Shaelan’s Story: When I Can’t Sleep

Shaelan’s Story: When I Can’t Sleep

Now, i want to start off by saying that i was never raped but my experience lasted 8 years of my life and i always felt like i couldn’t compare myself to the ones who had been but my story is just as meaningful as anyone else.

For 8 years, i kept something to myself that i shouldn’t have. i kept it to protect everything and everyone around. For 8 years, i let myself become accustomed to something so terrible. the weight i carried, not only on my shoulders but even my heart, became less and less noticeable as time went on. it started to become normal to me. 8 years later, i let it out. i remember the way my mom cried. the way my dad swore. i knew i really messed up. i remember crying along with my mom apologizing for doing this to them but she kept telling me it wasn’t my fault. no matter how many times she told me it wasn’t my fault, the guilt kept spreading through me like a wildfire. thats when i started feeling like a burden on my family.

i blamed myself for the way my grandpa forced me to kiss him. i blamed myself for the times my grandpa ran his hands up my thighs. i blamed myself for the way he brought me into his back room, with all the lights off, to make me touch him. i blamed myself because i couldn’t say no. i was so young, how could i even begin to stand up to him?

for 8 years, i let myself be mentally ruined by my grandfather. i let my parents get mad at me for being very cold with my grandpa when we were altogether. i let him get away with it for 8 years with no words because i couldn’t say no.

after i let it out, everything changed. everything but me. i was the same. my parents changed, my mom cried a lot. my dad, well, he could barely look anyone in the eyes. a year and a half later, my grandfather passed away from cancer. he was diagnosed right before christmas. i blamed myself. it was my fault. when i was little, my grandpa was my favourite. we had a relationship no one could understand but it wasn’t good. it took me six years to realize that. i still remember it. i still remember lying in bed with him when he was so sick he could barely move. the words he said.
“there’s no point in being here, anymore. Nobody loves me.”

i remember the weight of the silence that came after he said that. i remember the way it ripped at my heart, But i had nothing to say. i didn’t see him as grandpa, anymore. i couldn’t see him as my favourite old man i used to play cards with. no, i saw him as the man who took my innocence at such a young age. i saw him as the man who made me grow up too fast.
the day before my grandfather passed away, we went to go see him and seeing him there the way he was, hurt. he looked so helpless, i knew he didn’t have much time left but part of me didn’t care. i felt like that was selfish of me to say considering i knew how it was for my mom and my grandma. he was waiting for forgiveness. he wanted to go peacefully and he wanted to go knowing that he was forgiven but i didn’t want to forgive him just because he was dying. that wasn’t fair for me. my mom always told me the same thing, “if you feel like you need to tell him how you feel, tell him. but, if you have nothing to say to him, that’s okay.”
i thought about that a lot. i thought about it when we were with him, the day before he passed, and when we were about to leave. everyone had gone to say bye and shared a one sided moment with him because he wasn’t very responsive. i stood in the back with tears forming as i watched everyone else get to say bye, not knowing it would be the last. everyone had left but i was still standing there. i gave him one last look and i walked out. no good bye, nothing. i regretted it, though. i went home and i cried. i cried because i missed him. i missed my grandpa that would always give me snacks and read the newspaper comic with. not the man that stole my first kiss, nor the man that scarred me for life. the thoughts of my grandpa never faded until the next morning. around 10 am, my grandfather passed away. he let go without getting the peace he needed. i spent the rest of the day crying. the guilt i felt overpowered my sadness. i wanted him to know that i forgave him. not because he was sick, but because he was still my grandpa. he was still my grandma’s world. he was still always there for my mom but now, nobody had him.



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