Letters Between Us:
Children of Yesterday
Women of Today

Another Safe Place for Survivors
to Find Hope, Help, and Healing.

The rooms were all dark, boarded up - vacant, but no there was a small almost
lifeless spirit, a girl. crouched in the corner of one of the rooms -
no a piece of the spirit of that near dead spirit in every room huddled
in the corner, hanging on to life waiting and hoping and then finally just
waiting to die. ... but every now and then light would seep through a
crack, someone would open the door to the house and peek in and as soon as
she saw the darkness and gloominess, she felt the cold, she slammed the
door shut again for what seemed like another eternity. but each time the door
opened a little wider and a little longer and the spirit would cling to the
possibility that someday the door would be opened for good and someone would
take down the boards from the windows and bring life back to the house. it
had been empty and locked up for so long. so lonely and lifeless.
Then one day the door opened and throught the open door the spirit
heard words that said someone was trying to open the doors. Someone
was going to try. And for a while there was light. Not much - but more than
there had been for more than ten years. And just as suddenly as the light
had come, it left again. Leaving the spirit to cling to the visions of
a beautiful woman who had taken her out for a walk. At times it was pure
joy she extended - others, the spirit saw the hesitancy with which the
woman spent time with her.
The woman looked young, but her face seemed old. Struggling
to make it through each day without eating, or just running herself to
the ground. She was scared - terrified to be with the spirit - terrified
to be with me. So i hung on to those memories of holding her hand and skipping
through the big place she called a campus. i held on to those memories of
the light. In the darkest place i've been. The place i've spent most of
my life. i had almost given up hope when one day the door opened ever so
quietly once again a little over three years later.
Again I heard the words and this time I recognized the voice -
although much more compassionate and understanding, I knew it was the same
lovely lady who had let me out before. But this time I wasn't so sure if I
wanted to come out - why so I could just be shut up again for God knows how
many years ... Then a day later there was a knock and it seemed as though
she wanted me to talk to her - what had I needed and never recieved?
but I gave her a list of things, some that meant alot to me, others not
so much - but she did ask for everything so I rattled on for a while.
Then two days later, I hadn't seen any light or heard her voice.
I decided to test her out I guess... man did she freak out!!! I'm not sure
who was more scared - me in sharing with her or her in being shared with.
but that was the beginning...continually, slowly, she would visit me. but
every time she left and locked the door behind her. Sometimes
I don't blame her, but I feel like she's my only way out. Just last week
she told me she felt I was her connection. but that I had to help her by
coming out of my cave or by talking - if not to anyone else, at least to her.
How do you begin to talk? It was such a scary experience a couple
months ago - I think I would rather think and dream. but somehow it has
gotten a bit lighter in this house. on Monday, we put a skylight into one
room - she calls it the spiritual room - I call it the sun room. and we
redecorated her 'emotional room' my safety room. we haven't quite finished
in there yet, because the windows are still boarded up and because she’s
not feeling well - there isn't much light getting into the room - but at least
I feel safe there - warm, and safe - its better than the other three rooms
for now. She doesn't do much right now because she isn't feeling well, she's
been forced to stop everything else and just be - but she hasn't spent anytime
with me at all. she's watched t.v. all day and eaten and slept.
but that's ok with me because at least now she is taking care of herself,
so she can also take care of me. So for now I'll wait here in the dark, no
longer a near dead spirit in four pieces, but a living soul waiting for
the next ray of light.

December 22, 1993

Well where does one begin? First you have to know who you are. And to do that you have to listen to what the people who care about you say. You are an intelligent person. You care about others. You persevere until the job is done. Until everything is right. You strive to create stability within your realm of relationships. You have a tender heart and are always willing to help someone in need. No matter what imperfections someone might have you always see good in them and a need to help is always responded to by you. You have a sympathetic ear. You are going to survive. Someday you will know everything. Someday you will be able to look in the mirror and say "I like myself." This will come in time. Someday there will be no more secrets from your mom, sister or the man who loves you. This man will love you because you deserve to be loved. Someday you are going to have the man of your dreams. The house. Someday you will have complete control over your life. No one will tell you how to think. What to say. No one will ever make you do what you don't want to do. You are going to be able to stand up for yourselfand not feel guilty. Because you do not deserve to feel guilty. You deserve love, trust, and honesty. There will one day be no more lies. One day you are going to know in your heart who you are. You are going to be able to stand on your own two feet without mommy or daddy. One day you are going to be truly happy. In your heart. That is where it counts. You are going to make it through whatever this is. because you are strong. You have come this far and it is not worth throwing your life away. You will be important. People will need you someday. Children will love you. Children will have healthy lives because of the great things you are going to do. Someday...you have to stick around because the world is going to need you. because so many people really do care about you. No matter what has happened to you in the past your future is framed in nothing but gold. It will be shiny and full of happiness and true love. But only you can make it happen. You will do it. Because you have to. You are going to be o.k.
- Because I care

