My mother was raised on a farm with 5 brothers and 10 sisters. One day she and I reminisced about what it was like for her to grow up in such a large family. She described her favorite memories were the mornings she got up early with her mother to bake bread, cake, and prepare soup for her brothers and Dad…
...we whispered our concerns in the evenings after the kids were asleep. Day after day we waited for something to happen; more evidence to surface, another phone call, victims coming forward. And most of all hoped and prayed for our safety when 'that something' did happen.
I visualized a spider scampering across the floor toward me and in one stomp, I squished it. I squeezed my eyes closed, squeezed the handle of the phone, and squeezed my lips shut to control the urge to scream out what I thought about him,
At first I felt ashamed I accused Ivan of being my abuser, until I read his closing paragraphs warning me and my family to stay out of his private life or else. His abrupt and authoritative demand seemed familiar.
The anchor was set. I was convinced that I could and I would, conquer this crisis. I just didn’t know what that journey would look like. But I was ready to battle on behalf of my children and willing to participate in stopping Ivan’s crime spree.
Part II of my narratives written about the Alligator in the Ocean crimes will illustrate what anchored the wind to change and how the shift of power fell from the perpetrators clutches and placed into the hands of his victims.
It was the weekend we took the kids to pick out a Christmas tree, December 1986. It rained that day and I hoped we could postpone our adventure until the weather improved. But two enthusiastic children and a determined husband, out voted me. The tree would be found, cut down, placed in the living room and decorated before the weekend ended.
In the quiet of the evenings, after the kids went to bed, I sat with my husband and shared my journal entries. We cried together and discussed countless questions we had no answers for. Finally we concluded we needed help deciding if and when I would confront Ivan.
Fear and doubt greeted me each morning. As I got out of bed, it felt like my wading shoes were glued to my feet. But I took the clumsy steps forward, waded passed the fear and doubt, and found time to write. Even if I wrote one sentence, it helped lighten the emotional load.
As I stand on the banks of the river and pause, it reminds me of when I found my hidden past. Fear caused me to doubt that what lie ahead would enrich my life—a life freed from debilitating fear and anxiety. I just wasn’t sure I could handle what I was afraid of.
After I prayed, it felt like I fell within myself, tipped on my side. My arms flailed. I reached out to slow my descent but had no control. I continued to fall until a cushion encapsulated me. I felt a presence of peace surround me.
I looked over Dr. Barone’s chair at the book case against the wall. I studied each book, their color, size, shape and admired the order they were placed in. It reminded me of the bookshelf in Idaho. Then I saw it--in my mind's eye.
Talking about the times Mom was a way from home and in the hospital, evoked sadness, disappointment, and even fear, I couldn't explain. My insides stirred uncomfortably as if I wondered into deep waters. The heaviness of dread returned. Why did I re-visit this portion of my life?
Autumn arrived with no answers. The cycle of dread hijacked my thoughts and the lingering concern for Hannah’s odd behavior while visiting relatives haunted me. The demands of being a stay-at-home mom to three children, under the age of four, fell to the forefront. But unresolved issues from the past continued to haunt me.