This is for you, S. You know who you are.
This is for the agony you suffered; for the crippling burden on your children.
This is for the doubt, the terror, the despair. For the hours you worried. For the days you lost.
Decades ago, before I knew anything, before I understood what life had brought for me and to me, I left a chaotic home much like the chaotic home of your married life, my dear S. I went into the city and cast my lot with a man who twisted the days until they trapped me. Though I finally saw through his treachery, I carried its madness with me as I fled.
But I was not what he did to me; those things happened to me.
He victimized me but I am not a victim.
Before that, in the early days when I still lived in the tumult of my childhood home, I cast around for someone to trust. I found a teacher who saw my exposed underbelly and tore through it with a sharp blade. It would take over twenty years for me to take a stand against his betrayal, but I did it.
I suffered but I was not that suffering. What he did was what he did. It did not define me.
So hear this, my friend. Though you endured much, and not one shred of remorse came your way, those things do not constitute the essence of your being. You are not what happened to you; you are the person who experienced those events.
You are a mother; you are a woman; you are a person. Your complexity stands untarnished. You rise above those brutal days.
There may be a reckoning for the one who abused you and your children. You need not wait for that reckoning. Journey on.
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the thirty-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.