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Friday, August 15, 2008


I went back to the home where most of the abuse in my life took place.

My mother told me there were a couple of boxes of my things there she would like me to go through.

Darrin, Adam and I walked upstairs to the room where I was raped more times than I remember. I made it to the doorway, then turned and ran. Coward!

I threw up twice. Stupid!

I went back up to the room with Darrin and Adam and spent 15 minutes looking through the boxes before I got sick again.

I didn't sleep that night. I got up at 6:30 and went running. It was beautiful. I ran eight lovely miles. On the way home I started feeling weird. I was running in the same place I ran as a teen trying to relieve stress, trying to stay alive.

I woke my family and we left to go fishing. I saw an old man working in his yard. We stopped. I walked up to him and said, "Do you remember me?" He smiled, opened his arms and said, "Samantha, I would know you anywhere." Then he hugged me. I introduced him to my family. He told me I looked beautiful. Then he showed me the car he bought for his 90th birthday. He's 90. I haven't seen him for nearly 15 years.

We stopped to buy fishing licenses. A woman came to help us. She said to me, "Why do you look familiar?" I said, "Because you're my mom's cousin. I'm Samantha." She laughed and hugged me, too. She asked why I haven't been home, why I've not attended a family reunion, for so many years. I said I'd been busy.

We drove away with our fishing licenses. I wanted to cry. So many years I've avoided family members and people I love because I didn't want to encounter memories...or my cousin. Why do I look familiar? Where have I been?

Darrin left Tabitha, Adam and I near the fishing hole that was my favorite 15 years ago. I baited their hooks and showed them how and where to cast their lines--and caught a trout immediately. Each cast brought another fish. This is why I love to fish here--I used to read the river, watch where the fish jumped. I used to catch fish all summer long. My family ate them--I didn't. We soon caught our limit. Darrin joined us and caught his limit. Tabitha told him next time he should stay with me--I knew where the fish were.

We went home. Darrin cleaned the fish while Adam, Tabitha, and I showered. Then I fixed lunch while he showered. I made the traditional meal my family always made when I brought home fish: trout, salad, fried potatoes...then I cut up a cantaloupe, knowing I'd eat neither fish nor potatoes.

We ate. Adam ate nearly all the potatoes. Tabitha picked most of the avocados out of the salad. I thought about the boxes of memorabilia upstairs.

We played games for a few hours. Then I went upstairs by myself and retrieved the boxes. Tabitha, Adam, and Darrin continued to play games while I went through the boxes. They left and went on a walk. They came home and fixed dinner. I stayed where I was, reading papers I had written, looking at pictures, going through stacks of letters.

I threw nearly everything away. I hated the memories. I didn't want the cards or the letters. I was highly upset. There were letters from people I don't remember--not just one, but years of correspondence from people who obviously knew me, spent time with me, were concerned about me. They said they missed me and loved me. I don't know who they are. I threw the letters away.

I didn't sleep that night either.

I got up the next morning and told Darrin I had to leave. He suggested we go to Utah, have dinner with some friends who were planning to meet us at my old home but had been unable to make the trip, and then spend the night with my sister. So we did.

But I'm still freaked out and feeling upset and miserable inside.

And when I told my mom I threw everything away, she started to cry. She said I should have saved the things I wrote. She said I shouldn't have thrown away the pictures. She said, "Why would you do that?"

I just told her I didn't want them anymore.


  1. Good for you for throwing away the memories you didn't want anymore.

    (And I know I've already said this, but I miss you when you're gone.)

  2. I am so interested in your thought processes and experiences with all of this. Maybe because I trust you to be real and not manipulative or overwrought. Maybe because you're bright and thoughtful yet delightfully irreverent. I don't know. But I'm interested.

    As for discarding the memories, I can see how that might be...cleansing, in a way. A question: do you wonder if you're going to wish you had kept one or two of them down the road, or are you pretty confident they're never going to matter? Or do you care? :-)

  3. You're not stupid and you're not a coward. That was a terrifying thing you did and you were there for TWO DAYS. I'm amazed. I'm sorry you had to go through that. I hope throwing those things away gave you some peace. Sometimes I know it can help me to just let go of things when they make me miserable (even if they "Should" make me happy or nostalgic, because the things themselves weren't mean or bad).

  4. Also, I'm sorry you can't go back to where you grew up and be with people you care about because there were so many bad things (or a person you might potentially see) that make you miserable. But I'm glad there were people there who love and care about you and that you did get to see some of them again.

  5. There isn't anyone I wouldn't want to wait an hour for coldstone ice cream that tastes like flavorless yogurt than you.

    I love you very much

  6. your not a coward you face things even difficult things being afraid doesn't make you a coward. Sorry things are hard right now. -A.J.

  7. Ditto what JB said. That was a really freaking hard thing to do. It must have taken a lot of courage to go.

  8. Edgy--I miss you, too.

    OM--Yes, no doubt at some point I'll wish I'd kept something. But for now, I think I did the right thing--or at least the neurotic thing. The two are synonymous to me right now.

    JB, AJ, and Ambrosia--Thanks.

    AtP--I love you, too (seriously, how am I supposed to keep a straight face when your new acronym is WOTS? Are you some British know-it-all now?).