We picked each other up…

Stick figures


I am thinking of my ten-year-old self. I’m afraid to remember her.

I have a photograph of her  in a pink frock that has white flowers embroidered on it, a Peter Pan collar and puffed sleeves. She is standing beside a bicycle. The photo is taken in front of a house with blue shutters, a rose garden, an orchard and a back gate that opens into a paddock at the bottom of which is a shallow, fast-running creek.

For the last three days I’ve been listening, when I can, to the testimony of the Cardinal. I have been looking intently into the faces of the survivors present in Rome. I have tied ribbons to a tree at the front of our place in their honour.  I have written three posts, commenting on the situation as if I am only an observer.

When I look at the survivors in Rome I see they have done what I did. They have created for themselves a persona which has allowed them to stay alive, and find a way of existing in the world. Those who didn’t find a persona, are dead.

I wonder, as I watch the survivors in Rome, what is the price we’ve had to pay for these personas?

I can’t speak for anyone else. For me, the price has been that I am too afraid to remember my ten-year-old self. She stands at the edge of my vision. She doesn’t clamour, or demand my attention. She simply does not move away.

I hold her at bay. Sometimes she fights my denial and inserts herself into my present in the form of vivid rememberings.

I know she is begging me to let her come back. I know she belongs with me, and I am incomplete without her. I know I am diminished by my banishment of her.

My goal is to one day let her back into my heart where she belongs. To do that, I will first have to become strong enough to bear the anguish she holds.

Don’t ever underestimate broken people…we picked each other up because that is how humanity will go forward. *


*David Ridsdale. Survivor.


2 thoughts on “We picked each other up…

  1. I stopped hitting social development milestones at age 11. I am frozen back in 1961 in that regard.
    Compensated by being a late-bloomer, achiever much more in the recent years than earlier.

    Found true forgiveness removes the bitterness. I stopped seeking justice and recompense. In turn I was able to shed the “guilt” that I took on as a pre-pubescent kid.

    We are all different and I was fortunate to have second wife with the ability to not only manage my unexpressed grief and loss, but lift me through it – how she did that has escaped me. She just did.

    I will never reach the point where I know I have caught up. You don’t ever “catch up” when your personality is broken. You get through life feeling like an impostor. But I do now “get through life.”

    Many won’t achieve that, and I’d just like to give them a long, hard hug. Silently.

    I suppose it’s a mini, personal holocaust in one sense. The horrors are forever etched – tattooed – and they won’t scrub off.


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