So now we move on as a family, me with my three daughters and Husband after horrific trauma. With two of my precious girls having been sexually abused by my own father for two years and then after reporting it to police, my father committing suicide.
We moved out of our home to live with close friends across town to get away from any family arriving for his funeral, family which might arrive at our house, family which might tell our children my father had now died after they had just disclosed of their own abuse from him.We were broken parents and I was a broken mother, trying desperately to survive and protect my kids, I called bravehearts crisis line to try and get some help. I told them of our case of our story and that we needed help.They informed me that the waiting list for counseling was extensive, months and months long and that they couldn’t do any thing for us at this stage. I knew we had to get help and we would have to pay, a lot, but my girls needed more than I could give them now. We barely made ends meet as it was living on one salary, and this would push us into thousands on the credit card. The guilt of that financial burden consumed me now also, as my family, my parents had done this to us.
I knew my brother had arrived from overseas now and his wife and four children, my mothers sister and her family had flown down too, all to be with my mother, who was now a widow. She had not come over, my mother had done what she needed to do, for herself now, she had not even tried to see if we were okay, if her granddaughters were alright. She called pastors to the house and family came to her to be with her. I felt the deepest sadness in her response to us and to me as her daughter, she had chosen to turn her back on me once more. I felt rejected and hurt. I was lost and now grieving her and my brother. My fathers grief came in waves in the beginning, I was still in shock over his choice to take his life ,yet anger consumed my every being too as he had abused my own daughters. Minute by minute waves of grief came in then in an instant the hatred and anger I felt towards him would wash away my grief .
Surviving now was my main focus. I struggled to eat, to sleep and function with daily life with our girls and husband but deep down I knew I had to. I had to do what ever I could for them, the people I loved the most.The people who were also broken and hurting.
We met with countless doctors to get mental health plans for each of us, we were questioned and interrogated over and over. I called a private counseling practice to help us called Child Aware and we dived head first into week upon week of therapy for ourselves, all at differing times and days. I drove and drove for them. My husband Michael and I were in and out of sessions together to try and work out how to tell the girls that their grandfather had committed suicide. What words to use for each child and when and where to tell them. The fear of my youngest two thinking that this was their fault gripped me daily, they had suffered enough because they were abused by him and now he was dead. How do you tell a five and an eight year old some one they were extremely close to has taken his life? How would they feel because he had hurt them so much in the past two years, would they be relieved or would they grieve? Would they experience both grief and relief?
I wept with the principle in our meeting. He was going to tell all three teachers of the girls trauma and abuse as I knew I couldn’t meet on three different occasions with the staff and retell this horrific story. He told me with sadness that this was common too, that lots of families go through this with abused children. He told me no matter what that I needed to get them to school every day, they needed routine, they needed consistency and normality in their lives.
The funeral came and went on a Monday. I did not go, I could not go, the family would be there and my own mother had not told many many people of the girls abuse by him. She had made the conscious choice to ignore our trauma and focus on her own grief. I could not celebrate my fathers life in any capacity and I knew at this stage I probably would never be able to. I had loved him dearly but I had no idea who he really was, that he was hurting children. He had lived a double life with me. My relationship with him felt fake now and he was a fraud, what we had as father and daughter was not real, not honest and seriously twisted beyond belief.
A friend called us and offered to pay for our tickets inter-state. He had said “we want to help you and your family, you need to get away, away from here. You need to be with the only family you have left now, so please take the money and go, please.” We left on east Sunday , got on the plane with our three young daughters and made the 5 hours flight inter-state to be with Michael’s family. My only family I would have from now on. The trauma of the last few weeks still raw and unnerving, he held each other across our seats and cried until we landed.
We were loved and we were welcomed by his family , although I found it incredibly hard to even look them in the eyes some times, the guilt still there still eating away at me. I had taken their grand children away from them to be with my own parents and my own father had abused them. I felt such shame because of him. We woke one morning and drove the girls to a beautiful beach as planned. We sat them on the sand and we told them. ” we have something very sad to tell you girls, sad and serious. Remember we told you Granddad had a sickness in his mind, well he has died.”
The youngest two were calm , blank and calm, just starring at us. They didn’t respond, I was confused and thought maybe they don’t understand death yet, maybe they are relieved like I thought they might be? and our oldest daughter Layla just wept. I stood her up , placed my arm firmly around her shoulder and we started walking towards the shore line. She looked up at me, tears pouring down her cheeks and said ” did he commit suicide mom? I was shocked that she knew that word at 10 years old, but had been well prepared I guess from her therapist that she might, I tried to grab at the right words all jumbled, floating around my head, the words we had been told to say. I said ” yes Layla he did. He was not well in his head. You know he was hurting your sisters. He was depressed and confused , and mentally just not a well person. He chose to do this, he chose to take his life. No one made him. He just didn’t want to live any more, and this was his decision.”
She kept looking up at me, focused on each word as it exited my lips.She then said ” how did he do it?” tears still running down her small face beneath my chin line. I replied with the truth ” I don’t know how he did it.”