My parents are taking time to allow the person who abused me into their home. They have told me he is coming to let me know not to come over while he is there. They will let me know when he is gone. The abuse was so long ago.
Now the early morning sun is slowing rising above the edge of a passing cloud bank. The cloud filtered light shines across to the western mountains, making it appear as if the light is emerging from them rather than resting on them.
The February temperature is unseasonably warm, turning the snow granular. A few days ago, it was so hard packed from freezing temperatures I could walk across it and not sink in. I didn't need snowshoes. On this morning's walk I wore snowshoes and pushed and slid in the grainy looseness.
Now I sit here watching the filtered light, thinking of the pending visit of my cousin, the abuser, to my parents.
What is the capacity of a heart to allow such an occurrence? How is it that we humans still live together on this planet, in this world, when we harm each other so?
I reside here in this rural place. Away from bustling civilization. I spend long portions of my days out in the fields and forest where no other humans frequent. My footprints in the snow the only human footprints for miles.
The landscape is my companion. It is what receives me. It is what forms me and informs me as I stand at the crest of the low hill in the middle of the field and lean into the raging wind from the northwest. I am buffeted and strengthened by that which assails against me, just as I have been buffeted and strengthened by the trials and terrors of life that have assailed against me. The abuse happened so long ago.
My being is strong and supple from my willingness to look the terror straight in the eyes so I can differentiate it from me. It happened to me. It is not me. It injured me and caused deep harm. It is not my fault, yet it became my responsibility to manage the effects, the fallout, the reverberations.
As I stand leaning into the wind, my body responds to the reverberations of the buffeting. I feel my muscles contract and soften as I stand my ground, sturdy and fluid, letting the current of the wind find its way around me; wrap itself around me and hold me in place, helping to me to know my ground.
The years of holding on to survive. The fight to find the path to healing, which my feet have been on all my life. Now I feel it. I trust its presence under my feet. I feel the healing, the mending in my cells. The abuser is still alive, yet he is not alive in me anymore.
I don't know what he is to my parents, other than related by blood. There seems to always be some sort of place for that relation. It is strange. I know there is strain there for them. The abuse happened so long ago. It happened without them knowing about it for years.
They don't truly know how deeply it harmed me. They don't know the true arduousness of the journey to healing. I don't know their wounding from it.
Now we are here in this place. The abuser’s mother, my father's sister, a few days dead. The abuser is gathering photos. Wants to show them to my father, the family and town historian, perhaps to know who all the people are or where the photos may have been taken. The abuser’s sister is also coming. As a buffer? I don't know.
These are the events of the morning. The sun is covered by another bank of clouds. Light trails of slow rain run down the window as I look out across to the mountain, now gray in the morning with patches of white snow visible through the bare trees.