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All posts for the month January, 2016

Update on…Fear

Published January 27, 2016 by Chloe Madison
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Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

An update on Joe…

I moved to Colorado about 4 years ago to get a fresh start. Even though I feel extremely isolated here (with no close friends that I see on a regular basis), I still felt safe. All the people who have ever hurt me were very far away and that made me feel better.

Until I decided to check on Joe. I found his Facebook page…a background picture of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. His profile picture is him with a huge smile with his wife and 2 children. The first thing that was alarming was that he was ever in Colorado!! Why did he have a background pic of Garden of the Gods? Vacation, I guessed. The second thing that was alarming was his wife…she looked like me. Reddish hair and all.

So, just to make sure he was still far away, I researched Joe. My heart shot up to my throat when I saw he was now employed and living in Colorado Springs. He’s working as an attorney for a defense and space company. He’s probably making a jillion dollars, living the sweet life: white picket fence in a big house with his family and 2 little ones. (Note the tad of jealousy.) I’m struggling and he excels.

Well, at least he’s not working in the court system as either a prosecutor or defender. I’d have a serious problem with that.

But, I can’t explain my feelings when I first found out he was HERE so close to me!! Colorado Springs is about an hour and a half drive south of me. But, I went there all the time! I love Garden of the Gods and will continue to go there. (Garden of the Gods is actually a very special place to me.) I have to be honest…my initial reaction was to move. I think I might have had a minor anxiety attack that lasted several days. I was paranoid, always looking around, shaking, my heart was racing and so was my mind. That’s when I decided I needed to leave Colorado. Even though he lived an hour and a half away, that was TOO CLOSE!! Never in a million years would I want to randomly run into him. I’d probably freeze up, panic, then faint. And then wake up and throw another blueberry muffin.

I talked to a friend who knew Joe and the whole story. She spoke common sense into me and made me realize I shouldn’t move, nor did I have to in order to feel safe again. It took me several months to feel relatively safe. I’m still on the look out for him though…just in case. I’m still not comfortable knowing he’s that close by, but I’ll live. Isn’t ‘do not fear’ and/ or ‘fear not’ in the Bible many times?  Maybe I should take that to heart.

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Cancer blows.

Published January 26, 2016 by Chloe Madison

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I’m currently dealing with many old wounds being brought up. A pastor at my church, (whom I barely know, yet admire immensely for his compassion and work with others) was just diagnosed with cancer. It crushed me!  It affected me and continues to affect me way more than it should. I immediately had words with God. (That’s street talk for ‘we had it out.’) I was so mad at God. How could you let cancer affect someone so wonderful? Someone so young?  Someone who does so much to spread love and caring around this world?  Someone who has a beautiful wife and two young children? Why would you allow someone like that to be afflicted? I just don’t get it.

This brought me closer in to the Lord…I find myself in prayer constantly for this man. I feel so deeply sad for him and his family. I know they’re in for a long term struggle and I feel so helpless! I feel like there’s nothing I can do to help him. Yes, I can and do pray for healing and peace…but aside from that, there’s not much one can do for cancer.

I had a short conversation with him at church the other day. I had already decided I only wanted to lift this man up, always be encouraging, never say anything negative. I wanted to make sure that he only got hope…so I had already decided to NOT mention anything of the many, many family members I’ve lost to cancer. Only a week before I found out about his diagnosis, I lost my cousin to a rare form of incurable cancer. And yet, somehow my stupid mouth spewed out about my dad. Shit. I didn’t want to say that. I didn’t want him to know that my dad didn’t make it (because I wanted him to have hope that anyone can make it!) So, I tried to clarify right away- I pointed out that my dad did not want treatment and he gave up and let cancer eat him alive. My dad was diagnosed at Stage IV only because he waited so long to seek help for feeling sick. My dad hated hospitals and doctors and it took my mom forever to get him to agree to go see what was wrong. So, my dad agreed to surgery for the cancer, but he refused to do chemo or radiation. I remember my parents fighting about it multiple times. My mom felt (and still feels) abandoned by my dad. She just couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t want to fight it and try to live through it. So, in realizing that I just told my pastor friend about someone who died of cancer, I tried to show him the difference- that he was going to fight it and my dad didn’t. That he would have hope even though my dad didn’t.

