Screams from Childhood - Walls

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
Table of Contents
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never again

for years I suffered when I traveled
always right before or on the day of my trip I would get ill
and often during my trip too

the days before I had to leave—filled
with unbearable tension and restlessness
with apprehension and fears about leaving and going away
I became anxious, agitated, easily irritated, even desperate
it was terribly hard for me to separate from people or places

I am about to go on my first trip since I have entered therapy
I arrive for my last session the day before I leave
full of anxiety all I can say is—I feel horrible—I am filled with fear
I feel as if I have lost my center
my therapist says—your father used to travel a lot
it was hard for you when he went away
this is how you felt as a child
I answer—but I had my own life later as a teenager
then my father was not important to me anymore
the doctor responds—your father meant life to you

as I hear these words I burst into tears
I cry for a long time as I have never cried in my life
as I walk out of his office I realize that my center is back

on the first night of the trip that follows
I have a nightmare which awakens me terror-stricken
in the kitchen of the house where I last lived in Germany
I have put my mother in a garbage bag—then a garbage press
at the end of the dream I sit on my kitchen bench
and look at this garbage bag in front of me that contains
my compressed mother—and I don’t know what to do with it
the first dream I ever had about my mother fills me with horror

during this trip I get very ill with a severe ear infection
my brain is obsessed with fear and worrying
will I make it back in time for my next session?

when I finally return I am so angry and upset that I cannot talk
my therapist says—this is how a child feels when it is left behind
how did your children react when you went away?

I remember how often my children cried when I returned
even after just a few hours—and the baby-sitter would say—
they were fine until now
I remember with painful regret and rage those three days
when my oldest son had to stay in a hospital in Germany
he was only two years old—I was not allowed to visit him
—when he saw me again he turned away from me

here on the doctor’s couch, all these years later
I understand my son’s reaction
as I feel the child’s pain over devastating separations

in my therapy and in my life
every separation, every loss of a relationship
brought up Hotto’s leaving with excruciating pain
as a severe trauma of my childhood

the child is still waiting for Hotto—full of disbelief
silently, horrified and petrified
her eyes are still watching Hotto leave and disappear
the grownup woman I am becoming can hold this girl
understand her and bear her screams

to avoid being hurt like this again the child made two vows
—never again would she let anyone be close to her
—and never again would she trust the feeling of love

© Barbara Rogers

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Screams from Childhood