Kristina Furey

"Somewhere Out There" from "An American Tale"

Somewhere out there is a plaque that reads “Fathers, the most important thing that you can do for your children is to love their mothers”.  I agree, that definitely has got to be up there as one of the very best things that you can do for your children.

It was the summer of 79.  I sat on the floor of my family’s van between my father and my mother's seat.  We didn't wear seat belts or necessarily even sit in seats back then. There was a mixtape of music coming out of the speakers.  “The Game of Love” filled the van and I watched my father reach over and grab my mother's hand. I watched attentively, as this silent show of affection wasn't normal for them.  My father had instigated it. I looked at his face and saw a tear in his eye, then I slightly glanced over at my mother's face, stoic. I had just turned 11 about 2 months before, so my experience with what was going on here was ZERO but like a bird trapped in a cage during a fire, my heart trembled nervously. I think it was my very first panic attack but it might just be the first one I consciously remember. The rest of our vacation seemed to go without any other indicator that something was wrong.  When we got back home my siblings and I were sent off to camp. I believe my brothers went to Goshen for multiple weeks. I think I went to Wo-Me-To for one week and then to a cousin's house for another week and then with another cousin to the beach for a week. I knew my mother had left to visit her parents during this time and my subconscious mind knew and shared with me, in the form of dreams, nightmares, that she would not be coming back.  

My father was heartbroken.  His mother, who helped out with us, had too many negative comments in regards to my mother during that time.  Hers was not the only behavior that puzzled me, while you would think I would have seen the most gentle loving side of people around me during that time, that's not the case.  It was quite the opposite no REAL support to us as a family unit. It felt like my family and myself we're under some sort of strange attack. Everyone had an opinion and everyone's opinion seemed to devalue my family and its individual members.  If you ever heard someone say, “don't speak negatively about a child's parents in front of them” that is very good advice! One might think that a family would be safe from these behaviors when going to church and during a time like that, one might think a family would find comfort there.  Conversations there became odd, while fishing, leading questions, rumors and looks in my direction that made me feel extremely uncomfortable seemed to be the new norm. Funny how people think they are being clever when they are not, as even a child detects their true negative intentions, whether they fully understand or it just makes them nervous and preyed upon.

Perhaps, everyone has a moment in their life similar to this one I experienced when I was eleven. A moment where the idea of the world they grew up in, fragments into shards, that pave the only path for the barefooted traveler to make their way down.  For me it was traumatizing. For me, the best way to not feel the glass under my bare feet was to find ways to disassociate and disconnect in order to be okay. Pieces of my life became more like, just a matter of fact story I told. It felt like it was somebody else's story and one I didn't take personally, less I fall into the grief.  It was an experience, a lesson and if I could transcend it through problem solving, maybe it could be woven into a net to catch others from falling into that type of experience and the grief that could accompany it. I shared my story when I thought it would be helpful or healing to someone else. I share it now because I realize, so many kids are going through what I went through and worse... With Mother's Day approaching it seems important to note.  Also because this story on 60 Minutes this past Sunday got me reflecting.

For all my own sensitivities it might seem contradictory to hear this from me but taking things personally does not solve problems.  Understanding the problem, going in with the clarity and precision of a surgeon and the intent to tend to the needs of all involved is perhaps the better strategy.  I think it was Oprah Winfrey or one of her many wise guests that said, “When you let go of what you don't want your hand is free to grab what you do want” I guess that's the best way to say letting go of the past or a problem, is the first step to freeing yourself so that you can grab the solution or the future that you deserve.  I really hope those children in the 60 Minutes news story are able to go back and do exactly that!


I really want to thank 60 minutes for continuing to cover the real stories we need to be made aware of and using their time to educate their viewers, making us more aware of what is going on in OUR WORLD and how we may shape a better world for us all!!

Lastly, here is a link to my Mother's Day Vlog.

LINK: "China" by Tori Amos




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