Eulogy for My Molester

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
My sister (a co-victim) told me she saw his obit this morning. She's elated, but my relationship with him was far more complicated. Over the past two years, I opened a dialog with him to find some peace with some unanswered questions. We spoke together about a dozen times. And now the page turns.

I don't know how to feel. I wish I could feel the closure that my sister does. I would be less than honest to say I did. So I decided to write out my feelings in the form of a eulogy that no-one will read except me and my sister. And then it hit me - that I can share it here as well...
________________________________________________________________________________

So you’re gone. The weight of your troubled life has been lifted from you. It is a weight you once asked me and so many others to carry. Some of us still bear the disfigured souls that had to grow around you.

I don’t know how to mourn you. What I do know is that we write the chapters of our own lives, and leave the epilogue to be written by those who survive us. The people we have loved and hated have the last words to say about who we were. Most of the time, those words paint a kind summary packaged in neat, pretty paragraphs. Sometimes that is wonderfully easy. Other times, it is perhaps a challenge. And then there are the times we find ourselves stepping beyond the bounds of truth and into the etiquette of dubiety just to find those nice words. So which way do I go?

Once upon a time, we shared happier truths. As next-door neighbors, we caught the mumps together and bonded our friendship in quarantine. It was a friendship I believed in, I was proud of. I hitched my wagon to your star without a second thought after that. You were that wonderful big brother I had always wanted. That was real love - the kind of love you don't call love. The kind of love you consummate with pizza. Or a game of one-on-one hoops. Or long bike rides. Or sitting under a tree talking about the girl you want to ask out.

You took me out for ice cream. We went to the pool every day over that fateful summer. Walking with you one night across the dewy grass of the high school playing fields, you saved me from a bully who tried to steal my flashlight. You made him give it back to me. I was twelve. You were my hero.

We caught Garter and Red-Belly snakes in the fields, and gathered night crawlers at midnight to use as bait for sunfish, trout and catfish the next morning at the creek. We played baseball with the rest of the kids in the backyard until the sun was too low to see the ball. You were a cocky teenager with the world figured out. You had time for everyone and anyone, and radiated a charm that surrounded you with friends and disarmed everyone else. You wore that reassuring smile that radiated such happiness that everyone wanted to crowd into that bubble to bask in your glow. And me? I was just a skinny boy with knobby grass-stained knees, a voracious appetite for hamburgers and milkshakes, a streak of playful mischievousness that I managed to masquerade as impishly adorable, and a deep heart. We picked each other. You and me.

Let me just stop here for a minute. Let me pretend the story ends here - that endless summer I turned thirteen and you turned sixteen. Let me imagine that we lived happily ever after, friends for life. Because that is the eulogy I want to write. The eulogy of a lifelong friendship forged when we were both kids. The eulogy of being there for each other at weddings and Christenings and Bar Mitzvahs. The eulogy full of laughter recounting weekends out with the "guys" at some cabin sharing beer and dirty jokes and barbecues and a sink overflowing with unwashed dishes.

But I can't. Those memories got killed before they had a chance to happen. If I were actually delivering this at your funeral in two days, decorum would dictate I stop here. Because beyond this point, a different truth follows. The truth about how you took me by the hand to step with you into your darkness. The truth about how you cashed in the priceless investment of the most special friendship in the world on a prurient and misguided thirst for something to which I could neither consent nor reciprocate. No. If I gave a truthful eulogy, I would have to describe a tragedy. For me. For you. For us.

You were such a smooth operator. You sweet-talked hall passes from the ladies at the principal's office. You charmed my mom into letting me sleep over. Into letting us camp out in the back yard. I would shrink quietly into the corner of the kitchen while you both negotiated my fate for the night, making her an unwitting accomplice to your secret crimes. It took me a lifetime for my heart to understand what my mind knew - that she had no idea what she was handing me over to. And when we were alone, you schmoozed your way beyond every decent boundary I had. You pressured me to yield, to participate in the crimes against me. As you helped yourself over a boundary that was not for you to cross - on shag rug basement floors, on the soft flannel of our sleeping bags in a canvas tent, on a bed of dried leaves in the woods - did you know that my soul was floating away? Did you pretend my receptiveness - my response to your touch - was love? I was a million miles away. You had my body. But you no longer had me.

And you lost me forever when you took my sister into that same dark cave - and her friends. Frankly, what you did to her hurt me more deeply than what you did to me. I would have submitted a thousand times to save her once. I know. Because I did. But I failed too many times.

