In November of last year, 2011, news reports came out that there was a scandal of child sexual abuse at Penn State University. Shortly after hearing the news, my significant other, M, recovered memories of his own child sexual abuse. During the same time, I was at a crossroads in my relationship with my mother due to my own issues with childhood sexual abuse. I severed all ties with her by February of 2012. M is currently teetering on the fence with his family, exploring how to make their relationships work in light of his memories.
For families that have been torn apart by abuse, the holidays can be a heavy burden and filled with grief. For M and me, 2012, this year, was the first year we did not have to make excuses to avoid Thanksgiving with family. No one called to invite us. On one hand, this was a relief. I know that my healing cannot be done with my family in my life. On the other hand, the grief that remains is something I would rather not contend with, for grief is a prize fighter.
During Christmastime 2010, as we were ushering in 2011, not knowing the aftermath of child abuse was going to plague our days at the end of the year and well into the next, we celebrated. We sang. We danced. We loved.
During Christmastime 2010 we made a video.
Last year, during the Christmas of 2011, we did not create a video. In fact, I can’t find many pictures from then either. I could say it was just too difficult with the girls going back and forth, to and from their dads for extended periods of time. Or, we didn't have them on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so what fun would it have been to make a video? But those would be lies. Last year, during the Christmas of 2011, we were heavy with grief. The prize fighter had us in a TKO. Although we didn't let our emotions keep us from having Christmas, we failed to conjure the spirit to capture the moments of Christmas.
Adult survivors of child abuse lose a lot of time. Sometimes the good times are viewed through murky goggles of pain, anger, and sadness. It takes a strange amount of courage to cut through the muck and be present. Being present can take all of the energy leaving none for picking up the camera to capture the memories.
However, capturing memories is important. Remembering the joy of the present offsets the pain of the past.
Two bloggers I know, Galit and Alison, understand the importance of capturing memories. They provide bloggers an opportunity to share their treasured moments each month in a blogging link up called Memories Captured. I’m grateful for this. It is a much needed reminder for me. I do not want to lose any more time without it being documented.