A Grateful Grandfather Finally Finds Hope and Healing
"Let me introduce myself as a grandfather. The first life-changing experience happened when I was 13 years old. I was sent to a Boys' Home in Southern California. After being there just a few months, I was assaulted and sexually abused by other boy residents, some bigger, some older. The abuse continued until I left the facility at age 16. This was my very first experience concerning any sexual matters. I had no one to talk to about this – wondered if it was my fault, did I bring it all on myself. I did not have a solid foundation with my parents so could not talk with family, and in those days, sex was not talked about by anyone that I knew, so I said nothing.
As an adult, I buried those early experiences, never discussed them, never got help and tried to get on with my life. I married, had a family and as the years progressed, I realized those childhood experiences needed to be addressed. Professional help eight years into my marriage failed and so did my marriage. The doctor was unfamiliar with sexual abuse treatment.
A few years went by – I worked hard at two, sometimes three jobs, spent as much time as I could with my two young daughters, attended church and continued to bury the past. One Sunday afternoon, I was invited to dinner with friends, and it was there that I met the 'love of my life' – and once my heart was involved, she was all that I could think about. After a year and a half, we were married - promising to share our lives together and raise our children in a Christian home, though never mentioning the Boys' Home experiences. (We will soon celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary.)
In 1998 I was diagnosed with cancer, which required very serious, life-threatening surgery and a very long recovery. During the recovery period, I had many long days and nights to reflect back on not only my mortality, but also my childhood experiences that had robbed me of so much. Every experience seemed to surface all at once, and I felt like such a miserable person and such a failure to my wife and children.
As I was recovering from the cancer, God brought about a second life-changing experience – when I opened the newspaper one morning and read an article about Roanoke Park Counseling and the work they were doing with victims of sexual abuse. I was so excited to think that there may be help on the horizon for me, but I carried the phone number around for some time before getting up the courage to call. This grandfather was a nervous wreck - for once in my life I felt like maybe there was someone who could help and understand, yet fearful about the process.
With my heart pounding, I made the call. Not only was I concerned about how I was going to pay for the service, I also was concerned about digging up past history. The person I talked with was very kind and helpful and asked that I come in for an interview. After the interview, I was told that someone would be in touch with me in a few days and indicated that help was available. I left the interview so full of hope and promise, yet so full of fear!
In a few days, my first appointment was arranged. I was past being nervous, especially over the thought of revealing my personal sexual abuse experiences. In her wisdom, the therapist assured me that to help, I would need to be open and up front about my past. I had no idea how much those early childhood experiences affected every aspect of my life, but with RPC’s help, I have learned so much about myself. I have been given tools to use and other resources to assist me in everyday living. There were times when I wanted to quit because it was too painful, but I know that without RPC and their staff, I can only imagine where I would be today.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your help. We never get too old to seek out help – thank you for being there for me, Roanoke Park Counseling!"
– A Forever Grateful Client & Grandfather