My brother returned home to Marblehead Massachusetts for the first time in 18 years.
Our Grandpa was waiting with the last school photo he had before we were stolen away.
On June 30 1992 we left Marblehead Massachusetts to go to Minnesota for a visit with our father. Even though our father called weekly and threatened to kill our mother and kidnap us the judge felt that our one year break from him was more than enough time to heal from his abuse. There was a bogus 'Parental Alienation' accusation against our mom and we were suddenly ripped out of her arms without warning. They didn't even give us a chance to say goodbye to our mom, our home, bedroom, friends, school, teachers, classmates, Grandpa, Grandma, toys or even our dog, cat, rabbit and pet turtle.
Our fragile childhoods were destroyed that day! All we had left were broken promises from our mother that ate away at us "Just tell the truth and everything will be alright." But is wasn't all right as our father pointed out to us over and over again while reminding us that our mother was a liar and didn't really love us. As time passed we started to believe him.
Somehow our mother's determination to protect us from abuse was labeled worse than the actual abuse she tried to shield us from. We were not allowed to see her, touch her, feel her, hear her or be comforted by her. There was a hole in our hearts and a longing for our mommy and the way life used to be in Marblehead. There was complete silence which was reinforced by our father and his new wife taunting us "If your mother really loved you she would be here!" How we hated them all!
My brother and I still try to make sense of it all. We are still recovering from the damage that was done by having our childhoods stolen away from us. No... I'm not talking about the 16 years of life on the run with our mom after she rescued us. It's the two years of Hell prior to that when our father was determined to destroy our mother by taking her children away from her and keeping us from her out of malice as he felt she had done.
We are still looking for answers for those who destroyed our childhood but it is of little comfort knowing that they can never be held responsible for violating the law and our civil rights. So we are picking up the pieces of a once shattered life and finding our way back home one step at a time.
Our father has rallied up extremists who are more concerned with punishing our mother for standing up to a broken system then they are about helping my brother and I heal. If they were truly concerned they would embrace us and have empathy for our suffering. They'd help us get on with healing. Instead they taunt us and we are accused by these zealots of being either brain washed or just plain old lying about the abuse that we suffered.
But those family and friends who remember the abuse, who fought for our safety all those years ago, who held vigils and rallies to try to set us free from abuse... they are still there waiting for us to return home. Just as our beloved Grandpa who still carries around the last school photos we gave him once upon a time almost 18 years ago.
I just saw the video of my brother standing in front of our old home on 234 Washington Street in Marblehead Massachusetts with the exact same color on the shingles as I remember. Our mother asked him what he was feeling. He replied "I just had to see that it really existed and that it wasn't all just a dream."