Friday, February 11, 2011

Tragedy....

Hmm.... this may be a difficult post. I've read two things tonight and both have moved me deeply. Hmm... and oddly, the topics are very closely connected although the sources have no connection at all.

This first is the 2nd piece in a series that Kathy Escobar is doing on the beautitudes called blessed are those who mourn.

This second is a 4,000 word suicide letter written by Bill Zeller telling (for the first time) about being raped as a child and how that affected him.

They both made me cry. At first, I thought it was for different reasons, but really, they are the same seen from a little different angle.

They are both about the pain of abuse and our need to examine that pain and let it out. In reading Kathy's post, I was reminded of the point I reached, 4 years ago, when I finally started giving a voice to the memories, the images, and they started to form a pattern... and I told someone, for the first time, what was actually done to me. It was like poison being drawn out. I am in debt to the friend who was willing to listen - who understood what was going on.... and for the next two days, I laid on her couch and cried...and slept....and cried.... and she let me. And that was the beginning of letting that incredible pain out.

And then I read Mr. Zeller's suicide note. And as I type this, I am crying. The words he wrote are very familiar. Very. And my heart breaks because he didn't find someone to tell.... and I went back 23 years ago when I tried to take my life. And I thought some of the same things. I really believed that people might feel a little bad for a couple of weeks and then get over it and be better off.... And I took a bottle of Darvon.... and told God I was sorry as I started to fade.... and woke up 24 hours later.... and I know that God had intervened. And, at the time, I was disappointed. Now, I'm not. I am glad I am still here. But then....

I think of Mr. Zeller and what he went through and I wish like hell I would have had a chance to talk to him - eye to eye - and tell him there is a way to get that fucking darkness out of the driver's seat. There is only one way. Shine the freakin' light of day on it and TALK ABOUT IT. It is the most difficult barrier I have ever broken through - when i went to my first counseling session after I had started to really remember details, my hands shook as I filled out the form. When I called a local hot-line to get numbers of counselors, I took the cordless phone and hid in my bedroom, scrunched up on the bed and could not speak above a whisper. I was scared. But I had had a taste of what it was like for the pain to bleed out and that gave me strength - motivation. And I had someone who cared - and who needed me. I had a reason to try. I had gotten a glimpse of an idea that maybe I wasn't just fundamentally bad....

It's funny. I was just talking to that friend this week about new details that have surfaced - I had come to the realization that at the age of three years old, I was faced with this dilemma.... at 2, I had been molested and told to forget it, never tell, big trouble.....and at 3, I saw a Billy Graham movie about teenage sex with a message of - at least the one that yelled at me was - REPENT! And at 3, how do you repent for something when you can't talk about it? I know, I know, I didn't do anything wrong - but that 3 year old didn't know that. And man, has that dilemma messed with me my whole life.... and I want to take that little girl and hold her and tell her she is not bad and that I am so sorry that happened.... And as I read Mr. Zeller's letter, I wished I could have done the same for him. Just held him and told him he was not bad. Hold on and talk about it and it will almost annihilate you - almost. But then, it will start to get better and the darkness will abate and lose it's power and the dark days will start to be outnumbered by the good days.... just don't give up.

But I also understand the soul weariness that says, "I'm done. I can't do this anymore." Bill Zeller, may God gather you in his arms and give you the true comfort and peace you deserve.

7 comments:

Erin said...

I almost posted about Bill Zeller's suicide note. It made me so angry and I recognized so many of the mentalities he described. Heartbreaking, but not altogether shocking that he just couldn't face it. I am grateful that his final act was to speak out about it.

I'm so saddened, Katherine, that these things go on in "Christian" circles...places that are are supposed to be loving and caring and safe are often more concerned with keeping the secrets that could tarnish their image.

Katherine Gunn said...

Erin. Hmm... I am saddened that they go on, and also ANGRY. It is the height of hypocrisy to claim to be about helping people then sacrifice victims of your elite on the altar of image. It is sick and wrong and criminal and I am done playing along. The church is full of pedophiles, child molesters, sexual predators and those who enable and protect them. Until they are willing to face that and deal with it, they have no credibility. Hmm... and I am not holding my breath.

I'm glad he chose to speak about it in his letter. My heart breaks for him. I so understand the frustration and fear and isolation. But his letter will help people.

Erin said...

You say it far better than I do!

Hope said...

Hi Katherine,
I came over hear from Kathy Escobar's post on "Blessed Are Those who Mourn." Your post really struck a nerve with me. I'm currently in therapy for various issues, and my therapist,a few months ago, asked me how I felt about talking about really hard things so close to the end of our session. I said I was afraid that I would go home and cry. He said that that would be a GOOD thing, that, essentially, I have a lot of grieving to do and get out or whatever. And just our last session, I was horrified and embarrassed to find myself in tears and I actually glared at him, and he said, "you don't have to protect yourself with anger. Grief is natural. It's a grievous situation."

So...that was long, but the point is...I need to read stuff like what you wrote. Cause FEELING and being okay with crying is so hard for me.

Katherine Gunn said...

Hope - I SO understand. For me growing up, showing pain, especially by crying, made me a target for ridicule and maybe even more punishment. There was a period of years when I did not cry at all. Now, I cry. And it is a good thing. Tears cleanse the emotions out. If you can, give yourself permission to weep for what was lost in your life, for what could have been. For the hurt caused. I pray God holds your hand through this process - it is difficult, but SO worth it!

Hope said...

Thank you so, so much for your kind, encouraging reply. I don't actually know you, so this may sound weird, but it really means a lot that you offered those words of advice. I can tell you understand how I feel. And I so appreciate your support! Thank you so much. :)

Katherine Gunn said...

Hope, you are welcome. {{{HUG}}}