The deadliest time of our lives, how does one survive? Physically, mentally, emotionally. The only way for us is total seclusion, but not from the outdoors and all the other creatures in it. Even going into any store right now is more risky than it was now that the deadlier strains are here.

Do you feel for the people seen on the television suffering all alone in ICU’s, melting into a crying mess every time? Or shut the door on emotion becoming stone so that it doesn’t touch you?

Waking in the night a flood of emotion hits unbidden, not about the present hell, but one I came from. Sadness seeps into my core like a tsunami opening the doors wide to my soul. Sadness thought to have been left behind because so many decades had been tasked to heal from it.

But there it is, and it won’t be changed. The choice whether to go there or not is easier taken in daylight when activities keep me focused. The knowledge that a family of 8 kids were left stranded by a father who had the audacity to die, and a mother devastated by trying to cope with the loss of her husband. (and his income)

That sadness goes back far before his death, but the painful recognition of parental choices wasn’t fathomed until well into adulthood. Peeling back layers of trauma to heal from what my siblings (my attackers) had done took most of my adult life. Thus enlightened more understanding arose to what they also endured.

And that might make some sense of why they acted out their rage on me by sexually attacking their young sister. But not much as no reason makes sense. Yet there it is. They too did not receive what was desperately needed besides shelter and food… love, security, and feeling cherished.

A father who drank, a mother overwhelmed by so many babies conceived in the night after an evening of partying too drunk to put on a prophylactic. Funny and fun at the time, not so funny when the babies came then grew, one by one, piling up like lists to do that never get done.

There are some families that might handle a large amount children with love and the special attention needed while also encouraging sibling love and interaction. That wasn’t the case with mine.

We grew together alone, estranged, licking our wounds as they continued to bleed throughout life. Most unable to engage closely with each other because so much energy was needed to attend to separate shocks of their own.

A family divided in every way. Some are now making efforts at family, but getting close must be scary, especially getting close to me. Wanting to include me, but not enough for comfort because I hold truths not wanting to be heard.

That shield can hurt. Daytime logic looked for desperately in the dead of night whispers to me after a prayer into my pillow—stick with now, look forward, don’t go back. Quite impossible in the quiet darkness. So the whirling painful thoughts take time to spin out before sleep returns.

My mother was noted for saying, “Look back, but don’t stare.”

I stared for a long time, I had to in order to barf up the black of what was survived, but was still stuck inside me like viscous tar. After years of cleansing work it became possible to be here now, smile, and move forward. But in the dark of night the cave collapses, and the empty well of sadness sucks me in. Sadness for all those born into that family, if you can call it that.

Be open? Or close the door… to the past, but now too because the present holds horrors unimaginable. Prayers to those suffering, as I lock away emotions to save my sanity.


  1. A few nights ago, it was either the night before or the night of the Inauguration, as I was washing the dishes something deep inside let go and I started bawling my guts out. It felt like the sorrow of the world came up out of the blue. It’s a tough time indeed.

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