Last night, I jotted down words like birth record, genogram and national records onto the back of an envelope.
I did something out of character. I asked for help. I told my guy that I have all of these memories that need to be recorded and I cannot do it alone. He has been a faithful listener, pen steady in hand as I gaze at the ceiling sharing bits and pieces of my past.
It is strange how freeing it is just to be able to say it all aloud. Even my guy is surprised at the clarity and detail of my memories. Repression of abuse has never been my forte. I remember more than I’d like but in this particular situation, my elephant’s memory is serving me well.
It’s not all bad. I remember sharing carrots with my best friend in kindergarten. I remember the giant wooden see saws in the woods behind our apartment building in Germany. I remember the great horse that fed from my tiny hand and accidentally caught my glove, pulling me into a barbed wire fence.
I remember adventures.
I had a childhood. I found safety. I ran through the cool of the day. I laughed with friends and caught chicken pox when it ascended our building floor by floor. I rode my bike.
The darkness comes in moments. In hideaway, secret times behind the light. The abuse was like a shadow on an otherwise brilliant life.
There are so many questions. The few answers I have found about my father open up a broader understanding of our lives. It also leads me down a rabbit hole of more questions. Seek and find. Discover and learn. Rinse, wash and repeat.
I need photos. I need military records. I need court documents. I need to piece together a life story.
I need to stay sane. I am lucky. I have great friends helping me crack open these dusty books and lift lids on all these old boxes. Someday we will all have the full story, as true as I can write it.