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Life Journey Poem: I'm Sorry

Updated on November 12, 2011

I remember swimming back to the surface of consciousness

As I lay bruised and beaten upon my teenager's bed

Seeing myself as if from a distance never to be the same again


Violation and violence come in all shapes and can have many faces

That strip away your self esteem and send you crashing

Onto the rocks of despair crying out in pain the single word why


That particular fall day I lost something I have since never found

That burgeoning young person poised on the cusp of new life

Waiting to discover all the joys and possibilities the world had to offer


Something broke inside me even though this was not my first time

But it was the first time I'd ever been assaulted by a man

Though that term in retrospect does not seem to apply


For a man would not behave with such disregard for a girl's well being

The consequence did not fit the crime nor was the lesson learned

People you were supposed to trust having proven themselves wanting


Instead of understanding, compassion and guiding a child

Pounding and pummeling someone into submission will always fail

To believe this could somehow positively impact a child is insane


If the tables were turned how could anyone expect to survive

Carrying the baggage of violence on their back for eternity

Stripped of self respect and locking away love and trust


My life took a different path from that day forward as I saw

First hand the abusive impact twisted people can have on lives

Without so much as a glimmer of remorse or a hint of guilt


While they go on and never seem to look back at their actions

The abused goes forward with a soul torn into two pieces

Seeking to forgive but most importantly somehow to forget


Lifetimes can be changed in the blink of an eye

Parents and mentors have that much power over their wards

Shame on those that mistake their privilege as a source of power


It is true that children are resilient and can survive unspeakable traumas

But something that cuts is sharp and will undoubtedly leave a scar

Bruises may heal but the ache and their hue the body remembers


Wishing things hadn't happened the way they did is time wasted

Life is unsurpassed moments of beauty and those of undiluted pain

Sadly the bad sometimes carry more weight than the good


Moving on is a positive step that one can eventually learn

Even knowing that a person who did the unthinkable walks on

Without a seed of guilt and without thought for the pain inflicted


God help us but we want the smallest two words that anyone could utter

"I'm sorry" would be a balm of healing on the unclosed wounds

For all who have suffered abuse at the hands of another


Rare it is that a person so grievously wronged will ever hear those words

Look to your salvation in who you become and what you do instead

In desperation I adopted my mantra for them in "I feel sorry for you"


Abuse takes on many forms and is rarely as invisible as we pretend

People know what they see but instead turn away or close their mind

Leaving the aggrieved to fend for themselves against the devil they face


My experiences made me indeed who I am and gave me strength

Yet if I had to live through it all again, I doubt that I would have the stamina

To come out on the other side of the hopelessness and helplessness


For those who suffered or suffer even now I will say I am with you

In mind and even in body remembering the pain of something endured

In spite of those who cannot say it I say to you "I'm sorry; I'm sorry for your loss"


Meaning of the Poem I'm Sorry

This poem is dedicated to the victims of the current child abuse scandal which has come to light at Penn State.

When I read words like "they never saw it coming" or words to the effect of how shocked everyone is that this was going on, I can think nothing other than that they are lying.

Very few instances of child abuse or child molestation go unawares. I just do not believe it. Perhaps my belief is tainted by the fact that I was abused throughout my childhood years. While it was more "acceptable" than it is now to beat children with belts or otherwise abuse kids no matter what age, it still left scars which I have tried these 58 years to heal.

Violation on any level of another person does not go unnoticed. I believe that there are people who do know what is going on except perhaps in the rarest of cases. Usually, as in the case of Penn State, you find someone or multiple people who have an inkling of what is happening but refuse to stand up and stop the abuser.

In my case, it was my mother. Even though some of her behaviors towards me were likewise abusive on an emotional level, they were not physically abusive. However, she knew that my grandmother was beating me all the time but did nothing to stop it. Enter my stepfather and the same scenario recurred. Even family members knew what was happening but no one stepped in to defend a child.

To think of more than 40 counts of child sexual abuse going on under the noses of Penn State staff members makes me cry. To think of those lives irreparably changed while people in power stood by and did nothing is criminal. Dismissing these people is one thing but the aftershocks will linger forever in these victims' lives.

I've found personally that healing is a precarious thing. You can forgive, you can forget to a degree and you can move on. However, there will always be moments where you will pay the price for losing your trust and your child-like acceptance of life moments. As in my case, you may even have lost your childhood and not understand what it means to be a free spirit.

