It’s time to unpack. His story must be told.

He was real. And he was awesome. He was my brother.

I came across a box today. A box of memories. The box was dusty, purposefully hidden away in the forgotten corners of my mind. Instead of shoving it back where I found it, I sliced it open. The contents spilled out at my feet, and I was amazed at how much could fit in such a small box. Words, smells, emotions, textures, all begging to be felt, to be remembered.

He was in this box. Eric. My brother. I miss him. I miss him. Afraid I’ll soon no longer be able to conjure his face, his laugh, his mannerisms in my mind,  I must unpack these boxes. I can’t move into my own life until I do.

This process will be painful, both to write, and probably to read. This story is mostly tragic, mostly sad. Some bright spots, some hope, but mostly tragedy. This isn’t one of those things that “I wish hadn’t happened, but I’m so glad it did.” I wish it hadn’t happened, and I’m not glad it did.

I considered starting a separate blog, but decided against it. After all, his story is my story. It shaped who I am. And although it was a definitive period in my life, it does not define my life. I will still share my experience with motherhood, the occasional recipe, and some completely random posts.  I will proudly share the happy stories, the mundane stories.  I will give my children a sense of normalcy, even if I have to fake it.

Eric’s story won’t necessarily be told in chronological order, and my interpretation of events may be a little different than others. If you know my family, you probably already know some of our story. The short version: my brother, my intelligent, funny, generous, amazing brother was “practically raped” (his words) by a Catholic priest when he was only 12 years old. Seventeen years later, he took his own life. The pain was too much. But there’s more, so much more.

Nearly 13 years later, the gaping wound in my heart still bleeds. It’s slowed to a trickle at times, but if agitated, it hemorrhages nearly uncontrollably. The one thing I hope to accomplish is personal healing. That’s it. Well, that’s mostly true. I want to reach others, to help others, but don’t want to be discouraged if that doesn’t happen. But I so hope it does.

I came across a blog post today about fulfilling the mission of your blog’s tagline. What are you promising readers if they stick around? 

Mine is spot-on. When life gives you a story, tell it. So, I am.

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29 thoughts on “It’s time to unpack. His story must be told.

  1. Every story must be told, I applaud you for telling it and respect you for finding the courage to do it.

      • Hello Cat our July Magazine featured Nikki Wells she is razing Hell against the church for she to was abused by a Priest. If you will like to connect with her let me know and I will connect you both. She is doing a film also called razing Hell.

  2. I think every shared story helps someone, whether we realize it or not. You may never know who you help, but you will touch someone’s heart. In some way, you may inspire someone to help, guide someone on their path, or help someone realize what they need to do to heal.

  3. Cat,
    Thanks for sharing your story. It definitely takes courage. I too lost my brother 12 years ago and can relate to what you are going through in some ways. Let me know if you want to get together some time. Perhaps we can help each through this journey. A journey I have been putting off for 12 years.

  4. I wish I could apologize on behalf of an entire church, but I can’t. I can only say how sorry I am that you lost your brother in this way and how much I admire you for opening up about it. What you have to say will most definitely help others to heal too.

    • Oh Erin, just the fact that you want to is enough. I miss so much about the church, but don’t think I could ever go back. I am happy most of my extended family still has their roots in that church, and I support them. It’s devastating to lost one’s faith, and I don’t wish it on anyone.

  5. Hey, Cat,

    Thanks for the nod at the end of your post. I really write for these moments when I can connect with a reader. I, too, having been opening boxes lately (now that me second parent has died, we children are cleaning out the house). It’s a roller coaster ride opening this stuff up, but it’s also a blessing to have those mementoes. I encourage you to tell your stories. In doing so, you don’t always know who you are impacting, but just know that you are. I am writing my memoir right now and have a box of kleenex on my desk at all times. : )

  6. Cat, thank you so sharing. I often rummage through a box I have of a dear friend and then the feeling of helplessness sets in, but then there are good days where I just laugh at remembering the happier times. Remembering is what keeps her with me. I look forward to hearing his story. You have a lot of courage.

  7. You are wise and brave, my friend. Your willingess to open your very soul to others is one of the things I admire most about you. Be true to your heart and be courageous in your journey of memories and self-healing, and allow God to use you as His instrument in helping others who are hurting. Many of us will only know your brother through you, and what a blessing it is that you are sharing him with us in this way. So proud of you!

  8. You are such an amazing writer. I will look forward to your story, Eric’s story, unfolding on your blog pages.

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