January 1, 1997

Dear little one,
I know you hurt. As a young child you have to deal with thingd no child should ever have to deal with, but I promise you that someday it will be better and you will be strong with your own voice. You do have a voice. It's o.k. though you can't speak. You did not ask to go through this. Eric will not control you forever. You will have a choice and the ability to make him go away someday. When that day comes I will be here to applaud you, to love you and to hold you, until all the peices are put back together. You do not have to live with confusion. Eric has lied to you. You are beautiful - a beautiful human being. You are smart, and likeable. No not an idiot or stupid. Not ugly - there is no ugliness inside you. Nothing in you or about you is ugly. When you get older, listen to those who celebrate you. Accept the compliments as the truth - because they are. It is o.k. to not be perfect. You are human and can not expect to always be perfect. Only one man, Jesus, was perfect and He was God's son. Always remember your faith. Remember why you gave your heart to Christ. What it was that captured you. Never forget the experience of God's unconditional love. Never doubt that it exists. Even if you feel like you are all alone, remember God is always with you, loving you and holding you. So am I. I am proud of you - I love you.

January 11, 1997

"Brushing her hair she stared as the strands fell into place. 'Just a little straighter. oh these curls!' It was as though she stared through the mirror. 'Look at me. LOOK AT ME!' Her eyes demanded contact and for the briefest second she caught her own gaze and then looked away. 'Look at me. Recognize me - I am here. Just because you won't look at me doesn't stop me from existing. When will you learn? When will you see me as who you are? I am you. I am right here waiting for you. and I will continue to wait because I love you and I am counting on you to help me. help me understand with your adult mind what I can not. As a child I don't understand things quite like you do. quite like you can... Please, please, don't look away.' A tear falls silently down my cheek."

February 1, 1997

Dear litle Amanda,
My precious young child. I know you're angry. Violently angry. I don't know exactly why - oh who am I kidding. It wasn't fair. But there was nothing wrong with you. You are wonderful just the way you are. I know you are scared and lonely. But I am here for you. I will be here to hold you. Until you can handle your anger. You don't ever have to not feel anything. You are entilted to experience every and any possible feeling or emotion there is. In the car that night at the mall you were crying. You know why you were crying and you had every right to cry. I know someone told you, that you had no reason to cry, but you knew something they didn't. You know it now, and now I know it too. No at the time maybe I dedn't now then why you cried but now I do. And I love you just the same. It is hard for me to be always compassionate towards you, and I have learned well how to block you out and knock you down. Please forgive me when I neglect you or hurt you. Help me to remember the awe, and wonder you felt before anyone ever hurt you. You are not a monster and you deserve the peace that I find so few times. I know too how confused you must have been to have daddy betray you. I feel that confusion even now - but I promise you, he will never win because together we are more powerful than anything he could ever say or do to us. You will make it. I am proof. I am still alive and I was there with you. I know I checked out and left you to deal with all the hurt and confusion alone, but I am here now and together we will triumph again. I want to share this verse from my favorite song: "Every day, you face the fear With the measure of faith that you need. And even now, all Heaven cheers, For the miracle you're destined to be."
Yes you are destined to be a miracle.
P.s. It is no longer your secret. and that is o.k. You are not alone.