Counseling is by far the greatest asset to someone who has been abused on any level but also understanding what happened to you and why is key. The line from the movie Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams tells Matt Damon "It's not your fault" is something the abused on any level can take to heart, something vital to remember.

My plea is to reach out to the world in general and don't allow abuse to stand. Not to animals, not to the planet, not to women, not to men, not to children, not to the elderly, not to anyone. I do believe that in the end, we reap what we sow and forgiveness is a skill you have to learn. The important thing is to stop it before it ever happens to someone you love.



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    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Dolores - Thanks for coming back~ I'm not sure if it is kindness or self-preservation as you point out. It is important for anyone who has been abused to heal themselves and I think hatred and animosity towards the abuser(s) is detrimental to the healing process. Especially if it is as in my case someone you love or someone very close to you.

      I call it moving on more than forgiveness as I am a realist. Though I loved these people, my feelings were and never will be the same for them. So it really isn't forgiveness in the truest sense of the word though I am not a religious gal by nature. I've always felt though that it was a huge piece of my puzzle to understand the why (they needed help and did not get it; they were broken and never sought help to get it fixed).

      I do find though that it is a never-ending process. I liken child abuse to the gift that just keeps on giving. You do have to live with it for all your days and truly, in my own experience, it can hurt you again from out of nowhere. But as the AA saying goes, taking it a day at a time and an experience at a time works for me; not looking back but looking ever forward and pitying those who can't seem to understand the concept that to feel good about one's self you don't have to hurt others in the process!

      My own experiences taught me many things and for that alone, I am grateful. No one ever knows the whys but I tend to think of the other side of that coin as well. Why do some children get cancer or die in a tragic accident? Or lose their parents? To me, it could be either 'it was meant to be' or it was a 'random roll of the dice'. No matter though - it happened and best get on with the business of living. That would be my motto in most things I guess.

      Anyhow, Mrs. Verbose is going to go back to work~~~ Thanks again for dropping in and for your comment of depth!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      While I understand the importance of forgiveness, how it can be of a spiritual help to one's self (and that bargain people make with God when they pray for forgiveness), I have a hard time understanding how people can forgive the really awful stuff.

      And see? There you go, spreading kindness right here, right now, spreading love. Love to you as well, Audrey.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Dolores, bless you for your kind, kind words. I've learned a lot over my many years and finally came to terms with it happening for some unknown reason to me. But in spite of it, you are correct. It did not break me and actually helped me become stronger when I needed to be later in life when faced with tribulations such as raising our son who was born legally blind. I always think that the fires of "hell" made me stronger.

      I also maintain to this day that everything happens for some reason although you are right about the other part as well. Being broken inside has to hurt the abuser and make life a very painful trek for them. I do try and keep that in mind always.

      Forgetting seems to be the most difficult task in the cycle of abuse although forgiveness or understanding seems to be least in my case. I think that is part of the survival instinct~

      Thanks so much again for stopping by and taking the time to write such a heartfelt comment~~ Virtual hugs!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Dear Audrey - the poisoned soul that would intentionally harm a child is its own punishment. They could not really touch you, they could not really break the person inside. I've read so many articles about abused people, how they have been totally destroyed. You can feel it in their words. But your strong spirit, your goodness and humor have shown the importance of inner strength. God bless you for sharing this, and teaching us all that other people can't really destroy us, no matter how hard they try.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      I didn't win anything for it in the contest, Sharyn but no matter - it still made me feel better writing it to be honest and that's all that counts! Thanks so much for the read.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hello AK,

      This piece of writing is truly excellent. I have not taken the time to read through the comments, but I hope you won something for this work during the contest. Excellent subject - I hope your words reach many!


    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Admiral for your support and glad you are on board~~~

    • Admiral_Joraxx profile image

      Admiral_Joraxx 6 years ago from Philippines

      Great hub here Akirchner =)! I'm one with you in this campaign against child abuse. It's something I believe the whole world must take action. 1 vote up and beautiful for this.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Ah indeed, Nell - Bob helped me along the way more than anyone in my life. We've had a great ride and hoping we get to enjoy life for a bit longer. Thanks so much as always for your kind words and treasure you across the sea~~~!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Audrey, any sort of abuse verbal or physical is something that takes such a long time to get over, my ex husband had to put up with it from his father, and still has nightmares, I am so sorry that you had to go through this, thank goodness you found bob, and you never lost your wonderful sense of humour too, nell

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Hanna - that is a fantastic analogy - dirty little worms! I think I can go with that one. Definitely in my stepfather's case. He is a trip and had it not been such a violent one, I probably could laugh at him. Sad to say though, his abuse goes on. Whatever level he can find to use it, he does, whether it's to my mother now or even to their dog. Disgusting.

