This is a heart wrenching account of a fierce mama, Amazon Mom (name changed) who does the right thing and suffers immensely for it. This is one of the bravest accounts I have ever heard of. May we all protect our children the way Amazon Mom has. (Aside, she said she’s Amazon Mom not because of the online giant, but because of being a warrior!)
Today is the 3-year anniversary of walking into the most horrific scene of my life. I’ve never told the full story in such a public forum even when I’ve had the burning desire to tell it so that people can learn and be educated on abuse/trauma/etc. I had to keep my mouth shut the first year because of legal proceedings. I’ve kept it shut since then because I’m aware I am not the only one affected by this event and I wanted to be sensitive to the other people involved. Even though these other people hurt me just as much if not more than the abuser by their reactions, actions or lack of actions.
It was my grandfather.
It was my 6 year old daughter.
Caught red handed. Something you can not unsee no matter how much you want to. In a split second I had these racing thoughts: I know where he keeps a loaded gun. Oh my God I have to get my kids out of here. I’m so glad my husband isn’t here because he would use the loaded gun. She doesn’t need any added trauma to this. JESUS HELP ME.
And the most shocking thing of all is hearing a still small voice saying: I love him too.
What in the world?
I was so nauseated at that voice. What do you mean you love him too?
‘His sin is no different than yours’
In an instant I understood just how much sin grieved the Father’s heart. All sin the same to him. Mind blowing. Life changing for me. I began to understand this side of His character. I never could understand how they could co-exist. Justice AND mercy. He is a just God because this sin was being revealed and he would get his punishment. But He is also a merciful God because he doesn’t want anyone to perish in un-repentance.
Actually there was another thought that came racing through my mind. One I’m ashamed to admit. But one that made me understand why so many people choose to keep silent and not fight this fight. The thought: I see why people keep quiet. I could just get the kids and leave and never address it again. Make up excuses for indefinitely missing family events until after he died.
But I knew deep down that lies bread more lies and evasion of truth only leads to more darkness and despair. So I started path I knew would be so painful for many.
It was close to midnight. We were in town visiting for my niece’s birthday. Staying with him cause he had plenty of room for kids to run and play. I called my dad and said we needed to come over. I called my husband and listened to his shocked silence over the phone. I called my aunt because I was worried my grandfather would harm himself (strange that I was worried about that.) I wanted her to know because she was going out of town the next day and I really thought she’d cancel her trip. Nope. She didn’t say a word.
I stopped in the Kroger parking lot because my 8 and 9 year old boys were confused and didn’t have a clue what was going on. We had a crash course on sex and I tried to answer questions in best way I knew how. I repeatedly told my daughter she did nothing wrong, and it’s not her fault.
I drove up in dad’s driveway and as kids went inside I was able to let my emotions come rolling out. He knew before it even came out of my mouth. He knew. Because my mother had told him it had happened to her too. I suddenly remember a time of walking into the kitchen and overhearing a conversation between my mom, aunt, grandparents. He said ‘oh I didn’t hurt you’ and she went ballistic and no one believed her. No one supported her. No one helped her. Soon after that…the years of pent up trauma took its toll and she quickly spiraled into drugs, adultery, left my dad and died soon after. Never believed. Never treated. Never healed. Oh how I have grieved over that.
Reporting My Grandfather
I knew I had to turn him in. I agonized over this ALL night. I knew it would tear up my family and I didn’t want that. But I also knew more than anything that I was going to do for my daughter what no one did for my mom. Suddenly I could start to relate with the pressure Jesus felt that night in the garden. Knowing the hard He was about to walk and wanting the Father to take that cup from Him. But doing it anyway because of the love He had for all of us. He was so agonized he sweat blood. I never could relate to that before, but now I could. The pressure was so very intense.
The Sunday paper had a full size story on the front page the next day about childhood sexual abuse. Survivor after survivor telling their story. Statistics showing that the top two things that help a victim overcome is
- Being believed especially by their mother
- Their abuser being turned in and punished.
There was a section of step-by-step what to do if you needed to report. I knew it was God’s provision to help me think when not one thought would stay in my head. I was so broken. So so broken. How did I not know? Why didn’t I protect my baby? Why is this happening? Is she going to be ok? Oh my God is she going to spiral like my mom did?
I called the number and asked so many questions. I knew he’d go to jail and die there. It was such an awful thing to think about. Did he deserve his punishment. Of course. But it doesn’t make it any easier on those who love him, loved him or have no idea how to feel anymore.
