Kathleen Hoy Foley
My mother hated herself. Hate, in fact, is too weak of a description—despise is more accurate. As an old woman she would stand before a mirror and scream, “I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!” at her elderly reflection.
Sexual brutalization will do that to a girl…to a woman, to an old lady, still. Demoralize her. Infect her with incalculable fear and self-loathing. Being impregnated by rape is the long arm of such brutalization—its iron fist the permanent enforcer of impenetrable darkness. The girl, the woman, the old lady condemned to life in prison for a crime she did not commit.
With all my broken heart I wish my mother—my beautiful, fragile, traumatized mother—had access to health care all those decades ago: to an abortion, to therapy…to compassion. I wish she had known the embrace of kindness, the comfort of benevolence that could have guided her onto the path of personal freedom. A freedom my mother relentlessly sought, but never, ever achieved.
I wish that when my mother stared at herself in the mirror that she saw what I saw….beauty. I wish all those years ago from inside the shadows of her tormented teenaged womb, that I could have called to her, whispered my profound love for her, and gone on my way, releasing her to follow the path to her magnificence. I wish I could have passed my deep devotion on to her—a paralyzed little bird that deserved to fly. I wish I’d had the power to set her free.