Hero Child

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
Table of Contents
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I won’t let go

we are out sailing—but the joyful trip
has become a frightening struggle to survive
the sailboat has turned over in a storm
filled with water it is lying on its side—drifting in a stirred-up sea
we cannot bring it back up

my father and sister are sitting on the exposed side of the boat
my brother and his friend stand on the mast floating on the water
I am in the water holding onto the rudder
I am supposed to turn the boat into the wind should it come up

I am in the water for an endless time
wave after wave rolls over me—my will to live disappears
I feel the desire to let go of the boat
to just drift away with the waves
my strength to withstand them is vanishing
I want to die

but I have two young children
I think of them—how can I let go
I cannot abandon them—I must live
my children need me—so I dare to speak up
I tell my brother that I need to sit on the boat too
I cannot drift in the stormy sea anymore
and—I may sit on the boat

the teenager once broke down laughing uncontrollably
when she heard the joke of a mother
who does not want her unborn child to live
so she follows her doctor’s advice
and eats ice, lots of it, constantly—upon the next visit
the doctor is surprised to find the child still alive
as he observes mother and child through an x-ray machine
the child in the womb clasps her arms around herself
over and over again—and with every move she says
hang in there—hang in there—persevere

how did the child, without letting go, survive wave after wave
of physical violence, accusations, condemnations
of hostile threats and deadly fear, torture and persecution?

how did the child, without giving up, survive
storm after storm of being blamed and judged
humiliated and punished
being put down and mocked with derision?

she drifted back and forth between hope and despair
they became the emotional poles of her life

when she gained what she considered love
she would get her head above water again
and ride back on the wave of hope into life

when worthlessness overwhelmed her
she submerged in that devastating darkness
where her wish to live vanished and all she could think was
I cannot live like that anymore
I want to be dead
please, let me die—this life is too hard
I want to let go

many times the child’s ordeal haunted the grownup woman
made her wish to leave this life behind

my love of life and of my children—and my friendships
gave me the strength to hold on
provided my determination—I won’t let go

© Barbara Rogers

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Screams from Childhood