This morning in therapy, I did an age regression for my fear of punishment. Without thought, I regressed to age 12, and once again, I found myself sitting next to my father’s death bed in the den of my childhood home.
In the regression, he had already slipped into a coma. I looked at his skeleton-like body and experienced mixed emotions.
Part of me loved my father, and part of me was happy he was dying. As a child, I felt extreme guilt for this, and even carried the feeling that my mother sort of blamed me for his death.
I also have a memory of feeling that my mother wished it was me who died, not my father. I may be right or wrong, but it is what I felt from her as a child.
But this morning, I changed this memory into one of empowerment. This time (in my mind), I told my father it was NOT my fault he died a long and painful death, and that I had every right to talk about his rapes, death threats, and on-going sexual abuse –in spite of what anyone thinks.
Some people thinks it’s not okay to “speak badly” about a man who has died of cancer. It is my right.
It is the right of every victim to speak about the crimes committed against them!
I am sad that Marilyn thinks she killed her father the day she decided to talk to him again about the incest. I hope she does not still blame herself.
Those who remember, remember how stunning this news was to a city, a state and the nation. It was 20 years ago this week when Van Derbur gave a speech for the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect. A reporter from The Denver Post was in the audience.
“Van Derbur says her father started to come into her bedroom when she was 5 years old and didn’t stop until she left for college at 18. She is the youngest of four girls in a family considered one of the most prominent in the city during the 1950s and 60s.
From the beginning, there were those who didn’t believe her story, including a well-known and popular newspaper columnist. Like many others, he had known her father and had great respect for him. Despite his response, Van Derbur refused to back down, adding that the columnist challenged her and defined her mission to help others tell their stories and find help.”
“I did have friends say to me, ‘Why would you want to ruin your father’s reputation?’ And I had a child advocate, someone who works in the field, say, ‘Are you concerned about your mother?’ The victim is getting the blame,” she said.”