In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A mothers wailing & a soft place to fall

Early in the morning, 5 years ago, while at a friends getting ready to leave for the day, a call came that would forever change me as a mother.

It was my middle daughter who still lived in Minneapolis. Her voice cracked and crumbled as she spoke softly to me. “She was raped Mom.” I didn’t think I had heard her correctly. She repeated words that cut through my soul. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t stand. In that moment, the horror of hearing that my youngest 18 year old daughter, who I moved to Minneapolis for college 2 months earlier has been raped,caused me to drop to the ground.

I did fall apart for a moment but living 2 hours from where my daughter was lying in a hospital bed, did not give me the luxury of staying in that place.

She put me on the phone with her. The only words I could make out through her sobs, were, “Please come Mom, please come…”

I immediately went back to my home so that I could head to Minneapolis and to wake up my youngest son to tell him what had happened to his sister. His rage tore open my broken heart. As he screamed, “I’m going to kill him!” over and over again, all I could do was cry.

My friend came immediately and drove me to her. These were 2 of the longest hours of my life.

The hospital had released her with my other daughter and they were now at their uncles, who was a police chief at that time. I am still thankful that she had such a safe place to go to.

I will never forget that moment of first seeing her and her pain. I wanted to hold her and never let her go. Ever. I have never in my life felt such rage. I have never wanted to kill someone as much as I did that day. Oh the horror this was to my mothers heart that had lived to protect her children from such horrors.

That night we lay in bed together in silence. Neither of us sleeping. Broken by her crying. My crying. Her broken voice asking me,” How long will it hurt like this?” “How long will I feel this dirty?”  “How long before I can close my eyes without seeing him?”

How do you answer such questions that hit so close to home? Sadly, I know the answers but I don’t answer.

How can I tell her that it might be a really long time? How can I tell her to not let him steal her life away when it was so fresh and raw?

I did my best to chase away the demons that fought to steal her away but I know I fell short.

The young man that raped her was an acquaintance through college. He was stupid enough to call her phone and leave messages about the rape which the police were able to take as evidence. It took less then a day for them to arrest him. I thought it would make me feel better to hear this but it didn’t. Nothing made this better. Nothing made this go away.

I went with her to talk to someone at her college. They were supportive and told her to take the time she needed. She was determined to go back sooner then later and not let this stop her. I brought her home with me and we didn’t know what to do. No one talks about what you do after something like this happens. No one tells a mother what to say to her daughter. We went to see a counselor. She grew tired of talking about it and just wanted to go back to her old life. So back to college she went.

The calls started coming at night. “I’m scared Mom.” “I can’t close my eyes without seeing his face.” “How long before I stop crying?”

The thing is before this happened she was happy and doing very well at college. She had made the decision to start in June instead of starting in the fall so she already had a good 2 months of college behind her. All of that changed. She couldn’t concentrate. She was fearful. She was all these things plus more. And what do you do when your life is falling apart? What do you do when your daughters life is falling apart?

Allow her to quit school? Allow her to move back home? To only then allow her to move even further away so that she could put even more distance between her and him and where it had happened?

I could I make her understand that you can run but you can’t hide?

I could love her and hold her and try to chase the demons away but I knew deep down that there really was nothing I could say or do. I did not have the power to fix  her booboo this time.

Facing my worst fears…of not being able to protect my children…”I was not able to protect my daughter”, screamed through my head over and over again.

When I was all alone in the privacy of my home, I allowed myself the luxury of wailing at the top of my lungs.

Fast forward to this young mans trial. Now mind you, this is the first time I see the young man that did this to her. He is from a country where raping women is common and nothing. His family fled that country to be free of that kind of violence. I wanted to come out of my skin. I wanted to scream obscenities at him. His family was also there. As soon as they started talking about the rape, his mother began to cry. You could see the shame written all over their faces.

Listening to the horrors of that awful night all over again made me feel like vomiting. It made me picture things I did not want to see.

When my daughter got her chance to speak to the court, I held my breathe. How gracefully she spoke and with such courage. His mother began to wail as she listened to my daughters painful words. I was so proud of my daughter and yet so sad for his mother and father and even for him, the one that had inflicted the crime.

