This letter is a repost, but I read it again last night and realized that years later, it still holds true. I especially held on and felt the feels when I wrote about my daughter. She is thirteen now but she was eight on d-day. The other night, I had a moment with her that is one of my brightest. The question many of us ask is how to we walk our children through this path? How do we talk to them? What do we say? How does a child understand such things? I will post the story of how it is working for my daughter and I on Thursday. I have a feeling that it is very possible for our children to come out of this stronger, happier and more secure about themselves than before. There is an incredible amount of hope!
Please deliver November 27, 2010
I know you are screaming, your eyes are bloodshot and your mind is exploding at the impossible truth you see in front of you. You're teeter-tottering between denial, dry stomach heaves and melting onto the floor in an inconsolable heap. But, as you look into his emptiness you see the truth. I know you want to punch him in the face but take a step backward.
Good. Take another step.
Now walk away. Go to the kitchen, get a drink of water and stare out the window into the black night for a minute...
Strengthen yourself, because you are about to enter the storm of your life.
It's ok to be afraid. And angry. And pissed. And it's ok to throw all his belongings out of your room and spit on them. It's ok to hunker down and cry on your sofa and not know what to do. It's ok to feel numb. Press into the numbness as it's Gods way of protecting you and as a good friend pointed out, possibly protecting him as well. It's ok to feel bitter and sallow disrespect. It's ok to doubt and hold mistrust. It's ok to disconnect from him. And, oddly it's ok to connect with him. It's ok to hate him. It's ok to banish him from your home and life. It's ok to feel humiliated by his actions. It's ok to wonder what the hell you did wrong. It's ok to tell no one and then everyone. It's ok to question your sexuality. It's ok to squeeze your eyes shut and wish this terrible mess away. It's ok to wear the same sweatpants for days, forget to wash your hair and call in sick to work. It's ok to pretend. And, it's ok to be utterly raw. It's ok to stay up all night watching Divorce Court. It's ok to text your sponsor in the middle of the night. It's ok to try and manipulate and control him. It's ok to puke in your mouth every time you see him. It's ok to be racked by triggers and terrible thoughts. It's ok to feel betrayal and want revenge. It's ok to be lost and confused and question God. All these and more are ok. Not because it's what you should do and should feel but because it's what you do feel. This is trauma. There is no doubt it will scar and change you.
But, it is not ok to wallow or dwell on any of these. There is a time to get up off the couch and get to work.
Do not be afraid of the unfamiliar emotions that are coming your way. You can do this. You will find an untapped strength and discover that you are oddly well-prepared to move through this pain. These emotions will be your lighthouse. They will guide you through this storm. Through the squall. Through the screaming white walls of shame and fear. For each ugly emotion you feel you must also feel your way out of it. Everything has it's opposite. And, at the end of all this is deep forgiveness.
Take your time. Be patient with yourself. Make sure you are ok. But do this. This is how you will be able to let go of the hurt and replace it with love. Love is everything. You're daughter will teach you this.
It's ok to talk to your daughter about it in a gentle age-appropriate way. It's ok to involve her in the healing process. Recognize that even if you don't tell her, she will feel the pain. So open this door of love and learning for both of you.
When you think about taking your daughter to Disneyland, do it. Don't hesitate. You will both love it and need it. Spend two days instead of one and spend all of Mr. Scabs money. Buy those $8 churros. You won't regret it.
Time will pass and you will begin to see shadows and silhouettes in the storm. You will see the outline of an orange life vest. Reach out. Paddle toward her. You need each other. Her rescue boat may be shattered and sinking but she has an extra life vest. Share with each other. Do not be afraid to tell your story.
Listen to your mind. What does it tell you? Then listen to your heart. What does it tell you? When that small voice in your heart matches the small voice in your mind you will have the courage to take another step forward. You will be led not knowing beforehand the things you should do or what the future will hold. The only way out of this storm is to keep paddling. You will come to know that the strength of your paddle is not your own.
There is one truth you must learn to accept. This is a painful and difficult truth. It's something you will struggle with but once you accept it, it will change everything.
This is it:
There are no guarantees. Mr. Scabs is a free agent. He may or may not change. You cannot force it. Wish it. Be sexy enough for it. Or beg it to happen. Only he will decide. And you must step back and let him do it, or not do it.
There is also one last thing I want to tell you. And, it might be the most important of all.
I am from your future. I know what happens. I know the outcome. Right this very moment I'm sitting on your living room floor, drinking hot chocolate and typing you this letter. I have been through the storm. My heart is full of happiness, love, compassion and forgiveness. I feel more depth and understanding of life's purpose. I am here to tell you that the storm of your life does not steal or waste you. It builds you.
You can do this.
Challenge: Write a letter to yourself. If you blog, be sure to link back.
If you don't blog and want to share your letter, email me.