Hero Child

 
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Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
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Published by Barabara Press
   

 

telling the truth heals
written in 2002

I was five months eighteen
when I told my mother that I got engaged
as we walked to the favorite family restaurant by the sea
she responded—when you speak with your father
don’t say I am engaged
you have to ask—may I please become engaged

I still see myself walking along the harbor with my father
—how I loved the harbor—the ships—the sea—
when I told him I was engaged his answer was
you have kissed someone before
you know what the great love of your life is

the following weekend my fiancé came to the island
to ask formally for my hand—as my parents had demanded

my parents asked to sleep on it
the next day they said—you are too young, but we approve
you can marry him—just wait a few months until the wedding

those seven months became difficult and painful
they were filled with anxiety, sleeplessness, drugs—the accident
shortly before the wedding my mother asked me one day
are you not doing well because you don’t want to marry this man?

you just made sure you said something, mother
so that you would carry no responsibility for this marriage
which was so obviously a problem from the start
your question was too little—too late
you covered your traces, created an alibi
so that in the end you were without blame
because you had said something—at least once
but your question did not even scratch
the surface of the iceberg of despair built up inside of me

your question did not want an answer
it was meant to cover your traces
the truth was not your priority

years later—I was almost fifty—
the scar of my hysterectomy remained for years
a scabby crust—dark brown and ugly
called “the angry scar” by my acupuncturist

until I sent my letter to you and told you, my mother, the truth

after that the scar healed dramatically
every month more of its dark crust disappeared

you claim that I tell a lie about my father
and lecture me that speaking up is silver but silence is gold
but that is not true—to speak up brings gold
—the gold of health and sanity—
because my body healed after I told you, my own mother
the truth

it was the scariest thing I ever did
I was so used to mothering you—while taught to ignore
my need to have my mother on my side
listening to me, believing me, comforting me

the darkness has disappeared from the scar
which has turned into a fine, light line

and darkness has lifted from my life

© Barbara Rogers

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Screams from Childhood