Past abuse doesn't have to claim on your future

The other day I saw a photo of a lady who meant a lot to me. She passed away a few years ago. To this day I remember how she looked right before she died.

The photo that I'm referencing was taken when the lady was young and just beginning her family. From the day the photo was taken to the day she passed away she looked like she hadn't aged a day. Most of the time that statement is a complement. Not this time.

That's because she already looked much older than her years dictated. Missing is the radiance that most new mothers have. Gone is the expression from her face. Instead, she stands limply beside her husband. She resembles a rag doll or robot much more than she does a young woman.

Looking at the photo breaks my heart. I have heard the stories of abuse that she suffered while growing up. She used to say that she found healing in her marriage. Looking at the photo makes me wonder if she ever found what she was looking for.

There was help available but she wouldn't take it. Our relationship spanned more than a decade. She talked about counseling and knew it was there. Stubbornness kept her from trying counseling and I think that's what I mourn for her the most.

But, the decision to try counseling rested solely with her. Even though I feel that it might have helped it was her decision and hers alone. I encouraged her and I don't judge her. She was a wonderful person. I'm sad for her because, even though she was liked, her relationships with her family and friends suffered.

Abuse might have claimed your past but it has no right to your future. If you are free from abuse don't be her. If you think that counseling might help don't be afraid to try it. Crisis centers and shelters often have counseling and mental health centers offer it on a sliding scale. It might just help.

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