thing that flowed between us like a river and carried us through those years to today. Love.
Healing from that relationship has taught me many things. It’s taught me to never give up on myself. To never let go of Love. It’s taught me to speak truth even when I want to hide from it. To be real and present, even when I want to close my eyes to the pain I see in the eyes of those I love. And it has taught me the value of being vulnerable and the healing grace of forgiveness.
I am blessed.
Once upon a time, I did something to my daughters I never imagined I could. I deserted them. Through forgiveness and grace, we have woven the circle of love that is our family back together. In the scars that bind us, beauty shines. Love grows.