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I Need to Tell You This

Her three year old body is curled up with head resting on knees as she sits on the stump of a huge Douglas fir tree in the vacant lot behind the garage of her house.  Although she is in plain view of all the houses on the next street over, no one she wishes knew is aware that she is there.  Loneliness, fear, confusion, and a deep sadness just roam all around her and she has no idea of what to do, what action to take, because her sister told her if she left that spot, “I m going to tell MOTHER on you.” She has repeatedly been warned about crying.

Patricia at age 3

Everything about her was wrong.

She was born with a tumor bigger than her body and attached to her chest and that had to be removed, she was too skinny, was too talkative, was in the way, could not entertain herself, was TOO EMOTIONAL, and she was not old enough or tall enough to do most things. She wanted desperately to do something/anything right.

She sat on that stump all afternoon – however long that was, until her mother whistled everyone in for dinner and her sister magically appeared to grab her hand and run in the back door out of breath about what a fun afternoon we had enjoyed with her friends.

She knew her sister hated her and radiated that sensation all of her life.

They shared a bedroom for a long time and the threats in the night, when no one was around changed to “I will kill you (or Mother) if you tell”

She hid her brother’s comic books in the stump, before they began building it into a cave-fort.  She hide books that her mother had finished reading and one volume of the encyclopedia at a time, in her closet, plus a flashlight; and she made up stories, which made the stump way more fun. The stories became so much more real.

By age 6 she had conquered the novel Dr. Zhivago  and 5 books of the encyclopedia plus one of the year books.  The teachers at school did not believe her because she could not remember what a 5 was from one day to the next (why they had never even heard the term Dyscalcula until she was 43!).


Now as she turns into a new decade she knows that the English work at not showing emotion and did not know Carl Jung’s theories of connections to the world, that she was assigned to her sister because her mother had been assigned to help rear her 4 younger siblings and that was the pattern to follow, that sibling abuse is as common as parental abuse, that when you identify a problem and name it- talk about it- you can design new ways to achieve success and learn, and that you have to like and love yourself no matter what the world presents you.

If she had any regrets it is that she never asked her Mother why she never touched her or said “I love you” and why her Father did not make a case for someone like her to be considered okay – just for being alive.

She still tells stories, all the time, if only she were not so intense.

3 Responses to “I Need to Tell You This”

  1. Julie Andersen Says:


    The other day I was thinking. . .we never really know the history of another’s life. Even our closest frineds sometimes keep from us the “unspeakable”. I hope the young woman who carries these memories has found within herself a core faith that sustains her. We are so much more worthy than we sometimes believe. God bless the child within.

  2. Meggin Says:

    Reminds me of an old Billie Holiday song! God bless the child that’s got his own.

  3. Patricia Says:

    Many thanks for your comments, Yes! I think that is why I wrote the story because we need to talk about these things and to let people know and to be a resource for all the healing that people need to do in their lives.
    Thank you for your good words and thinking of that song! I chose to use the picture of me at 3 for this piece, because I was not giving up that ice cream cone for anything! I had my own!
    I think every child needs an advocate to help them be the best they can be….

    Patricias last blog post..I Need to Tell You This