We went to the advocacy center. I was interviewed. She was interviewed. They took DNA samples. She drew a picture. A rainbow. I knew that was God telling me His promises are yes and amen. He would take care of us. All of us. That picture is still my Facebook banner if you want to see it. Such sweet innocence and promise drawn in such a tumultuous time.
The next day was my niece’s birthday party. Me and the kids wanted to go. After all it’s why we were in town. I also wanted to go back home but needed to stay in town for more police interviews. I didn’t want to have to drive back and forth the 3 hours. My grandfather called to apologize and ask for forgiveness. I want to forgive. I didn’t want unforgiveness eating me alive. I told him I forgave him. And asked him to stay away from the party so I could take the kids. He refused. He actually said, “Well now I can sleep at night getting that off my chest.” And I wondered if his repentance was true. He went to the party. We missed it. I was so angry. My sister wouldn’t stand up for me and make him stay away. More hurt upon hurt.
We went back home. We were at the kid’s swim meet when the detective called and said they’d arrested him. I almost passed out. The screaming inside of me was louder than the screaming/cheering for the swimmers. One look from my husband and he knew what the phone call was about. He walked me outside the pool area where I could hear better. My aunt was still out of town. She called and asked me why this couldn’t wait till she was back in town. My sister didn’t want to talk about it. I wondered if I should call my cousins and tell them before they saw it on the news. I decided I’d want to know so I called one who said he’d call the others.
My brother who has lived a life on the streets called. He had no clue what was going on. I started asking him all kinds of questions about jail cause he’s spent time there. He finally said….what is going on? I told him. He started screaming and he threw the phone down. He sounded so tormented. I hung up. He called back. It took him several weeks but the result was: it happened to him too. Gosh so many things were making sense now. His choices. His pent up anger and bitterness.
I had wondered who else. I knew it didn’t skip a generation. No way. No how. Looked at my own life. Could’ve been me too. I have no memories of it. Just vague thoughts/ impressions/ feelings. But that list in this book could have my name at the top of it.
I look at my sister’s life, my niece, my cousins and their children and can see the signs in all of them. All. Of. Them.
But they deny it. They deny it even happened to my daughter forgetting that I walked in on it. I suddenly see why God allowed me to walk in on it. He knew they wouldn’t believe me if I hadn’t been an eye witness.
He got out on bond and went about life as usual. He was rearrested and had more charges. I wondered if someone else came forward but they wouldn’t tell me. I was praying he’d just plead guilty and accept his punishment. Don’t make us go to trial. Don’t make my baby go through that. He wouldn’t.
My aunt asked if I’d meet her halfway to talk about this. She brought mementoes of my mom’s that my grandfather had in his possession. Letters she’d written talking about how thankful she was he had adopted her and been her dad. My aunt tells me that someone who had been abused doesn’t write things like that. I look at her dumbfounded reminding her that he admitted abusing my mom. She still refuses to believe it. I pity her and know that I can not trust her any more and add more loss upon loss because of his sinful evil actions.
Life goes on. The lady at Kroger asks how I’m doing and I say good all while screaming inside: My daughter was raped, my grandfather is in jail and my family won’t speak to me!! My eyes are opened to the fact that we have NO idea what fresh hell people are going through. None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. And that needs to change.
My friends who know ask how my daughter is doing but no one asks me how I’m doing. It’s my story too. I am traumatized as well. There’s no where to say that and be heard without being judged. People don’t recognize the trauma I’m enduring. I can’t find resources from the mom’s point of view. More loneliness. More rejection.
My aunt and cousins aren’t speaking to me anymore. My sister moves in to his house living there for free while we are nearing bankruptcy trying to pay for all this therapy. Our copays and visits totaled up to more than our house note. I had to stop going. How is this fair Lord? When will you step in? Why am I going broke while others are benefiting from his actions?
My aunt called and said he’d pay for therapy if we drop charges. I told her he should pay for therapy even if we didn’t drop charges. I have to forgive. Over and over and over. The feelings of loneliness and rejection are so strong.
She calls again and says he’s being hurt by others in the jail. She wants me to drop charges. Doesn’t expect me to mend relationship but says ‘why do the rest of us have to be without him?’ And all I can think is WOW. Does she have any idea how much that hurts? Does she even know that I take no solace in the fact that he’s being hurt in jail? My heart breaks at that thought. She doesn’t know me at all. Never did. And it looks like she never will. I try to tell myself it’s their loss but gosh the searing pain in my heart of being un-familied by them all while he is being supported in jail. My mind can’t even grasp this.
The day before the trial he decides to take the plea. I’m thankful yet sickened at the same time. We prepared impact statements for the sentencing. I’m told it would be a small family court with just us and him.
