for my mom, it's been agonizing. for my aunt, horrifying. and for the rest of my family - well, i think it's been eye-opening.
and as for me? it's certainly been a week of deep thought and soul-searching. i've really considered the notion of forgiveness - taken it out and looked at it from all angles, played with it, put it away, and pulled it out again, only to repeat the process. and i was fully prepared for it to take days, weeks, months, maybe even years to come to a conclusion. i've even finally learned to accept the word that describes exactly what i've been trying so hard to forget: molestation. ugly, ain't it? well, that's fitting. and it's been quite a struggle for me, trying to decide whether i can be forgiving of something that should be unforgivable. and yet i couldn't forget that my forgiveness could help others in their healing process, and i was stumped.
i couldn't really decide exactly how i felt about the whole thing - after all, this is something that's been in the back of my mind for 27 years. i'd managed to forget about it almost completely for a chunk of that time, but the memories eventually resurfaced - although there are still bits and pieces that are fuzzy to me.
however, there is one thing that i am completely, 1000% sure of - and that's that it happened. it's not a figment of my imagination, i'm not making it all up in some insane bid for attention - and despite the fact that this uncle is refusing to own up to it (why would he? what would he have to gain?), which in turn makes me look like a crazy liar, i'm finding love and support from members of my family who i haven't been close to in a long time. and though it took a while for them to start opening up and expressing their feelings over it all, i couldn't blame them - after all, while i'd known about it for a long time, this was all brand new information for them. and completely unexpected, at that.
but sadly, on the flip side, i'm also finding that there are others who seem to be more willing to believe the worst of me, rather than accept the truth for what it is. and that makes me sad, because family gatherings will never be the same again.
i started thinking about sermons at church on sundays by our pastor, who always seems to pick the perfect topics at the perfect time. and on communion sundays, he almost always tells us "if there's someone who's done you wrong, if you're holding that in your heart, take a moment right now to think it through, and then let it go."
i like that. he isn't necessarily telling us to forgive, but more to look at it, give it some attention, and then allow it to fly away, like a bird let out of a cage. and today, when i hopped in the shower to get ready for the day, this popped into my head. it was perfect - because not only was i cleansing my body, but my mind as well. i thought about how i'd already managed to make my peace with what had happened, moved on, and built a wonderful life for myself. i remembered that opening this pandora's box with my family was done with a purpose - to make them aware, to open it up for discussion, and hopefully to prevent it from happening again.
my aunt is in the denial stage, and progressing quickly to angry mode. she's made it clear via e-mail to my family that she intends to stand by her man, and if we're going to shut him out, that'll have to go for her, too. she stated that she has faith in him, that she's his wife and that won't ever change - and basically told us to STFU. now, she doesn't read my blog, but what i'd really like to say to her is that she is still family. if she refuses to see the truth, or decides to just brush it all off and forget she'd ever heard any of it, that's completely up to her. it won't change the fact that she is still loved. i hope that after she has time to let it all sink in, she'll realize that.
and then as i was jabbering at the bean while drying my hair, it was as though someone whispered in my ear: "it's not your forgiveness that he needs."
and just like that, a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
as i got the bean ready and jumped in the car to head to gymboree class, i thought about that statement again. i knew it was absolutely right, and i totally teared up, and i smiled. it ISN'T my forgiveness that this man needs. if you believe in God, or some sort of higher power, you'll know what i mean. so i did as the pastor said - i gave it the attention it needed, i made my peace with it, and i let it go.
and now i am free.