I had a dream that I went to visit Denver House. Some of the lads that I lived with were there but we were all adults now. There were new staff on shift and the office window with the bars had gone, with just a hole in the wall where the window had been. As I looked out I noticed there were over a hundred sunflowers outside of the office. I climbed through the hole in the wall and went over to them, upset because they were all dead. I slumped amongst them and started to cry. Softly at first and then I was sobbing and running my hands over all of the dead flowers thinking of all that had happened to me in that place when I was 13 and how much it had taken from my 13 year old self. I sobbed for her, for my adult self and for all of us who were unable to follow the sun in that place.
As part of the counselling degree I am studying for, we were asked to write about grief and loss, either what it felt like or what it sounded like, according to us. I chose to write about how it sounded.
A piercing sound that shatters the core of me as if I were made of glass. I no longer recognise myself. I am fragmented.
I search through the shards for my reflection. I am desperate, flailing. Physical pain isn’t registering but God, the emotional pain is slicing into me like the glass slicing through my fingers.
The piercing sound has stopped but its echo lingers in my mind tormenting me. I can’t find my way back.
There is no way back.
Upon reflection, it is clear to me that I have written about the grief and loss I experienced as a result of rape.
And there is no way back. No way of restoring the sense of self I had identified with before I was raped. Like the echo of the sound that lingered, I will never not know the pain of that experience, the sound of it, but in the shattering of who I was I was awakened to the knowledge of that which cannot shatter, and with that knowledge I continued and continue on.