What the hell was wrong with him?! He was such a pessimist! Many times his large blue presence plodded through my life, basically telling me to get over it. “Life’s not fair” don’t ya know? I nicknamed him Eeyore.
He worried a lot. “Don’t trust no son of a bitch”. “You can always come home, don’t let anyone ever convince you that you can’t” Say what? Man, he was so intense. Pre-social media bullying and common knowledge of predatory behaviors, that was a pretty heavy discussion to have. He didn’t want me to be vulnerable. He was on call 24/7 if I needed him. He was there.
He knew life could shovel some shit on us, and he was there to help dig us out.
In my case the shit storm didn’t hit until much later. I grew up and hugged my plush blue Daddy goodbye. I married a sweet man and was mother to four precious children. I tried to be more optimistic than Daddy, but I was still protective. And all was well until one day I unknowingly broke a rule, I trusted a son of a bitch.
We moved to a new community and a new church. We were introduced to the 28-year-old pre-school Sunday school teacher Mark. Notably, the children were hesitant. Other parents jumped in, “He is so good with children!” Reassured by the parents who had known him his “whole life”, we reassured the kids and sent them in. I brushed the faint gut check and echo of Daddy’s warning away.
I don’t know exactly when the art coming from the preschool class changed from the kids bringing out carefully constructed crafts of plastic cup water wells to dark drawings of despair but it did change. The bright colors in the pictures were gone. The drawings of pretty princesses all had black hearts. And the kids were not exactly acting like princesses either. I really didn’t know how to corral them; they were randomly ransacking their rooms. Tantrums and hitting were ever escalating. They were miserable. I was losing my temper. I didn’t want to be mean to them, but I was losing it. I started counseling. My kids were so sad.
I blamed myself. I began to think the whole family would be better off without me. I was drowning. The truth is, I thought seriously about suicide. Intermittently I thought if I was gone, my husband could remarry a perfect wife and mother, one who could make them all happy. I thought I was the cause of my children’s despair. I checked in with the counselor and was honest. I was not admitted to the hospital because there was no one else who could take care of the children. I did start on medication and kept in close contact with my counselor. While at her office, I picked up some coloring books that taught children about safe touch. About three weeks later, I decided to pull the books out and let one of my daughters color. She told me how the teacher touched her. I listened, internally freaking out, but externally remaining calm. I let her talk and “tell me more”. And she did.
Recovery is an agonizing process, but it is better than the alternative. We spent many years in individual and family counseling. At its worst, we almost lost one of our children to suicide but she responded well to a brief hospitalization. And Eeyore, of course, was the first to visit there because we needed him. By his comforting presence, he was telling us everything would be ok.
Jael represents strength to me. She recognized the evil in her midst, took decisive action and saved a generation. Read more from Jael’s Voice here.