January 18 is my 15 year anniversary date. It seems like it was a lifetime ago. Once in awhile it seems like it was yesterday. Survivors of sexual assault, rape or other trauma understand my point. During my time of healing my daughters have grown up. Learning how to let them lead their own lives has been tough. They both have some special needs health challenges. Combine that with a mother who is a rape survivor and I'm sure they'll have plenty of baggage to keep a therapist employed. j/k.
In my healing from sexual assault I've pushed myself beyond the limits. Growing up, my mother prepared me to drop out of school, raise a "passel" of kids (however many that is) and to fail in most areas of life. Then, I married and found happiness. Therapy helped me learn to live for the first time. Then, I became a survivor. When that happened my anger fueled my healing and helped me reach farther, dig deeper and become stronger.
This past year has been an amazing ride. I drove to Alaska from Tennessee with my daughter. Going across Canada and back through the US was the trip of a lifetime. In November, I spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in DC. The same daughter was with me for that. I wish my younger daughter could have come but she couldn't get out of classes. It was an incredible experience.
But sadness has touched my life once again. When I became a survivor 15 years ago my mother was battling cancer. The mother of a friend of mine helped me greatly. She had also partially raised me, took me to high school when my mother would not and was there for the key events of my life - including helping me with the sexual assault.
This month, we found out that she now has cancer. At this point there are more questions than answers. She is a dynamic and dynamite lady. My heart is sad for her and for her family. Please keep her in your prayers.
This has brought a lot of things up for me that I faced so long ago. Today, we are bombarded with images of suffering in Haiti. I wonder how I can complain when this country is facing such a struggle. Then, I look back through the pages of my life and know that I cannot and will not complain. The fact is that evil happens, bad things happen and life isn't perfect - darn it!
But I also know that love overcomes pain. Hope overcomes sorrow. Sunrise follows sunset. This used to be cliches for me but they aren't anymore. Now they are treasures to hold dear. I hope that you hold them dear too.