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The Package

by | May 15, 2023 | ACA And The Arts, ComLine

THE PACKAGE
(A short poem about my struggle to face the ugly truth about family dysfunction.)

A package appears on my desk,
addressed to me.
It’s from my parents.
I see the label: Family Secrets.

I know the rules:
do not open under any circumstance.
But the package calls to me.
I want to ignore it.

I can’t ignore it.
I can’t discard it.
It’s attached to me.
Wherever I go, there it is.

Many advise me to leave it.
It’s in the past.
Why dredge it up?
Still, it comes with me.

Religious friends try to cast it out.
It refuses to leave.
Just forgive, they say.
They dump their guilt-trips on me.

But I can’t force forgiveness.
Their attempted bypass fails,
so they cast me out of their group.
They add trauma to my trauma.

What’s in the package?
I already know.
I don’t want to know.
I don’t want to remember.

The package travels with me,
wherever I go.
I can’t outrun it.
It’s part of me.

I find a sharp blade.
I slice through layers of tape –
layers of misguided loyalty –
layers of wishful denial.

I don’t want to hurt my parents.
But they hurt me and my brothers.
They would hurt my descendants.
I love them and I won’t allow that.

After a pause, I continue slicing.
I know what’s in the box.
I must expose the truth,
however ugly it is.

I open the box.
Grief upon grief.
Inexpressible anguish.
Uncontrollable tears and screams.

I feel the insanity.
I love my parents.
I hate their violence.
I hate what they’ve done.

I absorb the ugly truth.
I surrender to the process.
I integrate the trauma.
I share with trusted fellow travelers.

I gain a little bit of strength.
A little bit of wholeness.
A little bit of peace.
A little bit of forgiveness.

A while later,
another package appears on my desk.
It’s from my parents.
I see the label: More Family Dysfunction.

I’m stronger now.
More courageous.
I know what to do.
I now know the path to greater healing.

Healing Heart Warrior (Tom M)

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