It is raining today, the air outside like October, not August. It is the kind of day so far where it makes sense to stay at home and let the dampness seep in like water in a sponge. The kind of day where the call of the outdoors is muted by the soft dripping of the rain, the kind of day where there is time to face tasks that have to be done, with all of the plans put on hold and no excuse not to just sit down and do what needs to be done.
I got a call from the Pre-Sentence Investigator yesterday, and it is time to sit down and cobble together all of the words in my head and on scraps of paper into a coherent Victim’s Impact Statement. She would like to have them by Monday or Tuesday, and suddenly I am scared. I have kept such a tight rein on my rage, needing to keep it under control in order to be able to function in everyday life; you have seen it come out in blog posts, because that is my outlet, the one way where I can give myself the chance to skate right up to the edge of how angry, angry, angry I am, but even here I can’t let myself go over that edge into sheer fury. It hasn’t been an option, and it isn’t one now. I am not good at balancing, yet I have to. I have to figure out how to express fully what this man”s actions have done to my daughter, to my family, and I have to do it in such a way as to sounds sane and reasonable while also fully examining the damage done and making that shine through the rest of the legal bullshit.
Do you see? Do you see that this is the only chance we have-Hannah and I-to have any kind of impact on the outcome of this case? Oh, we have done the legwork; we have gone to the CARES interview in the beginning, and appeared in court whenever our presence has been required, and I have gone to all of the hearings, bullshit or not. The Prosecutor has said time and time again that making the effort to be seen at even the bullshit hearings will make an impact, but really, nobody notices that; nobody sees. We have been just another pair or two of eyes in a crowded courtroom, and if I ran into either of the judges on the street they wouldn’t know who I was. So now we get to do this, to sit down and tell our stories, and hope like hell that it will make a difference.
So much hinges on this. Oh, not like I am God, All Powerful; I can’t dictate the outcome, and I am not egotistical enough to think that the judge will listen to my eloquent words and suddenly decide that the bastard deserves to rot in prison. I have learned well that conviction or not, the justice system is definitely on his side, that due to the legal mumbo-jumbo concerned with protecting his rights, ours are second or third on the list. Maybe more. But IF anything we say, think or feel is going to make any kind of a difference, this is the time. And god help me, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to have to close out all else and concentrate on this. I don’t want to sit here at the computer and dig through the layers of anger and guilt (and yes, yes, I know that none of this is my fault, but knowing it and feeling that I should have protected my daughter better are two entirely different things. And I know some of you get that) and heartbreak, and put them down onto paper. I don’t want to talk about how my daughter has, in the last year, gone from a happy, sociable girl with her life ahead of her and PLANS, to a young woman uncertain not just of her future and happiness, but of her intrinsic value as a person. I dont’ want to talk about how some days she has to be prodded into even taking a shower, or how on other days she wants so badly to feel loved and appreciated that she will hook up with a stranger just so she can feel a glimmer of self-worth. I don’t want to do any of this.
But I will, because it is important. And I will encourage Hannah to do the same thing, to sit down and try to sort through her feelings and express some of the rage and hurt and shame she is feeling. I will hold her if she will let me, and I will listen to her scream without flinching. I will give her a cup of tea and a warm blanket to cuddle up on the couch with, and I will honor her feelings. And this? Has nothing to do with the impact statement she needs to write, and everything to do with trying to get this little girl to be able to say “This.Fucking.Sucks. and it isn’t my fault.” She doesn’t have any real way to express her feelings, always labouring under the impression that she just needs to be quiet and malleable and good, and I really, really want her to do this: to piece it all together and try to find a way to believe that angry women are also good women. That women damaged are simply women; that the fault is not hers, and that she is still the same abso-fucking-lutely amazing, powerful creature underneath the pain. That the shame is not hers.
So it rains, inviting warmth and quiet and introspection. I have steaming coffee at hand, and some music in the background, and I have my heart in my hands, turning it over and over trying to find the right place to dive in. I hope and pray that I will find the right words, that I will somehow be led to say all that needs to be said. And I hope and pray that for my daughter, this will be a beginning for her.