For the past 9 years June 1st has been a very special day for me. It is my anniversary date. Last year was the first time since my husband and I got married that we didn’t celebrate our anniversary, either together or alone. We didnt celebrate AT ALL.
It was only two months after my middle child and beautiful 12 year old daughter revealed her horrific secret. A secret that pricked at her heart and ate at her soul. A secret that tormented her, never certain when a new and deeper wound would tear open the last. She tended to her invisable wounds like a dutiful nurse and pushed down the pain that churned in her gut and swirled like a cyclone of confusion in her mind.
Last year my husband and I didn’t celebrate our anniversary because two months earlier my daughter gained the courage to call my mom at about 2am, after she had suffered what was to be her last night of abuse, and cried out for help. My mother drove the 45 minute trip terrified for my daughter and for the rest of our family. She knew she had to respond and she knew that her own daughters family was on a 45 minute countdown to the end of life as we knew it. The sheer hell that was about to rip through the lives of an average American family, more happy than not, had been unknowingly simmering just beneath the surface for atleast two years prior to that night. My mom was on her way to blow the lid off a pressure cooker and knew through the length of her drive that there was no turning back. What my daughter revealed was so raw with emotion and detailed that she knew it had indeed happened to her. She was without question a victim of exactly what she said, through her own sobbing and shaking voice she said aloud the secrets that she had been burdened to keep. Over the phone in the middle of the night, my daughter became her own hero and saved herself from what very well could have been many, many more years of abuse by bravely telling her grandmother a secret that so many children never find the courage to tell.
As my mother drove, confused and crying, not sure why, how or if it was even possible that her son-in-law did what it was her granddaughter begged to be saved from. My mother horrified and confused and uncertain. She was also100% certain that something had happened to her granddaughter, and she was scared to death. Being scared to death was an emotion that, for the first time in my daughters young life, she didn’t have to suffer through alone anymore. And for that 45 minute drive, it simultaneously felt like an eternity for both of them.
Last year my husband and I, for the first time in our marriage didn’t celebrate our anniversary together. I didn’t know where he was or what his day was like. Likewise, he knew just as little of my goings on. The one thing he did know and that I would soon learn, was that even though he was not aloud to come to our home he was going to make sure his presence was felt. It came in the form of flowers delivered to our front door. I never will know if his intention was one of love or to crush my heart under the weight of petals. I suppose looking back, his true intention matters little. For me it was like getting an anniversary gift from a husband who died two months earlier. Like a virtual widow, the pain of such deep loss and sadness was raw, and flowers delivered by him, to me, on our anniversary, only felt like the florist had been ordered to lop off any and all blooms then deliver the dozen of thorny stems complete and tied with a bow. The thorns only served to cut into me as deep as tiny little razors every time I looked in their direction. It was a mockery to a marriage and a life I held close to my heart. I can imagine it must have felt just as grating and painful to my daughter. WE PROMPTLY THREW THE FLOWERS AWAY.
Today I my husband and I didn’t celebrate our 9th anniversary together and I refused to celebrate it alone as well. I got up much like any other day of the week and got my children off to school. I met my dad at a gas station so I could follow him to a car repair shop to leave my barely running car to be fixed. I dutifully annoyed the hell out of him, in the most loving way, I, as his only daughter can, the entire drive back together to get my moms car from her at her office. I called a few self storage places near their home to check for the cheapest priced facility that will soon be the new home for the better part of all of my belongings. As my home is in foreclosure and has been for the past six months, I am certain that the “kicked out on your ass” date draws near and fear being overwhelmed and under prepared when the day arrives. I read a discouraging email from my divorce attorney who wants more money before he will request a hearing for my divorce. I texted briefly with my best friend whos sister went into the hospital today to have surgery. Her sister will have to be there for the next fout days and will be spending most of that time alone and sedated. I picked my daughter up from school early, just as I’ve done since her weekly counseling went from the miserable one on one sessions she dreaded to the much more preferred weekly group counseling sessions with a small group of girls who’ve been unfortunate enough to suffer through similar abuse. I understand why she prefers group counseling to the one on one. For the first time since the abuse began, group counseling was a place where she didn’t feel alone in the world. She was in the company of girls who experienced the same thoughts and feelings, fears and betrayals and pain and loneliness. Today, June 1st, 2011 was my daughters last day of counseling. Not forever, but for the weekly counseling she has done for the past 14 months. It was bittersweet for her. She bonded with the small group of girls and I’m sure, this little group of girls will share the bond they created for the rest of their lives. Whether they keep in touch or drift apart, I know each one of them left today feeling like they have, in eachother, a lifelong sisterhood. A small but trusted group who helped eachother out of the darkest place in their life.
Today I didn’t celebrate my 9th anniversary with my husband. I celebrated a new anniversary with my daughter. Today was her last day of weekly counseling. My brave young daughter has completed an intense 14 months of counseling. I am so very proud of her. I’m proud of her strength.
Today I celebrated the first anniversary of the completion of counseling with my daughter. Today I celebrated with my daughter. TODAY IS NOW AND FOREVER HER DAY.