Hero Child

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
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life and death

Germany 1985

when I return to Germany after six years abroad
I must live close to my parents again
the first year has passed—I am thirty-five years old

before a summer trip my parents come to visit
my mother catches me alone in the kitchen—with her bitter voice
she reproachfully pours her poison of guilt over me
now that you don’t take care of me anymore
I at least had expected you to take care of your sick, old father

stunningly to both of us
my reaction is not fear or obedient submission anymore
but anger, which lets me say quietly but firmly
my relationship with my father is my own business
and I cannot have any more personal conversations with you

my husband wonders why my mother has left crying
and why he can see hatred in my eyes

but then the terror of the child returns—I dared to contradict
I tremble from severe anxiety all night—I cannot sleep
no tranquilizer can calm the terror upsetting every cell of my body
and I remember expressing early in therapy
that there is a fight for life and death between my mother and me

in the morning, after a sleepless night, my father calls
Ritzka, how are you—is all he says

upon hearing his voice and these words
my trembling, terrorized cells calm down
all my fear disappears instantly as I am filled with the security
that I can disagree with my mother—and am safe

© Barbara Rogers

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Screams from Childhood