February 6, 1997

Hey, Things are pretty tough right now, I know because I'm right here by your side. I feel you rage and fear, sadness and confusion, frustration. But most of all. I feel your loneliness. The loneliness of being trapped with such a big secret. Of being isolated because you think if you ever spoke about what you know, and what you've seen and done, you would become an even bigger, uglier monster than you already are. Amanda, you are not a monster. You are a beautiful, energetic little girl with so many things to share with others. Your smile, the twinkle in your eye when something you like catches your glance. Your compassion for those who are hurting, sad and even for those who feel isolated like you do now. What happened is not your fault. You did nothing to "bring it on." As a child you can only trust your parents to look out for your best interests, to take care of you, and most of all to never hurt you. But you are hurt and I want you to remember it is not your fault because you trusted anyone. In no way are you responsible for those awful things Daddy does to you. He is responsible for his actions and those actions you did out of your fear that he wouldn't love you or he would get angry. He is a big man and very much a bear like you see him. Let's work togeter to kill that bear and take back the power and control he's taken from you. If anyone should be forced into silence now, it is him. Not you. You have every right to speak, to tell to feel. Every right to expose him for who he really is. You have my permission to speak freely, to rant and rave, if so needed. And most of all, you have my support, permission and love if you just want to let it all out. To cry and grieve what you've lost. I will be here to hold you; to take care of you. To love you without any strings attached. Don't worry about me not being able to handle it. I have lots of support, good friends who care very much about me and about you. I know it was a very risky and scary thing for you to share with me what you are going through. I am thankful that you are courageous enough to open up to me. I know it seemed as though I might run away, but know I will stick with you regardless of what you share with me. Nothing can change how I feel about you. I want you to know that by opening up and talkin about things, they no longer hold us captve and we can become free of our fears. I want you to please help me out tomorrow and in the next few weeks, maybe months or years, however long it takes, by speaking your truth. Help me to help you. I will not leave you no matter what and again I want you to know that with your therapist you are safe. You can talk if you want. She is there to help us. To help me, and to help you. See, you're not alone. Together we are strong and we will weather this thing to the end. You are powerful even now. Your power is in your voice. I know in your cave it seems safe because no one can hurt you or make you do anything you don't want to do. But in your cave, no one can help you either. No one can help to eliminate or lessen your loneliness, fear, sadness, or anger. Will you please take a moment and step out, one step at a time so I can help you. So I can help you know love, happiness, and enjoyment as you so deserve to know and feel? You deserve all the peace in the world. For too many years now you've been tormented. No longer. I am here and I am patiently waiting with open arms my wonderful child. You don't have to hurt anymore. I want you to know, Amanda, that anything you share with me or your therapist will remain between us. Unless you want others to know, no one else will know. They can't tell by looking at me. Whatever you say is in your control; you control who you will tell and who you want to know. Whatever you want to do is alright with me. Love,

February 8, 1997


I wanted to let you know that I am very proud of you and so greatful for you courage and huge leaps of faith you began to take yesterday. I so appreciate your willingness to open and frank about who you are and what you are going through. I want you to know this isn't going to last forever and that I understand your difficulty with eating and I want you to take your time regaining your comfort level. Remember, it is not your fault - the shame, and disgust belong to him. Let him carry it for a while in silence. I will be patient with you and eating - Remember I always love you - my beautiful child.

February 9, 1997
Oh my dear, how sad you are, and yet you blink back the tears. Let them go. Let them out. It is Ok. Remember I said I would never leave you . I will hold you till there are no more tears. I am so very proud of the way you handled the phone call from your father. Big breath and acted as though nothing was different. He doesn't have to know. I know it tears you up to have to lie, but it would kill you right now to confront him. Neither of us want that. Carry on with all my love - Amanda

February 10, 1997

You are going to make it! I know it seems tough and impossible at times. You can't figure out just what is bugging you. You want to give up , throw the towel in, but you know that won't work. Listen to those around you. You are making progress. Don't get stuck on the little things. So you're having difficulty eating normally - have fun with it. Make a mess - be a kid. Celebrate it. You can eat somethings. You're reaching out and taking care of me. If Kim hadn't been able to help, you knew what to do next. You were trying. You are trying. And I love you for that. I look up to you for that. It's Ok if you fall, and need someone to help you up. It's not ok if you dont' ask for help. It's not ok if you don't try. And I think you know that. Thanks for trying an loving me anyway. I need that and I am here to give that back to you.

February 14, 1997 (1:08 a.m. 2/15/97)

What a couple of weeks you've had. So much in such a short amount of time. You're facing reality. Dealing with truth. Speaking out,learning to speak out and knowing you can. Learning it's okay. Finding your voice. You're so tired. So drained; understandably, you've been through alot. I can't promise that this is the end or that it will be over soon, but I can promise that it will pass eventually and through it all I'll be right here by your side. I may get scared sometimes and need you to be strong and help break our silence. Remember how I told you that by talking about things, they no longer hold us captive? It's true. You are not alone. I was so proud of the way you set your boundaries with Wesley last night. You stood your ground; I know it hurt like hell and you feel responsible for his pain, but you're not. He's an adult and needs to be responsible for his own reactions and feelings. Just as I must be responsible for my feelings and reactions by being as open and honest as possible. By talking. No one could ever deal with my feelings but me. They were inside me and too Wesley's are inside him. If he won't deal with them, you are not responsible for what happens to him as a result. He has a choice - as you did and have. I want you to know that right now I want to just hold you and love you. To cherish you and help you to "get back" or find or replace what you've lost. I want you to remember what your therapist said. What happened is over - you never again have to do something you don't want to do. Never again will you have to touch anyone or anything you don't want to touch. You have power. Power in choice and power in your voice. You have the right to exercise both these powers and the right to your personal boundaries and most of all the right to meet your needs, and when you an't meet them yourself, the right to ask for help from others. You are not a burden - on me, Sherrie, your therapist or anyone else. They all love you as much as I and they want to see you grow and hear you speak. You can do it. Let me be your strength when you have none left.
Love -

