It Was Me I Could Not Save


Here is the weird thing:

For decades I could remember the night my father was beaten.

I could see through the eyes of my sister watching as the young men beat my father with a tire iron. I could see my fathers white tee-shirt soak with blood and I could hear my father scream,

“Honey! Get the FUCK in the house God Fucking Damn It!”

My sister stood and watched and could not move and I spent decades watching my father bleed and the men beat him; I watched through my sisters eyes.


Decades pass.

I ask my father why my sister did not leave the scene of the crime.

We were in the bar, talking while I drank.

Daddy sat quiet, staring at me.

“What are you talking about?”

I am talking about when you were beaten, the worst time, not the other time. Why didn’t she move?

“Honey,” Daddy said, “it was you. You were there. Not your sister. You were the one and You did not move.”


It took me years to wrap my head around this. I was not her. It was me.

I chose to see through the eyes of someone else the thing I could not bear to see. The blood and the lights and the screaming.

All of it so vivid; so real; so haunting

because it was mine.

I was there.


I lived with those memories.

I live with those memories

and still those are not the worst.

I lived with the guilt.

I could not save my sister, I could not make her


I could not save my father.

I carried the guilt for decades; the guilt weighing half again as much as the Blood.

It was me I could not save.

it was me.



A  Fucking Mind Bender

A Fucking Life Saver.

A therapist later would call it:  dissociation.

Damn. There is even a word for it.



See these related posts:

Memory Grinds and Grinds * A Mortar and Pestle

Crossroads * Not Always Easy But Always Always Important

I Want You To Care About PTSD * Help Heal the Hidden Wounds of War

~ by Step On a Crack on April 2, 2012.

19 Responses to “It Was Me I Could Not Save”

  1. Our minds are very good at protecting us when it can as you have shown. hope you are ok


    • Louise,

      Thank you for the concern! I am A OK. I AM writing this with a lot of years behind me. The murder had me shaken up last night and PTSD is lurking. The murder and the news video of MY old home has me stirred up. The shot in the video is almost exactly where my father was beaten. so it goes.

      Thank you for caring…

      Peace, Jen


  2. Behold the power of trauma on a young mind. This is such a piercing, raw truth of memory, I am speechless. Hugs to you courageous one. Hugs, yes, healing hugs.


    • Yep. Remember the ads: ‘this is your brain on drugs…”

      This is my brain with trauma. Thank God for the sub-concious. I have NO clue how I would have survived otherwise!

      HUGS to you too my Friend!



      • Yes, I remember the ads! Yes, there is trauma in there, but there’s sure a heck of a lot of beauty, strength, and courage. I know I’m not the only one to see it either. 🙂 Thanks for the hugs, I’m sending super sized hugs back. 🙂


  3. Jen, what you’ve experienced in life….saddens me to the core. And your strength amazes me! grace and peace my friend xo


  4. This is a spooky post because it’s so tragic. I cannot begin to know the horror, or the confusion. Finding out later that it was you must have been hard to believe. But you believe your father. He would tell you the truth.

    Thank you for pouring out your heart with us. You’ve come so far.


    • Heidi, It was a WEIRD WEIRD thing to realize I had been disassociating. When my dad told me it made 100% sense. Suddenly all the horrible flashbacks made SENSE. They were my memories. It was a huge relief to realize that it was me. (does that make ANY sense? I wish it had not been any of us, but it just was a relief to know that I had not conjured up all that blood) It took a very good therapist to help me learn to STOP disassociating . I found that when PTSD would hit, I would just crawl up on the ceiling and watch myself. The human brain is a remarkable thing. The human Heart is even greater.

      The writing helped. The sharing helped even more. I am finding that so much of this JUNK in my head, life, heart is made lighter when shared. This blog thing has helped me NOT isolate. I, of course, would never TELL anyone about this. Writing and posting makes it easier to let it go….

      Thank you for being HERE!

      XO Jen


  5. Hey, sorry about the subway … we got disassociated. Honey, that is hard hard HARD stuff. Sister, Mother … the Mother of the house. The heart and eyes of you and Andrea. You felt it all, you absorbed it all … i love that you FEEL. We’ve talked about how to “disassociate” or to be “one of those people” who Live as a NON-ASSOCIATE, right?

    As painful as your life has been … you have been “in it” … fighting for it. Never would you ignore or pretend you were not affected.

    Being Affected is the harder road … and the road less traveled. You travel well, my friend. XO MEL


    • MeL… We will continue on the phone when we can.. I LOVE hearing your voice and want to finish what we started today…

      WE have been In It and guess what?

      WE are now OUT of IT!!!

      man, Warrior Women Arise!

      Love, Jen


  6. Dear Jen-
    I’m convinced that defense mechanisms are a gift designed to protect us from what we’re too fragile to handle in the moment.
    I simply can’t imagine the horror for you – or for you Dad, knowing you were seeing all this.
    In such intense trauma, i don’t think dissociation is a bad thing.
    But in time, we all want the memories back in order.
    That had to be such a stunning conversation with your Dad.
    I can so understand why it would be a relief to realize it was you standing there all along.
    You’ve blamed yourself for not protecting your Dad. You couldn’t have. You also didn’t protect the child who was you. Your mind did the best it could with that.
    That’s a lot of guilt to live with.
    The harshest reality still outweighs the hidden truth.
    You’re an amazing woman.
    I admire you more than I can say.


  7. Oh my goodness, sorry you went through such a horrible experience…my heart aches for that little girl.


  8. I vote for disassociation too. Sounds bad, but the intense pressure on the brain is inconsolable, without repair when you are so young. xo m


  9. Reblogged this on Step On A Crack…Or Break Your Mother's Back.


  10. I have no trouble following this association…


  11. That was hauntingly lovely. Your memories are a beautiful ghost. I’m sorry, and proud of you, at the same time.


  12. I remember reading this the first time you posted it. I did not comment. Odd. Maybe I just felt like thinking instead of writing.
    Glad to see you are up and about…been missing you. ❤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: