Over the past three years Thanksgiving has been somewhat difficult. Living with this huge cloud of shame over my head was difficult. I was of course thankful for several things, but that cloud always lingered. Last year, when we sat around the Thanksgiving table with family we all went around and said what we were thankful for. I honestly couldn’t think of something where I wouldn’t break out crying. Only my parents and sister knew at that time about my assault and I was extremely emotional at the time. Little did people know around the Thanksgiving table that I was preparing to go to court in two weeks to face my rapist. I put on a brave face and talked about being thankful for family and friends. No tears, thank goodness. My Dad and I joked beforehand that we are thankful that 2016 was close to being done. It was a rough year.
This Thanksgiving, I am in a much different place and am extremely thankful for that. I am happy that I can now talk about my assault openly and I hope that my story is helping people. I am even more thankful for friends, family and strangers who have reached out with their support. I’m thankful for southern Minnesota for being a soft place to land and heal. I’m thankful that even though I feel like a prodigal, my family has wrapped me in so much love. They have let me rest when I need it, are patient, keep a watchful eye on me and are helping me move forward. I’m thankful for friends who have been with me the past three years of my struggle. Checking in on me, listening, going to court with me, looking out for me, and encouraging me to go out for dinner and have fun again. I am blessed.
Thank you to everyone who has supported my family since finding out about my assault. The last three years have not been easy on them and have taken their toll. Your kind words at the grocery store, church or in passing are appreciated. There were many times over the past three years where I prayed for mercy for my family. My prayers are being answered. Assault affects the whole family and we are coming back stronger than before.
Thank you to those of you reading this blog and offering words of encouragement and prayer. The healing process has sped up greatly since starting the blog. This is the best I have felt in three years.
Finally, I am thankful for those of you that have shared your personal story with me. Thank you for trusting me with your story. Thank you for being an ally against assault, abuse and harassment. Thank you for your prayers and notes. Thank you for the quiet nod that we give each other in public to show that we unfortunately are joined in a common sisterhood/brotherhood. You are brave and I am thankful for you.