His mothers wailing opened my eyes to the fact that I was not the only mother grieving and wailing over such an act. There are no winners in crime. Only losers. He stole a part of my daughter that can never be returned. He went to jail and now will have to register as a sex offender where ever he goes. His mother lost her son in many aspects. I lost a part of my daughter. Life will not ever be the same for him or my daughter.

Since then, grace and forgiveness have helped with the healing. My daughter is a woman of grace and courage. She refuses to hide in shame and will not allow it to silence her voice.

Still there are parts of her that are affected. I look at her and I can still see remnants of the harm this rape caused her. I know that in time she will deal with these things. In her time not mine.

There is a distinct different between the person she was before to the person she is now. Things like this change us.

I haven’t been as courageous as her. While she has been able to speak I have kept it locked inside. She has so wisely taught me that letting it out takes away it’s power.

The reality of not always being able to be there to protect one’s child is a nightmare for a mother. Facing that I wasn’t, has been a struggle. Now that it has happened to my child it is hard for me to put my guard down.

There are times when she is gone out and I lay  in the dark of the night and all I can do is pray through my fears. I pray no such horror finds any of my children or their children…or any children ever again.

The bottom line is this…we can not control the actions of other people…there are evil people in this world…we can teach our children how to be safe when we are not there…we can pray and pray for their safety…we can do all the right things and still bad things can happen to our children…and all we can really hope for is that if and when it does, that we, their parents, are their soft place to fall.

I hope with all my heart that I’ve been a soft enough place for my daughter to fall.

I thank my beautiful courageous daughter for allowing me to write this today. I know that without her help I would not be at this place today of being able to share it with you. Dear daughter, here’s to taking the power away.

Thank you dear friends for listening to me talk about an unpleasant subject.

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori


LPC said...

Oh I am so sorry. I hope your daughter feels better every day. It's easy to forget that this stuff happens, and that's wrong. I'm so sorry.

Brittany said...

With a tear streaked face, I comment.

Thank you for being my soft place to land.

THank you for allowing me to cry.

Thank you for allowing me to be angry.

Thanks for understanding.

Thanks for loving me.. no matter what.

You (and the rest of the family) made that day a little more "bearable".

I realized your pain that day, when the look in your eyes matched mine. We will forever share this unspoken bond. One I know you never wished for me to know.

God has a plan for us, I just know it.

I love you mom..

The Incredible Woody said...

I recently learned that a good friend of mine was raped 15 years ago. He was from a wealthy family. She was not. His family was prominent. Hers was not. Etc. Etc. Etc.

All those things led to him getting off scott free. She was scarred. And pregnant.

She was just a kid. And had no support from family. So she gave her beautiful daughter up for adoption.

I am thankful that she is the strong woman that she is. And she makes me glad to call her friend.

My Aimless Infatuation said...

(((HUGS)))God Bless you Both

Jeannie said...

This must have been incredibly hard for you. What is worst about sex crimes is that the victim takes on the shame of the offence. It is a long time before they can release it again. Even so, when the pain is gone , the scars are still there.

I hope you find some easing of your own pain. It is difficult to discover that you don't have the super powers to protect your children when everything in you feels that is your primary job.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Love and hugs to you both...Brittany is such a strong young lady, she is amazing.
She came from a strong and supportive wonderful.
I wish that bad things NeVER happened to good people...NEVER. I am so happy that she has made such a positive impact of so many people around her....and then some. amazing...simply amazing.
Love you both.

~Tom~ said...

When I read the original story on your daughter's page I was choked up. Seeing it from your point of view brought me to full blown tears. I have a daughter of my own....I pray to God she never has to experience this. I don't know that I could be as strong. May God bless you and Brittany and watch over you both no matter where you are in life.

Garnetrose said...

Oh, such a heart wrenching story. I feel so sad for you and your daughter. It is so hard having to deal with something like this. She is lucky to have you for a Mom. And you are lucky to have such a strong courageous daughter. God bless you both.

Kit Kat said...

I am just about bawling right now! My heart goes out to you and Brit! I love you both so much, and I just wish that anything could take the pain away.

Pseudo said...

My heart and prayers go out to both of you. I read your daughter's comment and she is a true gift, such a loving, strong, and courageous woman. I am so happy that you have each other.

Katherine said...

