Day 3 - June Image Challenge: Her feet ached and her backpack cut into her shoulders, but the mountain air lifted her spirits like no other could. She’d hiked every other trail in the range but this one. Today she was finally going to finish what she started with her mom so many years ago.
(*warning - triggering subject matter)
Mama and I had a special bond. It was a kind of bond prisoners of war might form. Bound together as a tight-knit unit. Us against them, so to speak. Holding up under trauma and fear and suffering.
Some call it the Stockholm Syndrome. It happens when the victim begins to feel thankful, grateful, in awe of the fact that the captor once again spared them. Another day of sweet life. Allowed to live one more minute...or hour...or day. Soon the victim begins to associate with the captor. Finds empathy and sometimes love for the captor.
When you marry a monster, it is a slow process. It might be angry words followed by a push. Upon seeing that my mama stayed, next time was worse.
A slap. She stayed.
A punch. She stayed.
Over time, she thought she deserved it.
I learned (in therapy) that we teach others how to treat us, letting them know just how far they can go. If you let things go too far, there is no turning back. It becomes impossible to leave.
After Daddy passed, Mama fell in love with the monster. He was a beautiful monster. Covert, he had us all fooled. Terms of endearment, (sweetheart, my love, darling) a public persona but I saw what happened at night. I was too young to intervene.
The contrasts were glaring. Daddy was a gentle soul who loved nature. The monster was an evil presence who loved himself.
But mama finally got out, God love her. She finally found peace and rest. Eternal rest.
I will make this final journey for Mama. It is what she would want. I carry my load, heavy on my back. I hear my breath, heavy in my ears. I feel my heartbeat, heavy in my chest.
I learned (in therapy) to let those emotions out. Scream, if you must.
I will sprinkle Mama's ashes...holding the urn up high...letting the wind decide which way they should blow. They will mingle and rest with the ashes of Daddy. This was our happy place once upon a time.
Then I will let the hills echo my scream.
By Lisa H. Owens
Shut Up & Write photo prompt - Day-3
(Click to read Day 4)
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