Thursday, 17 January 2013
Twenty Five years ago today, I lost my beautiful oldest son Nick,who died in a car crash and was just nineteen.
It broke my heart.
I didn’t want to drink,or use drugs, but I didn’t want to live either. I was suicidal, and I blamed myself for Nick’s death.He had surely been taken away from me because of my “unworthiness”.
(thanks for all of that self loathing catholic church)
That perpetual feeling of being of “no consequence” of being worth nothing was the legacy I had from the catholic church. Not only being abused by the priest when I was a child, but by the cruel and vicious lies that are their indoctrination, and that go in young, and go in deep, and take years to undo.
I can’t pretend I was good at being a parent, I didn’t have the skills.My ex -husband and I were inadequate people who perhaps should never had children, but we did, and they survived, I think more by luck than good management.
And I love them more than my life.
Left alone with six of them under twelve was not easy! I simply tried my best.
When the kids were teenagers ,and doing very well at school,( they are all very clever.) I instilled in them the need to get the best education they could, and made sure they worked hard, I knew that education and knowlege was their ticket out of the sort of life that I’d had. There was lots of love and laughter in our house.
Although my faith was non existent, ,and I had a real mortal fear of the church , sickenly, I still had a desperate and rather pathetic need to belong somewhere. Rather like a dog who has been treated badly, it still wags it’s tail and tries to be near it’s cruel owner, because it is the only pack it has ever known, and being part of a pack is a fundamental human need .
My three boys had been alter servers, and on Sunday I marched all of my kids down to the front of the church, it was almost like a statement I think. Although I always felt guilty and unworthy, and loathsome, I knew they were Very Important people.
Years later when I was working in New York, I was working with some prostitutes, they had the most beautiful babies, dressed in designer clothes, with gold earrings and bangles, they smelled wonderful and were so happy and well cared for. Their Mum’s however had nothing,and were all HIV positive, they lavished all they had on their children.I absolutely understood them, although I didn’t ever quite have to prostitute myself, I would have done if it had been necessary.
Nick’s funeral was in the catholic church,because that was all I knew,I had no other language, and because I wanted all the pomp and ceremony befitting my son, who didn’t deserve to lose his life because of my “sins”.It would have been in the Vatican if it had been possible.
The priest who conducted the requiem had known Nick as a server, and made a few jokes about he and his brothers being the ”A team” of the eleven am mass. He also remarked about an occasion when Nick was due to go on a trek from school, but turned up in his jeans, despite them not being suitable. He joked about Nick’s insistence on wearing them, alluding to teenage fashion! what the stupid man hadn’t been sensitive enough to pick up was that Nick ONLY had those jeans, we were so desperately hard-up.
My Mother didn’t come to his funeral (she said she wasn’t well enough) a cousin told me afterwards that she had said that Nick had died because he was liable to “go off the rails”, and god had spared us that.
If that were true, then that would have to be one sick bloody god. Nick was a very good, gentle, funny, kind, human being. But nothing surprised me by then about my Mother, or her ludicrous religion.This is the woman who had me praying for the death of a cousin so he didn’t marry a divorcee and live in “sin”, the same one who disregarded me after I was abused, because she was too “priest obsessed” to care.
Of course, she was a product of her own upbringing in a church which relies upon it’s “flock” to always obey, never question, and keep their mouths shut!
But I can never forgive her that comment about my son.
The pain I have felt throughout my life from the hands of the church and a pedophile priest, pale almost into insignificance beside the pain of losing a child.
I have always been a fighter! But losing Nick took the stuffing from me, I had always managed to fight my way out of a corner, but this was more than I could bear, I wanted to die and follow him, and look after him, but I also feared that I would never see him again, he was so good, and I so loathsome and dirty.
Time doesn’t heal, if anything it gives you longer to miss someone.
Having your heart broken means just that- it is broken, not a little shop-soiled.
But things do get better,of course, and you are able to function, after a fashion. Survival is instinctive and that instinct kicked in.
And it was thanks to this awful time that allowed me to lose this pathetic desire to “belong” and to begin my “de-programming” from this inhuman religion that destroys so many lives.
So heres the thing!
My recovery was absolutely nothing to do with divine intervention!
I am, thankfully, and will ever remain firmly, happily, seriously atheist!
Nothing that I have experienced in or out of recovery has given me any reason to change that opinion. Nor would I want it changed.
Isn’t it completely magical to know that I am made of stardust !! Amazing to think that the atoms that make me up have probably been around for 4.6 billion years, that all things and people are connected!!
That “I am a child of the Universe no less than the trees or the stars and I have a right to be here,”
To be able to see that the garden is beautiful without the fairies at the bottom of it!
To know that I am the mistress of my own destiny, that being “decent ” is an inherent part of being part of the human species.
That no one person has the right to subjugate another .
That Nick was also made of that stardust! That he is all around still, there in my other children, in his niece and nephew, still with his friends, and their remembering him, in the knowlege that even in his short life, he managed to touch so many people. In the trees and the flowers in the sunrise and sunset - and in our hearts.
It was LOVE that did it! from my other children and my husband and friends. And it is love that continues to do it, more friends, and now thankfully fellow survivors helping me make sense of a world where this dreadful religion has created a “sub culture” of abused human beings like me and sees them only as collateral damage.
One of the last things my son said to me was :
“Mum I am really proud of you” and I did not deserve it.
Since then I have tried to work on deserving it,- not there yet!