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The Rapped Gavel

by RH about a month ago in Family
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After 50 years of contemplation, I can lay it down

Painted by Natasha Meier

Dear Mom,

It's over for me, for you, and for us. As you know, I have been holding on to this since I was five years old. Knowing all this time you never wanted me to make a fuss. Despite being raised to be kept under control, I recall moments when I was bold. I tried to understand your choices but my disappointment and the distance I kept were rooted in being self-righteous. Every time I thought I was going to discuss it with you, I would fold.

Since I was young I learned to watch, listen, feel, and then analyze it all quietly. I heard you, in the middle of the night saying, "No", and "Stop". Over the years you would occasionally open up and share a memory of your life before marriage, like opening up a treasure chest and tossing me a gold coin sparingly. I believed I was like you, out in a field, struggling to grow and survive in a vast crop. All the elements of earth, wind, and fire were meant to cultivate me into serving the same 'duty'. Well, in those terms, I was a flop.

I knew, from the very first time, it was wrong. That was the day I picked up my imaginary gavel and clenched it because it was all that I had to hold on to. Saying "No" or "Stop" might have made a difference but I wasn't strong. You even said, "Why didn't you stop it? I had three boys to think about", but at that age, I didn't know what to do. I would lie in bed at night thinking I could tell my teacher or I could shoot him but both options would have broken up our family, and still, I wanted to belong.

Recently I called you to say I began to enter writing contests and there was a pause at your end. You hesitantly asked, "What are you going to write about?" "Whatever the topic is," I said firmly, knowing you wouldn't want me to betray a friend. Mom, understand writing has been good for me, and consider I have been by your side throughout. We both knew this day would come and yes, our time of atonement is at an end. There is something I must tell you before our time runs out.

My final revelation, the last piece of my puzzle, came to me recently after reconnecting with an old friend I met in nursing school. After we shared confessions, I was ready to reveal the one I had locked away even from myself. Once I did, I cried and then laughed at myself feeling like a fool. It felt so good to release it, acknowledging her gave her what she deserved, wealth. I miscarried twenty-seven years ago as a result of domestic abuse and acknowledging her existence has given me the missing tool. I now understand you sacrificed me as you did yourself.

After the abuse, not knowing I was pregnant, I went to the bathroom and passed her fetus in the toilet. Ryan was just three, standing beside me with the door closed. I had a decision to make, as you did, I had a son to think about so I kept it a secret. I knew I would need all my strength to safely start a new life, so I posed. From that day on choosing right from wrong was my outlet. After walking out on three husbands you probably assumed it was because I was predisposed.

Rest assured, I am now at peace with it. After fifty years of contemplation, I have made my verdict, rapped my gavel, and laid it down to rest.

Happy Mother's Day to us.

All my love,

Rachel

Family

About the author

RH

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