When I emerged from the therapist’s office, the world I faced had dramatically changed.
The street stretched out like ribbons of taffy melting in the heat. Misshapen cars appeared minuscule as they inched forward in tiny, halting movements. A veil had slipped over the world. Only an hour had passed but it felt like a century.
I found the car, started the engine and pulled out of the driveway onto the street. The vinyl steering wheel felt foreign in my hands as if I was inhabited by someone else. I stared at my hands which felt disconnected–severed from me. The Jordan that drove into Longmont an hour before was not the same Jordan driving back to Ft. Collins that summer day in July.
Without warning, I emitted a wounded shriek as I pounded my fists on the steering wheel. “Not Casey, not Casey.” My brain was about to explode. I feared I would unravel. I reigned in the tears by violently shaking my head from side to side. Casey’s face appeared to me in the windshield—staring at me while a single tear slipped from her eye and flowed down her cheek. I pounded the steering wheel again, screaming, “How could this have happened? Not my Casey. How could anyone do this to a child?” Sorrow flowed through my veins as if I’d been injected with pure grief. I feared giving in to my feelings–the hysteria–certain the pain that would kill me. “Oh my god, I’m going crazy,” I shouted to the beat up interior of the Subaru. I felt like a wounded animal racing in a crazed pattern to avoid a bullet so my life would be spared.
At that moment, my gaze locked onto an on-coming black pickup truck with over-sized tires. The truck seemed to be beckoning me–casting a hypnotic trance. When the truck was within 10 yards, I had an overwhelming urge to turn the car into its path. What seemed like eternity, I remained in a nameless space, unable to commit. The truck sped by me in the opposite lane–breaking the spell.
Inside, I was unraveling in no particular pattern like a cat playing with a ball of yarn. I panicked. As a result, I sealed the opening of the dark cavern where the sorrow resided and sealed it up. It was an unconscious decision;born out of a desire for self-preservation.
Releasing me into the world that day was irresponsible–criminal. I was left to my own devices. But Casey’s counselor had no choice. There were no resources at her disposal for referral; no group, no mentor, no advocate, no compass, no therapist or agency to ease my transition into the world I’d left behind. I needed a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, a skin graft;to temporarily cover the wounds while I absorbed the meaning of incest and the implications to my shattered life. The terrain has changed without warning. In the moments, minutes, hours after the incest was disclosed I had no tools to cope with this devastating tragedy. To cope, I denied the word incest to myself and buried the consequences like a dump truck covering up a contaminated landfill with fresh soil to disguish what lay underneath.
In retrospect, a book, a guide, a compassionate ear, a handbook, another mother who lived through this tragedy would have meant as much to me as winning a million dollar lottery. When your world crashes down on top of you, crushing you, smothering you, how do you continue to breathe? No one existed to provide an answer. So I drove home.