How much of a toll is it taking? How much has your past sexual abuse affected you now?
Have you ever had a family member go to boot camp for the military? Stick with me, this has relevance…
Our youngest son decided in April to become a United States Marine and we are so very proud- but not having any experience with military life before, we were not prepared for how it would influence us in the next few months.
He left for boot camp in San Diego on Memorial Day (appropriate, don’t you think?) and it is now the beginning of August and we have plans to attend his graduation on September 3rd. When he first got to San Diego, he had to be quarantined for 2 weeks due to Covid restrictions and we were not prepared that we needed to keep our phones with us pretty much 24-7 in case he would call. We found that out the morning we woke up and my husband and I each saw a missed call at 4:04am.
We were devastated. My heart was ripped out of my chest thinking of my son trying to call us and we didn’t answer. Thankfully were able to speak with him a few days later as the Poolees (pre-recruits) were allowed one phone call each weekend before they actually went to boot camp.
If you know anything about Marines, there are the famous yellow footprints that Poolees step on as they enter the base and become Marine Recruits. Then they make “the phone call home” to let family know they arrived safely. This is a scripted call and the last time we would hear his voice until we see him at graduation. We had an idea of when they would be bussed to boot camp but not when we would get the call. I connected with a FB group led by Marine Parents and they have been so helpful! They post daily about what the Recruits are doing and answer our questions as they have been though it before. (This has relevance to you as a sexual abuse survivor, I promise).
So we knew “the call” was coming, probably sometime in the next 48 hours. I literally had my phone in my hand every second. I knew other parents were getting calls, so I stayed up all night in case he would call and I was absolutely not going to miss it again. The call came about 11am the following day and lasted about 20 seconds. Literally 20 seconds. But I got to hear his voice and my son didn’t have to make to phone calls and no one answered.
I was exhausted but I did it!
Now I stay connected with the other Marine Parents and follow his activities with our daily matrix. Somedays I am overwhelmed and can hardly function thinking about what he is doing that day and if he is struggling or wondering what he is thinking. Our family writes him a letter everyday and we have received 4 letters from him. So we have stayed connected and support him as much as we can. We even bought matching blue t-shirts for Family Day so we can support his 3rd Battalion. 3rd Battalion, India Company and there are 6 Platoons in each company.
I have learned so much, almost becoming second nature. But I vividly remember feeling overwhelmed in the beginning and wondering if it was going to get better. But it has. I have educated myself and connected with others who have journeyed BEFORE me so I can learn from their experience and not have to figure everything out all by myself (I.e. miss a phone call at 4:04am)
But I also have learned how relieved I am going to be when he actually graduates. It’s has taken a toll on me and my husband. Thinking… wondering… Always present in us.
(I don’t know how parents function whose children are in the military and deployed and/or in combat. New respect there! Thank you for your service and support if this pertains to you)
So why did I share this story with you?!
How has your past sexual abuse affected you?
Are you educating yourself as to how your past sexual abuse may be affecting your life NOW?
Are you connecting with others who have been through what you are going through?
Are you taking advantage of the experience of others that have already travelled the road you are on–Giving you information and maybe resources that may help you process easier and faster than if you tried to figure it out on your own?
How much of your mind is taken up with thinking about your past trauma?
How much of a toll has it taken on you and your relationships?
How much of a toll is it still taking?
No one is going to do it for us! We have to learn and advocate for ourselves.
But even if you feel overwhelmed learning something new, (like I did entering the Marine world) KNOW that is gets easier! It gets better!! And It’s totally worth the effort!
Like being able to hear my son’s voice…