My 15 year old daughter has a friend named Cassie. Her parents christened her Cassiopea however that name doesn’t seem to fit her as well as the shortened derivative. Of all the friends of all my children, Cassie touches me the most. She is funny, sarcastic, sensitive, secretive, sad, hurt, questioning and wonderful. She doesn’t know she is wonderful as her parents make sure to never tell her. She has been through a drinking phase, a drugging phase, a sleeping phase, a non-sleeping phase and a number of other phases I could name but won’t. You get the idea. There is something in this young lady that shines through all the muck and the only people who see it are the ones she allows in. Cassie is a rape victim. I say victim because she hasn’t yet approached the point where she can be a survivor. Why? From what I know of her home environment, every day is a struggle to just get through. Her mother says things to her like “I don’t want to be your mother anymore.” or “Why don’t you find somewhere else to live now, I’ve dealt with all the kids I want to deal with.” Her father and his wife tell her things like “You are never going to amount to anything. You can’t even do your homework.” There are more and they are worse but the idea is clear.

Cassie has been at our house today. Amanda has also been at our house today. Daughter #2 has been happy to have them and so have I. When A. left to return home I was reading. Taking a break from my continued slaughter of the lawn tools this weekend…good grief, if one more thing breaks! Awhile later, my daughter comes in and quietly says “Mom, look at Cassie. She’s been standing there for over half an hour.” I said “Huh?” She could only point. As I looked into the kitchen I could see Cassie standing totally still except for her hands. Not even her hands really, but rather her fingers. Constant movement of those fingers and nothing else. Not knowing the right thing to do I just listened to my heart. I walked up to her and gently put my arm around her shoulders. “Cassie?” She said “Huh?” I guided her into the living room to sit with me and asked her what was going on, was she ok? She just looked at me and said “I’m alright.” I replied “Honey, no one who stands in that position for as long as you did, the way you did, is alright.” She just told me nothing was going on and she was just standing there waiting for something. As I looked into the eyes of this young woman my heart was raw. The pain in her eyes mirrors mine sometimes when the memories are particularly vivid. I drew in a deep breath and began.

“Sweetie, I’m going to tell you something that not many people know about me. When I was a very tiny little girl my grandfather began raping me. He continued to do that until my mom got married and we moved out of his house. The man my mother married would lock me in a closet every time my mother left and I would be tied there until my mom returned.” At this moment, Cassie began to weep. Not the out of control weeping that is sometimes seen…just a quiet stream of tears down her face. As I watched her eyes fill, my heart broke. I wanted to shelter this young girl from all the cruelty she has experienced in her short life and I knew I could not. I told her a bit more and then said “Cassie, honey, you may be able to fool most of the people around you but you can’t fool me sweetheart. I know that look and I recognize that pain.” She just closed her eyes as the tears fell silently. I asked her if she had a doctor and/or a therapist. She said “I could never see the point.” She was calm as she said it. I told her what I felt the point was. I just told her my truth. I gave her a bit of insight into how hard it was for me to come to grips with the things that happened to me and said “When it got so hard and so painful I didn’t want to continue I just told myself ‘That bastard is not going to win'” I encouraged her to get a counselor so the person who hurt her wouldn’t win. I told her that every time he steals away a half hour of her life when she’s standing there frozen, he is winning. I told her that no one had the right to take away her childhood or hurt her so. I told her that she may not have had any control over what happened when it was happening but she could have control over what happened now. I told her she always had a place here in my home and I pray she listened and heard my heart speaking to hers.

My daughter just sat there in silence listening to all that was said. She listened while I gave Cassie the same gift I give her and her sisters every day…an ear, a heart, a safe place, privacy, respect, love. I only hope she understands what a wonderful friend she is to our Cassie. I will continue to tell her in hopes it will sink in. We do have choices, we can have hope and there are good people in this world. Peace.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Traci, you are a gift to many. You knew. Your heart knew. Your daughter knew because your heart had taught her to love. You are a marvelous and wonderful gift! I love you!


  2. Yes, yes it will. You see, that is why you are such a gift!

    BTW, I saw on someone’s blog comments that you feel too guilty spending the money on a pedi. It’s time to start. And now!


  3. Tears are the heart chakras opening wide, letting more love come inside. I know it is a good thing. So I smile, knowing that you are loving you right now. And I love that!


  4. traci, you are such a giver. when so much has been taken from you, it might have been easy for you to close up and keep others shut out. but you are open, vulnerable…and the gift you gave cassie today is immeasurable. what you did for her today is nothing compared to a simple letter i might write to one of my girls. you gave hope, guidance, love, support, understanding and a promise to someone who may have never known any of that. you are amazing. i am so glad that cassie has you and your daughters in her life. hugs and peace for you.


  5. hi,i m from India, its touching but the reality of life, its nice to have people like u around, it keeps the hope alive, i wish u luck and pray that cassie gets strength to move on in life. bless u


  6. I stumbled on to your site (from Tara’s site) and have been reading your posts.

    You sound like an incredible woman. How wonderful that you opened your heart to that poor girl. If this world only had more people like you in it. 🙂


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