I have written about grief before in an earlier blog post. When I wrote that piece, I thought that I was grieving and that soon it would be over. I was wrong.
I may have begun grieving but boy was I in no way near the end of it or through it.
How do I know this? Because now, right in this moment, I am grieving and it has hit me so much harder than I ever imagined it would.
In all honesty, I never ever imagined that I would grieve. The thought never crossed my mind that, one day, I would eventually grieve my mother, siblings and my nan. I certainly never thought I would grieve my stepfather. Grieving them never crossed my mind because they are very much alive. I naively thought of grieving as something you do when someone passes. It never entered my mind that I would ever grieve my childhood. How wrong I was.
My childhood was hell. A hell that I will never forget. I was tortured by people who were meant to protect me. Raped weekly, sometimes daily, by the man I called my father. Abused and beaten until I knew nothing else. It was the norm.
My family turned a blind eye. Instead of protecting me, they chose to beat me down emotionally until my voice was silenced. Until I believed the abuse was my fault.
My childhood was hell, but I knew nothing else. That was my life. No fun, or love, or laughter. Just pain and fear and shame. I did not know what I was missing, the feeling of love, because I had never had it. I did not know what love was, so how could I miss it?
Now I do know.
Since reporting my abuser and starting specialist therapy, I now know that my childhood was not normal as they made me believe.
Being touched as a young child was not normal. Being raped and having my virginity stolen from me as a child was not normal.
Being called a mistake, unwanted and unloved by my mother and her family was not normal.
Being told off and beaten for showing emotion and crying was not normal.
Hating myself, blaming myself, and cutting myself was not normal. Wounding and scarring myself piece by piece, punishing myself, was not normal.
My childhood was not normal. My childhood was hell. A hell I would not wish on my worst enemy. There should have been love, laughter, joy and happiness. There was only darkness.
Now, here I am, lost. An unknown heartache rising within me. Why wasn’t I loved? Why wasn’t I protected?
Suddenly, the realisation of what I missed out on, on what I have lost, hits me hard.
They stole my childhood. They stole my mothers love. The bond I should have had with her snatched away by the abuse and her desire to protect him. We share no love or happy stories. My mother, daughter, wedding photos forced so we could play happy families. We share no happy memories. No pyjama days or shopping days or cuddles of happiness. I have never felt a mothers unconditional love.
They stole my virginity and my innocence that first day he raped me for the first time. Losing my virginity should have been my choice, a happy choice. Instead it was theirs.
They stole my body. Each of my abusers taking a piece. Then every cut I made, each new wound, every new scar, another notch on their belt.
They took my right to feel. Too scared to show emotion, I bottled it all up. Never showing, never telling, never living.
They took my mind and my health.
Depression grew within me. Even now darkness still has control. Anxiety and PTSD rear their ugly heads created by those monsters. BPD confuses my mind and my heart. Too scared to feel and yet feeling so much. Medication keeping me alive.
Here I stand, suddenly knowing all I have lost. All that was taken from me.
In an instant I cannot breathe. Panic sets in once more. My chest hurts. It physically hurts. Every breath becomes harder. I am gasping for air.
Tears fill my eyes, but I am still too afraid to cry.
My head now pounding, I try to make it go away. I live two lives, pretending I am OK when inside my heart is silently screaming. “Help” I whisper. But no-one hears, no-one sees, no-one knows.
Grief feels like fear. The fear that something terrible is going to happen. The fear that if I stop, even for just one second, I will collapse into a blubbering mess on the floor. Unable to function. Unable to live.
My wounds, my pain, too much for my broken heart to face. Denial, anger, loss. Each “I cannot imagine…” from friends and professionals making my barely beating heart skip a beat. Despair and pain rise within me.
The pain and sadness never end. They just keep getting worse. I push them down but they come back, stronger and stronger. Harder for me to battle.
I feel like I am stood on train tracks, a speeding train getting closer and closer, but I cannot move. My feet are stuck to the rails, too heavy for me to lift. I can see the train getting closer. I know it is going to hit me at full speed, the pain will be unbearable, but still I cannot move. I have no choice, I will get hit and I will have to feel that pain.
I have no choice. I have to feel this. It is there and it will never go away, unless I allow myself to feel it.
I am terrified. I am going to break, I can feel it within me. The pain, the sadness, the anger, the betrayal, the fear, all becoming too unbearable to keep inside. Too big a weight to carry.
Grief is a process. One that I have to go through to heal. I have to be able to let go of the memories of my past and I can only do that by grieving my loss. I have to feel the pain, I have to feel the sadness, no matter how terrified I am.
We never get over grief, we only get through it. Eventually we learn to live with it because grief is the price of love.
I have to walk alone in my grief. For it is mine and only mine. But I need people to hold me up, for otherwise when I break I will not survive. This already hurts too much.
Grief never ends. It just changes. I will get through it and I will heal. I will rebuild but I will never be whole. For they have stolen too much from me.
I have to let my heart break. I have to let myself feel this pain and sadness and any other emotion that comes along because I deserve to grieve. I deserve to feel.
And anyway, the only true way to cure grief, is to grieve.
Thanks for reading
** Image courtesy of Google Images **