Here we are at the end, for now, of my wellness declaration journey with you. As mentioned in previous articles, the journey has taken us through multiple cascading adventures with a body that was breaking down but also a promise of wellness to come . . . if I would just “trust” and commit my life to the wellness declaration I made over 30 plus years ago. In part 4, I mentioned one of two poisons to be faced. With the first poison I discovered the world of dentistry in a whole new light, as I had the amalgams removed in my mouth and experienced further acceleration of healing and wellness.
Now it’s time to revisit the other poison I mentioned in part one that reached deep into my heart and soul. Believe me, what began to surface in 1987 was harder for me to face than anything I went through thus far. I was about to regain my lost childhood memories. Having no memories of the childhood abuse for much of my young adult life, I woke up one day with a flood coming at me. Amazingly, for some reason I was ready to face this one. It was like every battle I faced up to this point was my “trust” training ground for what was ahead.
Yes, I definitely resisted believing and accepting initially. My first thought was “It’s just my imagination turning into nightmares.” I promptly ignored it all until one day I was again watching a TV program and a family therapist was being interviewed about her childhood abuse. I turned it off. The next month, same program…there she was again telling her story. I turned it off. The next month, there she was again! I had a choice to make. Was I willing to step in, willing to trust with this? I knew I wouldn’t hear Jan Frank’s story for a long time. I said yes, listened, and cried alone for three days.
My family didn’t know what was happening. The pent up emotions, grief, and the ugliness of the initial memories flooded through me. The Pollyanna world I lived in was shattered. But something else also started. The irony and wonderful mystery of it all was I felt free like I never felt in my life. That little girl was let loose from her prison and poison, and was growing up!
I was beginning to “trust” at a deeper level I never felt brave enough to try. But this time was different. I then got up the courage to tell my husband. He simply said “I always knew it was true. I love you.” I then called my sister. Her heart just couldn’t hear at first, but later she apologized and said to do whatever necessary to get through this.
Memories of my home life came in waves, both good and bad. I remembered how Sundays were the safest days, with barbeques, some laughter, and playing with my sister and brother. Other days were filled with locked bedrooms and bathrooms, and hiding in closets whenever I heard steps coming my way.
As pieces of my past continued to surface, I began to also realize how the response to my husband, my own children, and friends were influenced by my childhood. There were so many walls of protection I helped erect to keep from risking and trusting. As a child, those walls of forgetfulness and fantasy were a vital way some children escape without being able to physically run away.
Each of us as children respond in a way suited to our own experience and temperament. Working with Jan Frank made all the difference toward becoming whole in every area of my life. In Jan Frank’s book, Door of Hope, she summarized the different ways our memories respond to trauma—repressed (no memory at all), suppressed (remember an incident but then forgets everything), oppressed (remembers the trauma but thinks it is resolved). Frank’s practical approach to this painful and, unfortunately, controversial issue brings clarity to the steps taken to heal the heart. Her book and counseling practice followed these steps:
Step 1. Face the problem
Step 2. Recount the incident
Step 3. Experience the feelings
Step 4. Establish responsibility
Step 5. Trace behavioral difficulties and symptoms
Step 6. Observe others and educate yourself
Step 7. Confront the aggressor
Step 8. Acknowledge forgiveness
Step 9. Rebuild self-image and relationships
Step 10.Express concern and empathize with others
These steps must not be taken lightly and without counsel. Lives can be destroyed if one just superficially tries to follow these steps. This is not like baking a cake! Lives are deeply involved. The goal is restoration of the whole person and the family/persons involved.
For me, my Dad had already passed away at the time I was getting help. My mother was still with us and struggled saying anything negative about Dad. As I worked through the steps and found a nearby counselor I felt safe with, opportunities came in later years to confront Mom with love and respect alongside my husband, sister, and brother. The healing of family and my own heart continued through the years. With those years and loving patience, my Mom experienced seasons of forgiveness, love, and peace at her passing.
Today, I couldn’t count how many miracles I have witnessed in my marriage, my children, my sister and brother, and so many others who took this journey with me. And the journey continues with other more recent challenges offering me another opportunity to “trust” and commit to my wellness declaration of 30 plus years ago. No matter what, it’s a good and grateful life!
Thank you for hearing my story. As you continue your wellness journey, my prayer and hope is you also find your way to “trust” God toward seeking, reaching, and achieving your wellness declaration. May you and your family truly experience your own Wellness Declaration in every area of your lives. Today is your new day.