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Ask the Band: Grieving After Abuse

Dear The Band,

I was sexually abused as a child from age 5 to 8 by my babysitter’s son who was 10 yrs older than me.

I didn’t tell anyone until I was 10 and blocked the bulk of it out until college.

I just found out that the babysitter passed away earlier this week.

I don’t feel anything about her passing

I am sorry for her daughter and all of her grandkids. But there’s really nothing there.

Am I wrong for feeling like this?

Wednesday Preamble

The Band is somewhere you can share all the things that you don’t feel safe sharing anywhere else. You know that. This week’s focus post is no different. We feel compelled to warn you all that this week is focused on a deep-set grief and may be triggering for some who are still deep in their own grief. For that reason, if you feel unable to process any more hurt, please, just for this Wednesday, look away. The writer’s pain is palpable and her words raw and we felt called to share it but not without much consideration. More on that later. Today, know that we care deeply for each person that visits the site and want you to take good care of yourselves.

Lots of love,

Stacey + Becky

13 Is My Happy Number

We at The Band do understand that a lot of our subject matter can be very dark and dense. This, however, is not a story of sadness, but of rebirth, finding a place in the world, and knowing just how valuable you are. 
We encourage each of you to tell us one of your stories – happy or not.
This is her incredible journey:

13 has always been my happy number.

Today is no different.

13 years ago today I left my first, abusive marriage. I didn’t know where I was going, what I was doing, or how I was going to survive or take care of my two boys (and their sister who was due in five months. But I did know this: the best place for all of us was NOT with their father.

Leaving was the first hard decision I’ve made as an adult, the first time I felt like an adult, the first time I ever felt like I had the ABILITY to make a decision for myself or my children.

a photo of carnival people on swings

Life after his abuse was not an easy time. it was easily one of the three hardest times I’ve ever experienced in my life.

I am so thankful that a support system came out of the woodwork when I needed it and helped us get through the transition and helped me feel secure enough in my choice to leave that I didn’t end up going back.

I can’t imagine where my children or I would be today if we hadn’t had that.

Mike and I met shortly after that fateful day, in a chatroom. Two years later on August 20th we found out we were having a baby! Baby Eliza blessed us with her presence on April 21st.

I know that it’s no coincidence that today would also have been my father-in-law’s birthday, may he rest in peace. I wish I’d had the chance to meet him.

Today has so many memories, meanings and significance for all of us. This is truly a day we will all cherish forever.

a crowd of people hands shaped into a heart

13 happy years of freedom, 12 years knowing my true love, and so many other memories. Amazing memories.

Before, After, and Between.

Today is a good day every year, and always will be.

How about you? Do YOU have a happy or lucky number or thing?

Ask the Band: Depression and My Son

It’s time yet again for another “Ask The Band” Friday post! We are always gratefully accepting new submissions for the burning questions you may want us to help you answer. You can submit through this link or anonymously through this link.

Dear The Band,

If anyone could share some helpful hints or ideas for my Ask The Band question, I would be ever so grateful.

I have a 20 year old child who is suffering from major depression. As a result he sleeps all day and night, isn’t able to work, and if he does get a job, he only keeps it for short periods of time.

His depression has been getting worse and worse since graduating from high school. Shortly thereafter, his dad and I separated and are now divorcing. That’s a lot for one kid.

My sweet son is a very empathic, old soul, and a lost soul who’s is not adjusting well to life after high school. He misses being surrounded by his friends now that he’s in the adult world. See, he was the one everyone went to for help and now no one is even looking for his friendship anymore.

I know that he has a myriad of other contributing factors that set him up for this depression and the divorce isn’t helping.

I’m typically a tough love, in your face, suck it up buttercup type. That said, I have also struggled with severe depression, so I know the ropes.

I’ve tried to give him tips and ideas of things to try and he refuses my advice. He’s not trying anything to improve his situation.

If anyone has anything to add or ideas to try to help him, it would be greatly helpful and appreciated.

Thank you, The Band, for everything.

A Letter to My Younger Self

This month on the Band, we’re sending letters to our younger selves – it’s important and it’s freeing. So please, go ahead and submit your own! (you can even do it anonymously)

We are ALSO looking for stories of brain injuries and other problems with the brain, by request, so please, let us know if you’d like to share.

Dear Younger Me,

I can see you so clearly in my memory. Snuggling up with him in a bean bag chair, watching Duck Tales. Making Chewbacca noises at each other, louder and softer, higher and lower, but always laughing about it. Chocolate pudding to get him to take his medicine. Stroking his hair while he seized, and he seized a lot.

I can see it change you. It made you resilient. It made you strong. It made you selfish and afraid. It made you paralyzed damn near thirty years later when your own daughter had a seizure. Even after helping through thousands of them, you panicked. It’s okay, you told yourself, and you meant it. It’s still okay, with hindsight. I would still panic now. You never wanted children because of him. You were afraid of what you would have to do if they were like him. But his wasn’t a genetic condition. It was the result of a brain injury either shortly before or after birth. Maybe it was a stroke before he was even born. Or the high fever after one of his vaccinations. All theories welcome, because we’ll never actually have the answer.

You lived in anticipation of the next Big Bad, and while you had many good things happen, you can’t shake that feeling. Waiting for the next thing to happen. It’s okay. They will, you know, they will happen. And you will meet them all as they do.

Loved you then, love you now, love you always (even when we forget for a minute).

Me.