SHE COLLECTS TEDDY BEARS
by Sheri Adams
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Growing up, she was a sickly child. She took medications from the time she was 4 years old. She didnít notice it. This was life. She went on doing what all the other children did. Then one day, her world changed.
A teenager walked into her room and she was only 3 years old. She had no fear of this teenager. Her dad and the teenagerís dad worked together. In fact, their families lived in the same apartment building. So when the teenager walked into the room, the little girl had no fear, thinking that the teen was here to play.
Oh, she was there to play, but not in the way that the child had thought. Tossed up on the bed, stripped of her clothes, there she lay, naked as a jaybird. Next thing she knew, she couldnít breathe. She felt smothered as the teenager had her way with her. The child was warned to not say a word or she would be burned, so she lay there silent. And when it was all over, the teenager dressed and put the childís clothes back on.
The child, confused, ran to the bathroom and washed her hands until her mother came running and told her that she had washed enough, she was wasting water. The little girl asked her mommy for a bath, but she had just been bathed. She didnít feel clean. She felt dirty and she couldnít stand the smell.
Sadly, this went on for two years and the little girl remembers it all. And the saddest part is, the person who did this to her was also a female.
Three years later, the child ran into this now older teenager and all over her, she felt a freezing fear. She could not figure out why she was so afraid when she saw the teenager. She only knew she was frightened, her heart beating faster than ever before.
Years passed and the memory of those fearful, tragic 2 years slipped from her mind. She had been diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Epilepsy immediately after being abused. Now an adult, the flashbacks came flooding back. She didnít know where to turn. In her sleep, they haunted her and chased her, and in the day, she couldnít escape the images and feelings that were surfacing.
Still today, that child, now a woman, struggles with the abuse that started her road on a long one of abuse after abuse. For more than 20 years of her life, she endured rape, assault, abuse, molestation every year of her life from the age of 12 right until her thirties. She struggles to stay positive amongst all the wayward memories. And they are not false-memory syndrome. They are as real as you or I today.
She will never forget the days that started her life on a road of pain and terror, but she will one day find that the memories will lessen in their intensity. Now she collects teddy bears. He house is full of them. They bring her comfort. She only has over a hundred of them. But they bring her comfort as she cuddles them while she sleeps. They remain awake while she sleeps, protecting her from the possible dangers that might come upon her in the night. The bears are her guardians, she has sitting throughout her house in every room.
When she is frightened by the memories, she picks a teddy bear and clutches to it as if it were her lifeline. They bring her comfort and they wipe her tears away. Silent, yet they understand her pain. She collects teddy bears because they truly understand her life and her pain.
Abuse never helps anybody and only satisfies the perpetrator for that moment, sure that they will attack again. This woman learned this at the lowly age of three when she lost all innocence and her childhood for the rest of her life. And yet, she finds ways to go on by helping those who have been through similar experiences and in her artwork and writing.
The best therapy is facing the past and overcoming the fear that was instilled and the way to overcome the fear is to forgive the person who hurt you so you are no longer bound to them for life, no more to drag them around with you everyday.
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What a sad story. I hope and pray that the subject of your article and others like her will find peace and healing, not in Teddy Bears who can't hug back, but in Jesus who can, and does. Blessings. Hope we'll see you again on the Challenge.