Let’s not even go near the fact that I now believe that maybe my dad thought he deserved to die. He was a sexual predator- he had preyed upon and abused his little brother and his daughter. I can’t help but wonder if he felt guilty, if he felt that this was karma. Maybe he just accepted his cancer as a death sentence and that might be why he refused to fight it.

Maybe that’s part of why it’s affecting me so deeply.

Cancer has cut through me over and over and over again- with each family member it’s taken. And then all these memories come flooding back…my dad with cancer, dying at my house when I was little. I have one very distinct memory: my dad was yellow because the cancer had caused bile to spill into his body. He got up from the bed and rushed to the bathroom and started vomiting. As a little kid, I didn’t know what to do to help. So, I stood with my father and gently rubbed his back while he was bent over the toilet. In between bouts of vomiting, he yelled at me to stop and get away. At the time, I was deeply hurt. I was only trying to help and didn’t know what to do. As an adult, I can understand that when someone is nauseated, rubbing their back probably only makes them feel more sick. So, I understand why he pushed me away. But, that’s pretty much the last memory I have of interacting with my dad. My next memory is of him laying in his casket.

 

 

Update:

Cancer is in remission for the amazing guy I started off writing this post about. YAAAAAYYYY!!! I can’t exclaim that enough! I am so happy for him and his family! I thank God every single day for his healing and I pray that God continues to keep his body free of cancer.  🙂

So much has happened internally with regards to this situation. Since I first wrote this post, I’ve been in serious prayer daily for his healing and that’s brought me face to face with all kinds of issues that I personally have. I’d look at this guy’s children in church. I’d try not to stare. When all this started I believe his daughter was around 10 or 11 years old. I was 9 years old when I was first raped by my adult neighbor. I’d look at how sweet and innocent and frail-looking his daughter is and wonder how the hell someone could hurt or take advantage of a little girl like that. Even the thought of this is making my hands shake right now as I’m typing.

I think his son was about 11 or 12- the same age I was when my dad passed away from cancer. I remembered how I thought I caused my dad’s death and how the heaviness, the guilt, the seriousness of the situation weighed upon me and pressed me down.

Having this guy beat cancer was so important and symbolic to me on so many different levels. Yes, of course the victory is his and his family’s and the Lord’s…but seeing myself in his children had such a profound impact on me. I can’t even think of words to explain it.

Needless to say, I’m ecstatic for his healing and I’m so relieved he and his family can go on living their lives. He’s become one of the people that I admire greatly for their walk with the Lord…his selflessness and compassion, the caring nature of both him and his wife, the way they love their children…these are truly great people and this world needs more people like them! Praise God for remission!  🙂

New information…my dad

Published January 26, 2016 by Chloe Madison

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So, what does all this mean for my dad?  Well, as I sat there in utter shock digesting what my cousin had just told me…several realizations came flooding in. I realized I wasn’t the only one my father had abused. That has so many levels of (I don’t know what) to it. A year and a half later and I’m still fully digesting that!

 

I also realized that the same thing must have happened to my dad. My father was born in 1944. So with sexual abuse in the 40s…I mean, where did he learn to do that? I think back then it had to be learned from someone. Nowadays, with the internet and how p**n permeates our society, I believe people can allow their own minds to be twisted by watching some of the stuff that’s out there. But, back before that existed…I think he must have learned it from somewhere…either by watching it be done or by having it done to him. And because of his compulsion to do it, both as a youngster and as an adult, I think it must have been deeply ingrained and therefore, must have been done to him. Now, you might think I’m just making excuses for my abuser. Ehhh…I don’t think I am. My father REALLY WAS a great person. He was kind, intelligent, helped others out so much, and had a heart for people who struggled. But, I think he was tormented and afflicted by his deviant thoughts, which turned into actions. Obviously, it was wrong and he was at fault. I’m not negating that. But, I can’t help but wonder what happened to him. And who did it? Was there someone else in my family responsible for abusing my father? Was he just mimicking behavior he learned as a child?  I honestly have no idea. Any adult who could have done something to my dad as a kid is long gone.

