"A long, strange trip it's been..."

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I haven't thought about the abuse, or the abusers, or any of those things that brought me here all those years ago.., until today.

My brother's father in law died, and his wife is desperately depressed. I felt acutely that loss and fear, because those same emotions are found in realizing the loss of innocence and the fear of being alone that abuse creates in survivors. No, it's not the same experience, but it is chasms in our life, holes so big we cannot fathom the depth, not the sides. It is painful emptiness, our loss and fear.

I had mentioned to my wife about some small memory of the Weekend of Recovery in Dahlonegha Ga, in 2013, and then while alone, I found myself opening up the pictures and music from that amazing weekend. The memories of the mindfulness hike came in focus to me, then the counselors, then the attendees. I cried, but not for sadness at first, but joy and pride in the courage I witnessed in that group.

The tears of sadness came shortly after, remembering the abuse, the learned lessons and the shame. I stayed here for a long time, sobbing. After an eternity, the tears slowed, the cramping eased and my heart emptied.

Then I remembered the healing steps. How can we be safe? What do we need? How can we protect ourselves and others? The small groups, the mindfulness hikes, the meals. The safe room I used to work through a recent abuse trauma I thought I had dealt with.., wrong.

Even through all of this, I wondered why I was remembering this. I looked for an issue that brought me to this memory. The only situation in my life that presented itself was the loss my sister in law felt in the death of her father.

I sent my brother a song that particularly spoke to me, FooFighters, "On the Mend". It respects the severity of the loss while offering support. I cried thinking about how I received it, that maybe she too would connect with it and bring her safety and comfort.

The abuser was female, I suppose that may be why I feel females' pain acutely. I have some more work to do, but it's not a volcano, so there is time.

Whatever the case, it's progress. I am present, not overwhelmed. I can reach out and not be overly concerned about the reception, or rejection. It's their process, and the shutters are mostly closed. Ok.

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