There we were, my hubby, Van and I standing at my rapist’s grave. Sept. 23, 2017. I brought him there because I wanted him to “meet” the man that changed my life, the man who flipped my young 15-year old’s world upside down, the man who stole my self-worth, broke me and made me silently scramble for 25 years to figure out how to put this brokenness back together.
As I stood there in my husband’s arms I asked him what he thought of Sam? He replied how I’m sure most husbands would. I looked at Van and said, “You know what I realized along my journey of healing from Sam’s rape and I wanted you to realize too? I realized that if it wasn’t for what he did to me I wouldn’t have you. I wouldn’t have the last 20 years with you and our beautiful relationship.”
You see, I was set on getting married in the Mormon temple and Van is definitely not anything close to Mormon. He’s not even religious in the slightest. He wouldn’t have been someone I would have given a chance because he couldn’t marry me in the temple. If Sam hadn’t raped me, Van and I wouldn’t be together and I would have missed out on the last 20 years with my soulmate.
Without Sam raping me, I wouldn’t have the strength, the determination that I have. I wouldn’t have all the great qualities that have made me the strong, determined, kind person I am today.
At this moment standing at his grave with the love of my life, a white feather went floating by. A sign of an angel being there and I smiled.
I had come to Sam’s grave today to talk to Sam. I was ready and it was time! I asked Van if he could give me a few minutes alone with him. He agreed and went to our car to wait for me.
I sat down next to his headstone and rested my hand on it. I remembered how it felt the first time I was here. How angry I was that his headstone said “Loving Son, Father, Brother, Uncle and Friend. Much Loved” How I thought they missed a title, RAPIST!
It was all different now. I looked at the words on his headstone and thought, that’s exactly how I want your parents, kids, family and friends to remember you. A loving part of their life.
I pulled out the letter that I had written to him and read it. I won’t go into details about what was written, but it ended with me telling him I forgive him. I don’t know how it works on the other side, but I’ve done the work I’ve needed to within me to heal, to be at peace and to forgive him. Now it’s time for him to do the work on the other side to forgive himself. If it’s true that we come back to earth again learning from our past mistakes I hope that Sam learned a valuable lesson and will never do this to anyone else ever again.
I walked back to the car and Van looked at me, “You ok?” I looked into his eyes and said, “I’m fine. I feel like a heavy weight has been lifted. I’m so happy that I did the work and was able to get to the point of forgiving Sam, something I never thought was possible nor was it ever a goal. It just happened by doing the work to heal myself.”
Van replied, “You’re a better person than I am, I couldn’t do it if it happened to me.” I smirked, “You don’t know that. You haven’t walked in these shoes.”
I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but I’m so thankful that I stopped shoving this down, stopped keeping it a secret all of these years and I finally faced it head on. Healing beyond the grave, finding my voice, my strength and ultimately forgiveness along this crazy journey.
I hope this inspires you to face and heal whatever is hurting you, whatever is holding you back in life, holding you back from becoming the person you were meant to be.
Hugs from my heart to yours.
P.S. Silence is a predator’s best friend. TALK, TALK, TALK then TALK some more! Together we prevent sexual abuse 🙂