My husband drops me off outside the courthouse. I’m standing outside when I see him across the street. So old. Bent over. Barely able to walk and I am so immensely sad this is how he will spend the rest of his days. I broke down. My brother came in town to support me. Neither him nor my husband knew what to do with me cause they want to see him in jail. I’m an emotional wreck. I want him to hear the words in this statement. I want my aunt to as well as she’s sitting beside him in court. I want them to know how much I’ve hurt. But at same time I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I’m so messed up.
Yet there were signs all around me that God was near. He was ever present. The painting in the window. The number on the fire engine. The white feather on the bench. The 4 different friends who all texted the same passage of scripture that morning. He is near. And He is working on my behalf.
The courtroom was huge and full of people. Not what I was told. My anxiety level shot through the roof. The lawyer said don’t worry they will clear it when it’s our turn.
I wanted to talk to my grandfather. I want to ask him why. I want to know who else. I want him to be healed and delivered of this evil. I want him to know I don’t wish him harm and I do wish it didn’t have to be this way. He won’t even look my way. I silently cry the whole time.
They clear the courtroom. He waddles up to the stand. I am so nervous. The judge doesn’t allow us to read our statements. She said she did and acknowledge the pain we have endured and wished us well in our healing journey. I’m pissed and relieved at the same time about not reading the statements. They take him away to where he will spend the rest of his life.
I go to the bathroom. Apparently my husband and aunt share words that aren’t pleasant. Unbeknownst to me I try to speak to her and she is ugly and mean and says she hopes I never have to deal with a husband with cancer. I’m clueless as to what that has to do with anything. Then recognize the patterns. The deflections. The absolute inability to talk about hard matters at hand. And I feel sorry for her.
We spent that first Christmas with them because my kids wanted to and I didn’t want another thing stolen from them. They had an incredible time. I did not. I was ignored and given hateful looks by my cousins. I found out later my aunt told my brother that I should’ve kept it in the family. I’m mad and sad.
My dad died last year. He had been in poor health and it’s not lost on me that he hung around to support me in the hardest year of my life. I’m beyond grateful for that.
She’s 9 now. I stress over her moods being from trauma new or old or just normal growth and hormone swings. I ask her daily if anyone is touching her inappropriately. I ask them all. I’m hyper vigilant to the point of exhaustion and remember I can’t do it in my strength. I continually ask God to root out all darkness in our lives and those around us. He is faithful to do so. He is good.
I know she will be ok though because early on during one of my sleepless nights when I was crying out for Him to tell me she was going to be ok, God gave me a vision. A beautiful vision that still brings tears to my eyes. One I cling to when the fear and lies try to cripple me. When the anxiety tries to take over. The vision was of Jesus holding my daughter like a man holds his newlywed wife and walking across the threshold of their new house together. He was twirling her around in circles. With each rotation she was getting older and older. When He set her on her feet, she was on a beach wearing a white dress, smiling radiantly, exuding pure joy. She took one last look at Jesus she let go of His hand and walked towards a man and small boy near the water. As she took the man’s hand and turned to the side I could see she was pregnant. What a beautiful vision to hold in my heart. Redemption. Restoration.
Going to visit for my niece’s bday this weekend. We haven’t made a party since that day 3 years ago. I was told there’s no where for us to stay this time. I spent a night and a day crying again over the loss of a place to call home. Loss of family. Over feelings of loneliness and rejection.
We will go anyway. It’s at his house which is actually my sisters house now. My inheritance gone to another at the expense of my daughter. I continue to forgive. I go because I want to see my niece. I want her to see love from my kids and me. If she ever divulges the info that it was her too then I want her to see you can deal with it head on in healthy manner and come out whole and transformed. You’d don’t have to keep hiding it.
We are going to this party even though it will be a long hard day for us driving back and forth in a day. We are going because Love wins and satan will NOT steal our joy any longer. Love wins. Always.
From Amazon Mom:
Thank you for giving me a safe place to share my story. I confess I am nervous of who will read it and at what you will think of my thoughts and actions. I’m reminded of reading Facebook comments of the news stories when he was arrested and all the hateful judgement coming from people who don’t know me, us, this situation or any situation like it. The truth is you don’t know what you will do in any given situation until you are smack dab in that situation. I’m forever grateful for the years prior to this discovery when the Lord lead me through so much healing of my own. I don’t know that I could’ve walked this road at an earlier time in my life.
Praying many blessings and healing over those who are reading this story while simultaneously being healed of your own story.
In 11 days, We Too will release. It deals with complicated and soul-crushing situations like these, hopefully bringing light and clarity to an issue that has spent far too long in the darkness.