Content Note – Trauma, Abuse, Abandonement.
Sometimes I stumble sometimes I trip, sometimes I fall and sometimes things are really bloody hard.
Anyone working in mental health will be able to tell you that childhood trauma has significant impact on a person’s life. Significant indeed. In some writings in the past I have hinted at the presence of this in my childhood, but I have not really written specifically about some of the more significant traumatic events present in my childhood. I’d like to share one of these today with you. It’s something that has had a profound impact on my very being. For a change this is not a post about being autistic, or advocating for autism, or drawing attention to terrible treatments.
I had determined to write about this today, but it has just become more pertinent, half an hour ago as I scrolled through my Facebook Newsfeed I see a post from my uncle/brother (the odd reference will become clear). This post has deeply impacted me. It was about my grandmother. She had a fall recently. She appears to have been going down hill since. He writes that he went to see her today and that she was unable to respond to him. I am reeling.
Stumbling, tripping, falling and yes all things are hard at this moment.
Sometime between the age of three and four circumstances transpired that my parents took in a young boy with the intention of adopting him. He was about six months older than I. My parents being my parents meant that what occurred for this little boy was not supportive, safe family life but arguments, harsh punishments, and physical violence. Sometime later, I am not sure exactly but I recall it as sometime around the age of five, it could have been a year or a bit more. I am not sure. The conclusion was reached that this wasn’t working out well at all. My new brother was told he was going on a holiday.
All of us travelled together to the Anglican Church orphanage where this holiday was taking place. I recall vividly standing in the doorway, on the threshold of a double width doorway, smelling the freshly oiled hardwood floors. The view of many other little boys making noise and moving about. Goodbyes were said, back in the car and back home we travelled. It was around a two-hour trip each way.
This was no holiday. My parents had dumped this young boy, who I knew as my brother, whom I loved as my brother was dumped in a local orphanage.
My mother and father contact my grandparents, informed them what they had done. Rightly they were horrified. My grandparents responded by getting themselves to the orphanage and rescuing him. They told my parents what they had done and they were furious. My newly discovered quickly lost brother had spent a single night in this orphanage and was now safe, but certainly confused at my grandparents house.
In time my grandparents would adopt him, he became my uncle. A very bizarre and difficult to fathom bunch of experiences for either myself as a little boy or brother/uncle as a very slightly bigger little boy.
A massive rift was driven between my parents and my grandparents. They did not talk for eighteen months. I was highly traumatized. Nightmares, bedwetting were regular occurrences in my young little life. It was a very difficult time by all accounts that I have heard, but I have no memory of that period really. Well I do, I have memories of moments, but the timelines are all screwed around. My mind has created a timeline that has constructed a timeline of one day dropping my brother off at the orphanage for his so-called holiday and the very same afternoon arriving at my grandparents home to find my uncle there. This timeframe was in fact one and a half years.
I remember walking through the front door of my grandparents house, walking down the hallway, leaping ecstatically in the discovery that he was there. It was a joyous moment. But, this chain of horrible events in this little boys life was extremely traumatic and extremely impacting on myself.
My parents never got me, they hurt me a lot with their parenting with beatings, verbal horrors isolation and sexual abuse. They never understood me, I can see in hindsight that much of this was due to me being autistic, but also this trauma has clearly had a massive impact on all of that too.
I loved to spend time at my grandparents home. My grandma got me, she protected me where she could, she tried to talk to my parents about me, about how they treated me. She had me stay on many many occasions. My grandma was my one true safe adult of my life. The one constant even if not there all the time, was that one constant safe adult. My grandfather too but he was somewhat aloof, safe for me, but I didn’t know him very well. I loved him very much and was very sad when he died.
My grandma continued to be my safe loving caring person. The one in my life that would speak for me and not against me. She did all she could. She was not perfect, nobody is, but she did all she could for me. She facilitated the ongoing connection between me and my brother now uncle. I believe this action is possibly responsible for me walking this earth still today.
Thank you grandma. Thank you so much. I love you with a fervent intense and inexpressible love.
I am stumbling, tripping and falling. It’s really hard right now. Really bloody hard. My wonderful grandmother lies in her bed in her room in her hostel slipping away. I am stumbling tripping and falling and it is all fucking hard right now.
The below song says something that epitomises my dear dear grandparents