2007 STORY #29: SOMETHING HORRIBLE CAN BRING SOMETHING GOOD
If someone would have told me an event as horrific as September 11, 2001 would change my life, I would have never believed it. It’s sad in some ways to think that September 11th was good for me. I worked across the street from the World Trade Center and was able to escape the area prior to the buildings falling. The trauma from that day was unbearable, however. As it turned out, the trauma from that day brought on nightmares from my sexual abuse by a priest when I was 11 years old.
In the weeks after September 11th I was looking for something in my life, and actually found myself back in a Catholic Church. Within four months, I had become friendly with the parish priest and turned to him about my history of sexual abuse. He helped me by finding where my abuser was, and by attending meetings with bishops and promoters of justice. He walked with me through the whole ordeal, he heard my story, he believed me, and he fought with me and for me.
During this whole process, I also found an outstanding therapist. Through her guidance she helped me to take ownership of my abuse, accept it, and live with it. This, of course, was not always an easy task. I was with my therapist for four years. During this time, many tears were shed, much anger was expressed, and a lot of sadness about the childhood that I lost was all dealt with. I have to say though, I’m not sure any of this would have taken place if September 11th had not occurred. I often wonder if I still would have been ready at that time to deal with the first most traumatic thing that occurred in my life. I’m glad it happened, because for twenty-five years I held it all in. I remembered every day that I was abused, and felt I just could never tell anyone. I never thought that anyone would believe me. I’m grateful I found two people who did believe and were in positions to help me to begin my healing process. I’m grateful to my family and friends who were supportive during the few really bad years of the beginning healing process. I’m grateful for my husband who stuck with me through it, not really understanding it all, but listening when I needed him to.
Most of all, I am grateful to be alive and to have learned how to accept the bad dreams that still haunt me at times, to understand that I can move ahead, and to be able to accept that being abused actually helped to mold me into the person I am and to own the fact that I am in charge in my own life!