I used to think that you were strong and I was weak. You were bigger, older. A master at persuasion. I couldn’t say no, so I didn’t say anything. To anyone. I kept your dirty secrets as you took everything from me you needed. Then everything you wanted. And kept taking until there was nothing left from me to take. But here is where I fail to understand the mathematics of us. After all of your taking, you ended up with nothing. And after all my giving, I walked away with my soul.

It might have ended there. But we met again recently. I needed answers. I could tell that you needed forgiveness. You told me as much. I got what I wanted from you. Did you get what you needed from me? I suspect you did not. When I was a boy, I gave you the intimacy you craved because I did not have the tools to say no. And just recently, as an adult, I gave you my forgiveness because I dared to look deep enough to see your humanity. But in either case, once intimacy and later forgiveness, were those really mine to give? Did I possess the physical and emotional maturity as a boy to fully share a sexual relationship, much less consent to it? Much less understand it? And later in our lives, did I possess the power to truly forgive you? Did my forgiveness appease your soul, or merely assuage your guilt? Perhaps the tougher question is the one asked of that man in the mirror. Did you ever look at him? Could you have forgiven him? Did you have the strength to look into your own eyes and do that? Did you even dare to try?

As much as I have been told I should find my anger, I simply cannot. Everyone around you who should have helped you, failed you. And in so doing, they failed me. Nobody saved either of us. And so I can’t hate you. I can only feel pity. We both lost, didn't we?

I survived you. And today I survive you again. You were not the best person in my life - but you were quite possibly the most significant. The impact you had on me was tremendous, ripples of heavy silence. I kept in my head the quiet echoes of guilt and shame. But those echoes got louder every passing year. It eventually became so loud I could no longer ignore the noise.


I have often wished I could hate you with simple purity. I admit that sometimes I thought I did. Then I thought I could just forget you. But I could not. It has taken a lot of work to find how to live with you, sitting there in my memory. I still struggle to find my peace with that. I suspect I always will. But I'm OK. I hope you are, too. I hope the demons no longer haunt you - that you have found peace wherever you are. This is goodbye. I close the book on you now – and step into the rest of my life without you forever.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
People are so complex.
One often knows the other better than they know themselves. I'm glad you saw all of him and not just the bad..
I hope this brings some positive resolution for you and your sister ... and that you both find some peace.
 
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SayItRight

Registrant
Eric,
You have arrived at such honest and powerful perspectives. Thank you for sharing them. Wishing peace for you and your sister.
SayIt
 
Chase Eric said:
I kept your dirty secrets as you took everything from me you needed. Then you took everything you wanted. And you kept taking until there was nothing left from me to take. But here is where I fail to understand the mathematics of us. After all of your taking, you ended up with nothing. And after all my giving, I walked away with my soul.

this is an amazing and paradoxical truth. thank you for recognizing it and for putting it into words - and for giving it to us to savor.

Lee
 

Ceremony

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Eric, the last words...
the rest of my life without you forever.
They're the part I'm having to fit for my response. And Shyshark, this is how I can honor this post I'm struggling with, which is my problem...
People are so complex.

Chase Eric, your complexity is something I'm always drawn to, I read and ponder, then reread. I intellectually know why you wrote that, be you dear Eric.
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
I want to thank you all for responding. I did my final edit of this. I think I said what I needed to say - without judgement. The funeral is in less than two days. I plan to be there. I obviously will not deliver this - but it will be in my pocket.

I have lost two of my best friends. My mom died a year ago, and my dad several years earlier. I've said heartbreaking goodbyes to two cats and a snake. But I've never had a death like this in my life. It marks the end of a troubled and troubling existence. And it marks the end of any better hope. His chances at redemption are done. This book has closed. I'm still wrapping my head around how utterly momentous this is. I'm the rare person who doesn't dance with joy on his abuser's grave - I just sort of tear up and wonder why it was so incredibly sad - for everyone.

In a sense, he has shaped me in so many fundamental ways. That's just a fact. Like ShyShark said, people are so complex. There are so many layers of everything to this, and I have yet to experience an emotional short-circuit to anger. I suspect I won't.

I haven't started too many posts recently - but this is a milestone. Andy, Tom, ShyShark, SIR, Zoo, Lee and Ceremony - you words carry me right now, each of you.
 
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Can_I_Do_This

Registrant
Hey Eric,

Your eulogy is one of the most amazing things I've ever read in my life. Unbelievably concise and absolutely beautifully stated.