But, it brings up the question to me of generational curses. And that might explain why life has been so hard. Could the sins of my father have trickled down into the family tree?

I have a headache and I feel sick…like throwing up, sick. I’m going to stop writing for now. Give it all to God.

New information…my uncle

Published January 26, 2016 by Chloe Madison

4386892-human-figure-imprinted-on-grassAbout a year and half ago, I came into some new information about my father. I knew he sexually abused me…but I never knew that he had done it to anyone else. My uncle, his little brother, committed suicide. He committed suicide by police. He had been depressed and was talking about committing suicide when his wife called 911 to Baker Act him. My uncle was extremely close with my cousin, who is a retired police officer. My uncle spent his whole life listening to stories about the department, officers responding to calls, undercover work, everything. My uncle knew exactly how the police respond to an armed man who refuses to put down his firearm. Doesn’t everyone know how that will end?  As the police entered the front door of my uncle’s house, he barricaded himself in his bedroom in the back of the house. The bedroom had a back door. My uncle took his pistol with no ammunition in it and fled from the back bedroom and circled around to the front of his house. A few officers were still at the front door, just entering. My uncle pointed his gun at them…

They drew their firearms in response and yelled at him to drop his weapon. He did not. They fired. He died.

Upon discovering that it was an unloaded pistol, they realized he committed suicide by police. He never had any intention of hurting anyone or of shooting an officer. But, it was a quick, easy way for him to go. I still remember tears filling my eyes as I stood in his front yard trying to clear my vision enough to see the blood in the grass where he fell and the circles of singed grass. The singed circles were from all the patrol cars that were idling on the grass as officers probably had to fill out endless paperwork afterward.

I never really knew why my uncle committed suicide. I asked, of course. But, got a vague answer from his wife that he was depressed.  I never knew why he was depressed.

About a year and a half ago, I had a deep conversation with my cousin. She grew up with my uncle and adored both him and my dad. She mentioned something about why my uncle was depressed and when I inquired, she replied that it was because no one believed him about something. She refused to tell me what. Aha…I instantly knew. I pressed and pressed…to the point that I refused to leave her house that night until she told me. She finally said that my uncle…all along, my uncle had said that my dad sexually abused him when they were kids. She admitted that no one in the family believed my uncle because everyone thought so highly of my dad. And my dad was a great person…he really was.

But, now…now, I understood! My dad did the same to my uncle as he did to me. My uncle was telling the truth all along and no one believed him. A lifetime of no one believing him finally drove him to suicide. Not only that…but let me say that my uncle was never my favorite relative. In short, he was always an asshole to me.  To everyone. I feel guilty saying that, but he was. Even as a little child, I knew my uncle didn’t like me. As an adult, we had an argument over my grandma.  She had alzheimer’s and one day, she wandered off and he refused to come pick her up. I was fuming mad for months and we didn’t speak to each other for years.

What broke the ice was that he gave my brother and I some land that he inherited from my grandparents. We mended our relationship, but it was still distant. It always was. The funny thing is that if I had only known…if I had only known what he told everyone else! I would have been the one person who believed it.

Now, I understand my uncle so much more than when he was alive. I understand why he had such a bad attitude, why he seemed to dislike us all so much. Would you be very friendly and loving toward your abuser’s children?! Nah… you’d just want to stay away. He saw his abuser fall in love, get married, have children, have the little white picket fence life. And how is that fair?? It’s no wonder he had so much animosity towards us all.

Now…even though it’s too late…I have so much compassion for my uncle and what he went through. I wish I could have been there for him, but I just never knew. And people who did know what he accused my dad of never told me in order to protect me. Little did they know, that it offered no protection at all.