I mentioned here when Lou became ill the responsibility for his care fell upon me. As Lou declined as a result of his disease process, he needed more and more assistance until it came to the point Lou needed assistance getting in and out of the bathtub. In reality I don’t know for sure how tall Lou was. but to me as a young girl he seemed like a giant. I was underweight and shorter than everyone my age. My clumsy attempts to transfer Lou left both of us frustrated and exhausted.
One particular afternoon, the moment I walked in the house from school Cleo hit me, bloodied my nose, knocking me to the floor in the process. Cleo was standing over me cursing at me—I was irresponsible and wasteful. She was yelling at me to “admit it.” I was wracking my brain as to what it was Cleo wanted me to admit. Finally, she grabbed a hunk of my hair and pulled me upstairs to the bathroom where Cleo pointed to the bar of Lou’s Irish Spring—which by that time was not much of a bar. It had dissolved in bottom of the tub. I had dropped and forgotten it as I hurried to help Lou with his bath that morning before running down the farms long chipped-rock driveway. Then further down the road to the spot near the train station where I needed to catch the big yellow school bus at 7:15am.
After Cleo finished physically and verbally abusing me for being irresponsible and wasteful, she hissed, smoothing her dress, “clean up. The pastor is coming.” I sat down on the side of the tub and cried. And, I prayed. I plead with Jesus to take me away. I plead for the rapture. I plead for my death. I looked over at the sink where I saw Lou’s straight razor and longed for death. I had heard people who did that went to hell. What did that matter? I was already in hell. As I sat on the side of the tub, I heard car tires on the chipped-rock drive, I peaked out of the window and noticed the pastors faded blue Ford parked in front of the house. Although I couldn’t make out what was being said, I could hear the voices of the pastor, Cleo and Felix speaking with each other.
Time to get myself together. As I passed the bathroom sink I was once again tempted to pick up and escape by way Lou’s sharp straight-edge —It was going to be yet another long night.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?
A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).