They say the death of an abuser can be a freeing feeling, as it's been for your Sister, and it's fine for you to feel exactly as you do. Everyone deals with things differently.

Having read your wonderful eulogy I would feel safe in saying you are well, well on your way to finding balance and truth. Your level of insight is astonishing.

My heart is with you and, dude, congrats, man. You're nailing this shit, I'm proud of you.
 

DanielQ432

Registrant
Chase Eric, you did a wonderful job of expressing your feelings there. Death is hard, and complex.

When my father died, despite everything, I would have looked like the most heartbroken, crushed son at his funeral. I spent several days, when he died through the funeral weekend (funeral was Monday morning, IIRC) crying my eyes out, just sobbing at anything and everything. Part of it, a lot of it, was just shock - he went from "healthy" as far as anyone knew, to dead in a total of 6 weeks, the first two weeks he had been diagnosed with pneumonia, which no one thought much of, only after it didn't respond then got worse and they started doing tests did they discover it was very advanced and aggressive lung cancer. And all of this started at Thanksgiving, the drama played out through Christmas and New Years, and everyone knew in early December that he had maybe 6 months, what the doctors said, but he actually died 28 days after diagnosis.

I certainly can recall how that all felt (thanks, PTSD) in my body, my chest, my core, and if I fixated long, I'd probably be crying. The tears, the anguish, because it was - because it was a shock, sudden, because it was something that just totally altered the world, as if suddenly one day the sun started rising in the West and the color of chlorophyll in the leaves suddenly switched to pink or purple. Part of it was grief for what should have been but never was.
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you Daniel and CIDT. I am not sure I deserve the praise you shared, CIDT, but I do thank you and certainly appreciate the spirit of your words. They do lift me up. That said, I am falling back into a weird pattern of accidents. I slipped all the way down the stairs this morning, tripped over the wheel of a cart at the grocery store, slipped in the shower, and tripped over a cord in the family room. These are my old patterns - I suppose my "acting out." As a teen, I was known for being accident prone. Everyone thought it was because I pushed the edge of every envelope around me - which is partly true. But only in therapy did I realize it was a hallmark sign of abuse. It started when my abuse started, and ended with enough therapy to make me recognize the pattern. Now I am recognizing it again. Suddenly four accidents in one day - all right after hearing of my abuser's death and getting back into that whole mess of memories. I suppose I should not be surprised - but to be honest, the thought I might fall back into this pattern was not even on my radar until today.
 

Can_I_Do_This

Registrant
Chase Eric said:
the thought I might fall back into this pattern was not even on my radar until today.

When we've suffered core injuries as we have it's typical to "fall into" old self-protective behaviors during times of stress such as you're currently under. It's always a surprise until you start seeing the pattern, then you recognize it for what it is and hopefully move thru those old ultimately unnecessary feelings and back into the present.

In the present, in my estimation, you are an advanced soul possessing wisdom and insight many only dream of reaching.

I know it's one thing to post on a message board and another to be alone with your thoughts, but, dude, it's all about "fake it 'till you make it," except you're not faking it, you're DEALING with it. "Faking it" means re-creating the innocence we've lost within ourselves. If we tell ourselves enough times we're worthy and of value -- especially in light of the abuse we've suffered -- eventually it becomes reality.

One day at a time, really.

Personally I think you're on the right track. Love yourself, my friend, and know that this person -- me -- appreciates and absorbs the lessons you are sharing. Thank you.
 

JohnnyC

Registrant
Chase Eric:

This is one of the most honest and beautiful things I have ever read.

I admire you for your ability to avoid the consuming roads of anger, vengeance and hatred. So much was stolen from us. We will never know how much. As you stated, that's just a fact.

I sure looks like you have found some of the peace we all seek.

Thank you so much.
 
Eirik, as usual I am moved by your words and your honesty. In this eulogy you show more insight and wisdom than most people can exhibit over a lifetime. I hope that your journey to find peace is successful.

Mike
 

zip14

Registrant
Hi Eric,

What a journey you seem to have lived through this. Your strength is inspiring. Stay well.

Zip
 

Elad1

Registrant
Thank you Eric for sharing this eulogy that is so haunting yet profound and truthful. Your graced of knowledge to your pain, your story...the truth stands affirmed.

Elad
 

C. E. (Chase Eric)

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you all of these supportive comments - each of you. They are so powerful for me and are helping me move through a difficult period that has me questioning and redefining everything ... again.

I added a link to a poem I wrote yesterday called Zombies (caution for triggering content!). A friend told me that after reading the poem, this piece made even more sense to him.
 
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