February 22, 1997

I know you're feeling very worthless right now and it's tearing you up inside. So much that you want to die. Kill yourself! Please Amanda, please hang in there. You have done so well this far and you will continue to heal. Do not give up. Because regardless of what you think right now you are worth it. You are precious and so deserving of a happy life. Promise me you won't do anything without talking to someone about it first. I care about you and want you to live.

February 23, 1997

Thankyou for choosing to fight. For choosing to live. I know it is draining and it hurts like hell. I know that all the rules can just be so overwhelming and it seems like you could never keep up with all of them. Amanda, I want you to know that with me I will try my best to eliminate all the rules. I will trust you to be honest with yourself, to know your limits and to recognize when you've reached them. I will trust you to talk openly and reach out when things are too much. Remember - I love you and want you to live - There's so much I want you to see and experience! Love,

March 1, 1997

Hang in there kiddo. I know this is really the pits. feeling and facing reality but remember what those around you have said ... you are heading in the right direction - even though it seems like you can't see where you are going. I'm here, and yes, I'm scared as hell, but you're not alone - you are never alone. So remember I am always right here by your side. Love,

March 10, 1997

(Postcard sent home while on Spring Break 1997)

Remember this guy? Just a note to remind you never to forget this beautiful 'dream' of yours. It is not just a dream. it is your life and you can make it reality! Remember the water, Remember the trails - mostly remember your dreams! I believe in you!

March 10/11, 1997

You are doing it! You are living, facing reality and making your own choices about life. You are following your heart, your dreams. You are in the driver's seat. I am so proud of how far you've come. Of how strong you've been and continue to be. I want you to remember that scar on the tree and the white paint on the rock on the Appalachian trail yesterday. Remember: 'Every painless scar was once a painful wound, but over time with consistent nourishment and care it has healed. The scar may remind you of the wound but time alone has erased the pain.' It is going to take time to heal your wounds. They are deep and very old. They have had a long time to become infected and frow overwhelming. I am so proud you have taken these first steps to care for your wounds - for yourself. You are beautiful. Scars, wounds and all. Youdeserve happiness, delight, contentment, the right to feel. The right to speak. To not be judged. To dream - to follow your dreams. To love. I know you love. You have a great capacity to love. Looking around you at this moment think about what got you where you are. In the mountains alone - camping. It's your love of life. your love to be one with the earth. To be one with God. To appreciate what God has given you to enjoy. To let yourself follow your dreams of excitement, adventure and challenge. Your love of nature - of camping - of majestic beauty. Your love of doing things for you. of being your own person and being ok with who you are and where you are at any given moment. I love you Amanda - you are beautiful - majestically beautiful. Your inner spirit burns brightly and kindly. You may at times feel like there is nothing there - but your spirit is always there - always prompting you forward. Because life is precious and such is yours - precious and so are you -
My precious child you will always be!

March 27, 1997

My Precious Dearest Child,
You are so loved - I wanted you to know just how much. I love your excitement about the future with your flexibility about your career - I love your open mind - ready for new and creative ideas. I love what you are doing at school, you are doing so well and I am so proud of you for going after and getting what you want in life. I love your honesty, truthfulness, purity, perseverence, courage and strength. I love you - inside and outside. You are beautiful from head to toe - your eyes and their sparkle, your smile, your laughter and your tears. i love you as you are! And my dear Amanda, I will always love you - I will always be here when you begin to feel the loss. I will be here to wrap my arms around your tiny body while you let go of the hurt and pain - until there are no more tears. Until the ache diminishes to almost nothing. Until these very painful wounds turn into painless scars. I will be here to scream and yell with you when you can't hold in the rage any longer. You don't have to flip back and forth with me. With me you can be real, honest; you can be you and I'll still love you and accept you. I don't care if you change your major 50 more times...if you get 16 different jobs - I still love you - Nothing out there makes up who you are, - you are unique - a beautiful lifeform of energy with plenty of insight and love to share with others around you...And I want to be here for you when you are ready to begin sharing with others. I will be here and I will love you when you need to take and when you are ready to give. The ache will come in waves, but remember every wave breaks and eventually smoothes out to the beach and connects with the solid ground...You are doing it
- I am Proud of You.

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