I’ve had to learn to struggle through much suffering in my life. In the night hours, it slept with me and tortured my sleep. When I woke up, it was the first thing to greet my day before even the sunshine had time to say hello. Learning to fight with suffering was something I had to learn to do. Without it, I would still be living with the agony of defeat.
I must’ve been four years old the day my mother drove away and left me alone, on 40 acres, with a dead women buried in a sink hole down in our field. “Why would she do this,” my mind screamed as she drove away. I had already endured her and my father’s sexual assaults, then, watched a woman be brutally raped and then murdered; did she want me to suffer more?
What else could the verdict bring?
Suffering upon suffering, layer upon layer, the piling of pain continued through my upbringing. It seemed the burden my parents wanted me to carry never lessened, rather, I was always burdened with more.
Circa 1969, I can still see my mother and sisters preparing to leave our home that morning to make the long journey into town for groceries. I could sense she was ignoring me. “Why wasn’t she telling me to get ready, too,” I reasoned. My mother opened the door to leave and called out to my two sisters. My name was not among them. My brother and father were already gone for the day and I knew she wouldn’t leave me alone, would she?
The door shut. She never called for me to join them. I ran to the large picture window and sat up on the back of the couch, leaning desperately in to see if I could find her remembering that she’d forgotten to call my name. The car doors slammed, she backed out of the driveway and drove away. As I watched the dust cloud rise over the graveled road, I still believed she’d come back for me.
She never came back.
Why? I was just a little girl that endured their mania. Hadn’t I already given enough to her? I guess I hadn’t.
Suffering is a tool of life, one I had to fiercely grieve, in order to continue without it. Suffering is one of those things that you don’t just put away. There is no compartment big enough to contain it. No backpack pocket I could find to house it away in.
The agony of suffering is so real, so painful, so long and so dark, I tried with all my might to outrun it. Believe it wasn’t real. That proved an impossible feat. No matter how many layers of denial I painted on my life, it’s voice rang through.
That was yesterday. I’m winning that battle today.