Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Open Letter to a Ghost

Dear Jenny,
I know it's been a long time. I haven't seen you since sometime in 2000 and I know I didn't say much. With you being the Pastor's daughter I was always a little afraid of how close you were to the power that drove the sad little cult we grew up in, even though I could plainly see you were lonely, gentle, loving and kindhearted. I remember thinking I should invite you to do something with me, but I didn't say anything because I was too scared.

I wish I had been brave enough to open my mouth. I think we could have been friends instead of acquaintances if I had let us, even though you were a few years older than I. If only I had known that you - like me - were struggling to fake happiness in a system that wouldn't support your true desires. If only I had trusted enough to be open with you, maybe we could have helped one another, instead of playing along because we didn't seem to have any other options at the time.

I know it's been a while, but when I heard that your mother murdered you for having premarital sex, I was only 19 and had just pulled myself away from the church where I was horrified to be associated with something so pointless and cruel and so I just didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to admit that I had failed you. But lately I have.

I don't know what upsets me most when I turn your life and death over in my mind. That I wasn't supportive of another woman who needed help and didn't know where to find it; that we were in the situation to begin with; or that people don't even understand how hard it is for kids to grow up like we did with our parents deliberately keeping us ignorant of basically everything in existence except the bible and their twisted interpretations of it so we wouldn't leave the "safety" of the church.

You've haunted my memory for years and I finally realized why: My staunch stand that SEX is NOT a wicked act but a normal facet of human behavior and society is in remembrance of you. My belief that women should be safe from harm in their own homes is in remembrance of you. My ovaries-out approach to feminism, education and equality is in remembrance of you.

Even though I wouldn't let you into my life when you were alive, you fill my life with purpose now. I will never let another Sister suffer in silence if I can help it.

I always loved and admired you. I wish I had told you sooner.


Related posts:
What Women Can and Can't Do
3 Books Every Woman Should Read
My Fictional Female Role Models

Like what you see? Subscribe here or add to Mixx


Keith Sader said...

Well said May, well said.

MoxieMamaKC said...

Very nice post. We all have regrets about someone on the edges of our lives, good for you for turning your regret into an empowerment for other women.

Nuke said...

I had already read your "I'm back" post, and let me say I am glad.

This was a well written and thought provoking post, exactly what I am (spoiled by?) used to getting from you.

I think you did right by this girl, and it was a nice tribute as well as a reminder to all of us.