What a heart wrenching story to be told. I am so sorry. God bless you.

With love,
K x

Natalie said...

I don't know any good things to say right now. I do know that you guys have had your fair share of 'life' and that has made you compassionate and strong. These qualities may seem like the boobie prize, but I guess when you get to Heaven and they are handing out the wings, you two will be at the front of the line. ♥

Debbie said...

Lori...I am so sorry your daughter was violated in this way! I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for her and how heartbreaking it was for you to see her through this. I was raped at the age of 15 by a boy I had a crush on. He was 18. I never told anyone and just suffered in silence. I would never recommend that. I am so glad your daughter spoke up and got help and put that nasty man behind bars!! None of it's easy but after reading your daughter's comment just now...I want to cry. You are a WONDERFUL mom who has had a HUGE influence on your kids and grandchildren. What a heart you are a very special lady and Brittany knows it. ~,,~ God love her.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you both - both such strong women.

Life with Kaishon said...

This wa absolutely heartbreaking to read, Lori. I'm thankful for her strength.

Brian Miller said...

lori...i actually read this yesterday and it broke my heart...and the comment from your daughter...this should never happen...

Colleen: said...

Oh Lori. I don't know what to say. My heart just breaks to read this. I'm so very very sorry that our world is the way it is, that things like this happen to precious people we love. I don't really have the words right now but I pray for God's grace in your life and in your daughter's...I think something like this must just about tear your world apart. :(

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lori. How horrible for Brittany; how horrible for you - that is every mother's nightmare.

I am SO glad the animal who did this was caught, and will have the stigma of "sex offender" looming over him for the rest of his life.


Bina said...

I am so very, very sorry this had to happen to her, and to any woman. I had a friend this happened to and the guilt I felt was just horrible. I sometimes wonder if I think about that day, so very long ago, more than she does. She is a strong, loving, wonderful woman and I have no idea how she was able to get through it.

Your daughter is lucky to have such a wonderful mother like you.

Fragrant Liar said...

Yes, talking about horrible things takes away some of their power. So glad you threw caution to the wind and released some of your pain with this post. Your daughter is gorgeous and what a strong and courageous young mama she is, right? I know you are very proud of her. Fills my heart to know you have each other. Big hugs, Lori!

Buckeroomama said...

{{Hugs}} to both you and your daughter. I'm so sorry to read this even though this is in the past. I'm so glad that she has you and your family "to land on." I'm so glad that both of you are graced with strength and love to see you through trying times.

SciFi Dad said...

I'm just getting here now; I'm sorry both of you had to go through that. I cannot even imagine what I would do if this happened to my little girl.

Stella said...

I don't really have words...but I have lots of understanding and love to send your way.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing to give you but my tears. I'm awed by you and your daughter.

slommler said...

Love and courage...yes it takes that and so much more. What bravery! What grace! I wish no one had to live through live with this. But it happens over and over again. You are so right...there are evil people and try as we might...we can't fully protect our children from the night. Tis a terrible thing. And as she has said..God has a plan for true. We just need to hang on to that so we can see it.
Hugging you both

Gaston Studio said...

How horrible for you both Lori, but how couraageous of you both to decide to write about it and thereby, release just a tiny bit of the pain. I have 2 daughters and 1 granddaughter and will always pray for them to be safe from such predators.

Congrats on POTW and for sharing your innermost thoughts.

Zuzana said...

Very powerful post that I had to read twice today.
Congratulations on your POTW win, well deserved and very well written, despite the grave subject.

Travis Erwin said...

Kudos to you both on your strength and perseverance.

And congrats on a well deserved POTW nod.

Anonymous said...

I am speechless yet full of awe for you and your beautiful daughter.

Reb said...

Here via Hilary, congratulations on the POTW. It seems awkward to say that for such a heart wrenching post, but, it also took a lot of courage for you to write about it.

So many rapes go unreported and the perpetrators get away scot free, that I must say I am very glad that your daughter had the courage to report it and to go through with a trial.

I hope that every day that passes brings you both a measure of release from the pain and horror of that event.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi Lori, I've been on vacation and just now catching up on my reading. I'm stopping over from Hilary's and can see why she featured this stunning post.

With a big sigh I send love, prayers and hugs to you and your daughter.

xo jj