Guilt. Fear. Don, my niece, her boys… How could I not go to the city for the party? I didn’t. The pressure in my heart is the hole of no family realized at last. A family doesn’t conspire to silence a little girl raped, or abused sexually to the extent I was for years and by so many.
Shames YOU, you say? How horrific for you, that you have to face that your brothers attacked me. So you don’t face it. And in not facing it, you force the death of who I am. You will interact with me, act caring, act like I am always in need and that you will be there to help, but only if I’m silent. And all three impose this life coffin on me. And I acquiesce. And my chest hurts with the killing pressure of silence. I have no family.
My family is inside my heart where I have found me at last. And I am opening up to that little girl all others abandoned. My mother knew, twice. It was only on time three that action was taken. Too late.
Two brothers knew, Don and Seth. I protected the younger one, Stevie, until now, when he called months ago asking for donations for Chet’s grand-kids after dying of a massive heart attack. Stevie did so out of guilt because he had no contact with Chet throughout adult life, no one did.
And now it is too late. And it has nothing to do with what he did to me. It was about Tom and his wife. Chet became romantic with her during their divorce.
It has always been about Tom, the worst abuser. Not because he committed the worst abuse. Danny’s was so violent, my psyche still won’t allow it to surface. Chet’s was ongoing, predatory, vile, disgusting, and betrayed me in every way.
I don’t talk about brother four in my book. He died from a heart attack before the book was written. There was no reason to risk the chance of his surviving wife and three sons to learn what their father did. When he attacked it didn’t seem to matter. I was garbage. Just one more. It doesn’t matter. It does matter. Every wrong touch matters.
In adult life I dared ask him. He said, “I don’t remember.”
Despite the torture of Chet’s abuse, I didn’t despise him, I pitied him. But Tom? The psychological torture of putting me down for years after to make me look inconsequential nearly destroyed me. He is the one I could cut up into little pieces and feed to the sharks.
No others worked so diligently to defile my character. He was methodical and persistent in yearning to destroy me. No others treated me so vile after their attacks, not at all. Not Danny, not the brother I don’t speak of in my book, and not Chet.
My heart hurts. I don’t go to the city to Don’s 70th birthday party, where I could also see my niece who is visiting all the way from Texas. This is a brother who took me in, cared for me, guided me. Mom would shame me if she were alive, but I’ve taken on her criticisms very well without her. How could I not go? Because on that day we returned from the Adirondacks. Doing both is too much. Not good enough. Squeezing pressure. The pressure tightens because without that excuse I’d have to go. I didn’t want to.
This Saturday we go to the lake where Stevie lives in the summer managing properties. I spoke up to Stevie for the first time when he asked for money for Chet’s grandchildren.
“So you don’t want to donate?” he asked again hopefully.
“No, I don’t feel obligated,” I responded. And we left it at that, until I felt compelled to send an email admonishing him for even asking. “Didn’t you read my book? I sent you a link,” I wrote.
“No, I didn’t see a link,” he emails back. I sent the link again.
Stevie has learned through the years from Tom’s expertly crafted put-down’s that it is OK to treat me as if I don’t deserve the same respect and consideration as others. It must have been a shock to him that I spoke up.
Being with family, isn’t it supposed to be fun? I am wary. I am not the person I was. And the lake visit may be the end of the one last relationship. During my hospitalization in November I could have died and none of those three would have known. There is no real family, there never was, only a clinging to the hope of one. People can’t be close when they must spend the rest of their lives licking their own wounds.
I had always thought at least I have three brothers that have not touched me, who I could call brothers and have relationships with. No. I am learning now, especially after Seth’s wrath, that that is not so.
The conspiracy of silence is as much or more of a betrayal than the attacks and the attackers. The pretense of caring that is conditional kills. I care about you only if you don’t talk about the truths of sexual abuse. Pretend you are something you are not. You must be what I want you to be.
How have I stomached it, forced it down…like swallowing a live python…how?
I am part of a family… Samuel, Shane and Cory.