i paint i write

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“Mommy, I have a secret.”

 

I called my mother and asked her if she remembered when I told her my secret; the secret I had promised, the man we called Uncle Carl, to keep.

She said, “I remember, you told me a few days after he left.”

I remember telling her. I remember what I said.

I have a crisp memory of the few minutes it took to tell my mother. I have no memories of what happened after. There is only silence and the blur of ordinary days of growing up.

My mother and I were giggling under the covers of her bed. It was dark. I couldn’t see her face. There was the noise of the covers being pulled under our chins; the sound of the furnace kicking in, the sound of cars driving past on Avenue K, the sound of dust landing on the dresser.

“Mommy, I have a secret.” I said

“Tell Mommy.”

“I can’t tell you. I promised Uncle Carl not to tell.”

“There are no secrets from Mommy.”

I told her my secret. I told her what Uncle Carl did to me behind the closed door of my bedroom.

When the words were out of my mouth; when the secret was taken out of hiding, the world stopped spinning. The furnace stopped blowing warm air. The car driving past stopped moving. The dust paused in mid-air. My mother stopped smiling  and didn’t breathe. There was silence.

There were years of silence.

I asked my mother why he left. I asked her why he didn’t stay until my father came back from Ottawa.

“We were in the kitchen and he was drying the dishes. He said, “It’s good to introduce sex, if it’s done in a gentle way, to a young child.'”

My mother told him, “If anyone touches Pamela, I’ll kill them.”

He believed her.  He packed his suitcase and left.

My mother told me I would walk into the kitchen and stare at her. It looked like something was wrong with me, or I was deep in thought. She would ask me what was wrong and I wouldn’t tell her.

I don’t remember what I was thinking.

I know what I am thinking now.
“I don’t like secrets.”

Disclaimer:

These writings refer to Carl Shaack, a Canadian man who died in the early 1990’s. Any resemblance to the name or likeness of any other person using the name Carl, Carl Shaack, or Uncle Carl, is purely coincidental.

 

You can read the next part of the story here.

 

 

 

 

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Carl Shaak

    Maybe Carl Shaak committed suicide because a false accusation destroyed any chance he had of having a normal life again. Maybe your father was privy to your falsehoods and new you were an attention seeker. Maybe you should worry more about the children being tortured as sex slaves and not dwell so much on one pervert.

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  • GirlGriot

    Oh, Pamela– I’m sorry I’ve been such an absent reader and am just coming to this story now. I’m sending a warm embrace both to 8-year-old you and to today-you. I’m glad you told your mother and glad that you have come to the place where you can tell others. For every child who is able to tell, my hope is that their bravery will bring us to a place where fewer and fewer children have secrets like these forced on them. (((Pamela)))

    • Thank you for the hug Stacie. Thank you for reading and caring.

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  • Jaana

    You are a brave woman of God! Your strength is evident. I can see your story giving the strength for other women to come forward. You have set yourself free and now you are setting others free with your story. Thank you for taking this step and sharing so that others can feel the joy again.

    • pamelahodges

      Jaana, I cried when I read your comments this morning. I pray my story helps others heal. Thank you.

  • Joy comes in the morning… you have made it through the night of weeping.
    (Psalm 30:5)

    I am glad you are finding the way to heal, and there is no longer a secret stealing the joy that belongs to you.

    • pamelahodges

      Yes, Joy comes in the morning. I use Joy dish soap, to remind me to pray for my friend Joy, and to remind me that I can have Joy.

  • These have been beautifully bare posts. Thank you for sharing your story, and your heart, with us. God bless you!

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Janelle. Say hello to Canada for me please.

  • You’re so brave to come forward and share this story in a public forum. Breaking your silence and coming forward will help scores of others. I am amazed by your courage and strength.

    • Thank you Stacey. I am grateful to the group for reading and caring.

  • pamelahodges

    Thank you for your prayers Kim. I feel like a different person.

  • Kim

    Now the silence is broken. The secret is exposed. I pray writing about this has brought you peace, hope for complete healing and victory over a painful memory. God bless you.

  • I suspect your mother’s look was enough to send him far, far away forever. I am reminded that we need to all protect our children from those who see life and children through distorted eyes. You are a strong and brave woman and an amazing writer, too.

    • pamelahodges

      My mother could melt ice with her looks. I am thankful she was a mother bear to me and my brother. Thank you for your encouragement.

  • elsie

    Pamela, this had to be so hard to share. You were so right to tell your mother. She is right, there should be no secrets from mommy. That’s an amazing woman who raised you to be an amazing woman.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Elsie. Yes, no secrets from mommy. I miss her. She lives in Canada and I haven’t seen her in two years. She helps me to be strong.

  • Pam, my heart goes out to you. You write beautifully.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Pilar.

  • Pamela

    Great telling. I don’t feel awkward with the subject because I feel your competence and confidence as a writer. I am not to wriggle or sweat, just follow.

    Bravo, well done.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Tara for your encouragement and for reading my story.

  • Marilyn

    I like the WAY you are telling this story, yes it is hard to tell, but you are creating a flow of story that relieves me of the cringe factor. By making your posts short, nicely spaced, it says to me you are in control here and you don’t need me, the reader, to sweat, just follow. I love that.

    I feel your confidence. I am in the good hands of a good writer.

    I will look for your next post.

  • As soon as I read your title, I had a sense of dread about what the secret would be. But you had a mother who believed a you, would protect you….you were blessed that way.

    • pamelahodges

      Yes, feeling blessed by the strength of my mother’s love. Thank you Tara.

  • Berdeane

    oh Pamie………my little “butternose”……..how I love you 🙂

    • pamelahodges

      I will always be your “Little Butternose” Mom.

  • You are brave and strong and beautiful, and the courage you summoned and the pain you faced to write this will help so many. God bless you.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Staci.

  • Pamela,
    I LOVED the way you did this post. You told so much without many words. Great job. And I am very proud of your bravery in sharing this. Thank you.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Anne for your encouragement. Brave only because Jesus is holding my hand as I write. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

  • A story we wish no one had to tell, but one that certainly must be told for healing. Now to look forward. Keep your eyes on the road ahead. Great things are there for you now. You have nothing to fear, nothing to be ashamed of. I pray for you to totally heal these many years later.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you for your prayers Donna. God is restoring me.

  • I love your mother.

    • pamelahodges

      Me too. My mother saw your comment. Thank you for loving the bear in her.

  • Dear Pam,
    Your story brought tears to my eyes. Writing it will help you to heal. I think there are many stories like yours out there but they don’t get told often enough, sometimes never.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Elisa. Thank you for crying for the little girl that was me.

  • Oh, Pam!

    I hope the hurt has gone away, even a bit, after facing and sharing!

    May God heal your heart!

    • pamelahodges

      God is healing my heart. I have never felt such joy.

  • Rebekah

    “Secrets are generally terrible. Beauty is not hidden–only ugliness and deformity.”
    ― L.M. Montgomery

  • This story is so painful and must be told.
    Thank you Pamela for everything it takes for you to tell it.
    You tell it so well. Lmc

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you La. I hope my story helps others. The telling of it helps me.