Asher spent the night with an older couple who cares deeply for us. We needed him to be safe, and we also needed him to be out of our house. The other children are scared and unsure. Our own desire to protect them is causing us to see things in light of only this recent disclosure. The heartbreaking reality is that our children have lived with this pain and relational perversion for years. Joseph and I can only pray that someday they are able to see that as soon as we did learn we took action.
The questions are beginning. I keep thinking, “I’m not sure I know how I’m going to survive such-and-such,” until something new comes along to push me even further. We chose to share our nightmare with a select number of our church’s leadership and a small group of dearly trusted friends. We need the counsel and wisdom from these gentle people, and we also need their support and encouragement. Everyone is shocked. I can barely hear myself speak without feeling as though I’m somehow lying. I can’t really be talking about my life with my children.
Our days are locked into appointments and interviews. We brought Asher to the Sheriff’s office to turn him into the police. He is so small and scared. He has no idea what is ahead of him. He asked in the car when he will be able to go home, and we had to tell him that we weren’t sure but that it would probably not be for quite some time. I prayed with him in the back seat of our minivan while stroking his hair and speaking in hushed tones. Joseph spoke to him about our responsibility to see that he receives the help he needs while also making sure he understands the devastation he wreaked on our family. Asher’s heart is confused. He sees what Drake did to him and through years of trying to rationalize it (and ingesting the lies that it was his fault), he simply can’t see what the big deal is when it comes to his own actions. I feel schizophrenic because I love this child who is my son, and I’m also completed disgusted at the lack of genuine understanding for the ways he inflicted known pain onto his siblings. Especially when he knows firsthand what it does to you.
The police officers were awkward and callous in the way they handled us. Living in a small town doesn’t help. Obviously, these are things that only happen to drug-addict families who live in the big city. Evil and deviance and sin don’t happen here! Oh, but they do.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
I must hold to this somewhat fatalistic view of things to keep from going insane. Honestly. A week ago my life was made up of questions about summer plans and deciding if we should get Savannah a smartphone for her birthday. Today, I must weigh decisions about whether or not we share with Asher the emotional state of his siblings to give him comfort (they miss him) and perspective (they are growing increasingly more upset as the validation that his choices were wrong and hurtful allows them to feel the injustice of the abuse).
Nothing is new under the sun. So, we push into this awkward and humiliating reality by answering every question as thoroughly as possible.
Did Asher understand what he was doing? Yes.
Did Georgia, Olivia, and Nathan ask him to stop? Did they feel threatened by Asher and made to believe they would get into trouble if they did not comply? Yes.
Did this happen more than once? Was it something that occurred frequently? Yes.
Were we aware of this? No.
Have we ever spoken of or taught our children about appropriate and inappropriate touching? Yes.
Have we removed Asher from our home? Is he somewhere safe that does not allow him any access to his siblings? Yes.
My stomach hurts and I can see the color drain from Joseph’s face. This is not our life. This is not our life. This is not our life.