Love As a Four-Letter Word

My aunt gave up her daughter for a chance at love.

Can’t remember which marriage it was – there were seven in all – but he didn’t want children, so she just asked around if someone would take M, then sixteen.

A few relatives tried, but my cousin, the depths of whose rejection is unfathomable, strayed to the dark side.  When she ran away, no one chased her.  She was dead by eighteen.

I was twelve when I got the news, and lacked the inner tools to process the information.  M was always so vibrant, and fun – I couldn’t imagine anyone not wanting her.  How does a mother throw away her child?

The marriage hadn’t lasted.  At the time of her death, M had been living with a man.  A few days after the funeral we dropped by my aunt’s house to see if she was okay.  We found her in bed with M’s man.

This aunt was shunned by most of the family, understandably, except that no one stopped to question the source of the pain that drove her to such depraved actions.

When she was young – likely no older than her own daughter at the time she threw her out – her grandfather dragged her out behind the barn and raped her.  No one stopped him, although one uncle got the shotgun and threatened.   They killed my mother’s sister that day; Mom says she was never the same afterwards.

Great grandfather committed many sins, for which he was never held accountable.  An innocent young woman bore the brunt of his sins and was punished for it.  She re-perpetrated the sin, raping her own daughter of a chance at life.

In our family, the game of male/female relationships had a very sick and sinister side.  We knew who we didn’t want to emulate and how ugly love could be.

Trouble is, no one knew the alternative.


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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

3 thoughts on “Love As a Four-Letter Word

  1. I haven’t been reading some of your poems lately, and have been in the throes of moving and getting resettled. The pain they portray is too great. I decided to open this one, with the same result. Multi-generational dysfunction and emotional pain is a whole different subject from personal pain. The weight of it feels different, deeper. It needs healing, too, and I know there are approaches available. Now researchers are saying that our sufferings and deprivations can change our DNA, which then gets passed on. The good news is that DNA is a rather weak predictor of outcome compared with intercessions like lifestyle and emotional healing therapies. I pray regularly for you to be strengthened in your journey toward full health. Blessings!


    1. Thanks, Jan! Hope your move went well. Healing the trauma of the past is part of moving towards a healthier me – body, mind, and soul. I am getting help and the writing is a excellent companion. I am aiming for a better foundation to help the generations to come.


    2. Thanks, Jan. Trauma, like toxins, settles in the body and needs to be cleansed. Writing is part of the process. I am also in intensive therapy. I feel like the end results will be worth the pain of vulnerability now. Hope you have been well through your move.


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