      I can only hope that people like this eventually reap what they sow. Revenge is not something I want to ever dwell on but hopefully somewhere, sometime.

      Thanks for your support as always, Hanna. You too know of what I speak as emotional abuse is just the same as physical abuse in my book!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      This was an exceptional great poem and writing. I am sorry to learn about your childhood. With experiences like you only can learn to live with it. It must have been shocking. I know you are the better person and yes this should make you rise above it. These are just dirty little worms. Take care and all the best.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Thank you, BJ - I think I'm blushing! Your kind words are a balm to my soul...and I appreciate your support as always.

      It's been said that I'm a master at making lemonade from lemons and I hope I can always live up to that accolade. As I say, some days are better than others but I DO find that humor lightens the load~

      Thanks for the visit and as always, treasure your insight and humor as well! You are a special gift and you HAVE a special gift (probably many more as well)!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Audrey, You ARE a survivor, my dear, as well as being unbelievably passionate, intelligent, creative, ingenious, humorous (in other hubs), and heroic. Do not for even one single nano second ever forget that. This was a very special story and I appreciate that you shared it. Wait a mo, I left our strong, clever and funny (in other hubs). Voted up, of course.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      You are so very welcome Audrey!!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Eiddwen - Thank you for your kind remarks and YOUR inspiration as well. I know there are a lot of us survivors out there. I'm definitely giving you a virtual hug and a huge pat on the back! I'll throw in one for me, too~~

      You are right too about writing being a good way to express some of our feelings. I hesitated to post up this and my "dark" story but they are things that need to be said lest we forget that abuse still goes on even in this "modern" world where we know so much. There are still people who never believe that they need help and never seek it, who just keep on keeping on and leaving their trail through their victims' lives.

      I've found personally that even confronting your abuser(s) does not always work. My mother and stepfather are unfortunately locked into their mentality that I somehow deserved this and that if ONLY I had been a better child....insane thinking and hard to swallow at best. I did have the satisfaction though of having my husband tell my stepfather that if he did today what he did to me, he would be locked up and don't think he liked that too well. Then recently at a gathering with my kids, my daughter's husband, my sister and her boyfriend, Bill voiced his opinions on child rearing and just happened to add his opinion that "certain" children because of how they were deserved to be beaten if "that's what it took".

      Wow - I could have cried the response was so overwhelming. Even though there were other things going on, like the TV, the a PERSON everyone turned on him and said unbelievably honest things. He shut up for a good hour after they all let him have it. Small vindication but one nonetheless.

      I do believe that life throws you curves or deals you cards - whatever the metaphor and you just have to deal with it. Sometimes are easier than others and I do admit I have some triggers which push me back down again. But I have learned that I'm stronger than I think I am and I have much to rejoice in and live for so I try and put the other stuff into perspective. It is NOT who I am and will NOT define me. As I said, all I feel is pity for those who cannot seek help and who abuse.

      My hat's off to you, Eiddwen - and WOW - a publisher! Rub some of your good fortune on me virtually~~~ I'd love to be published one day - I'll keep plodding along and see what I can see on the road of life~~

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Oh my very sweet and also very strong friend!!I can sadly relate to this story and this is why I initially wanted to join Hubpages so that my story will help others.

      I do not question how I've overcome and overpowered my childhood and adult abusers.

      Some were already dead when I first realised that I had won the day and that I was happy living my life as me.Bit it did not matter that they were no longer on this earth I said it to them anyway and this was enough!!

      You are also a strong survivior my friend and I can gleam more from a writer than from someone who I was talking to.

      It is so easy to hide many emotions/words/happenings/truth when in speech but we do tend to write from our hearts when we create a strong and so honest hub like this one.

      lots of love and hugs and shall we both give ourselves a pat on the back!!!

      I am preparing a book of poems to send to my publishers in the next week; many of the poems are inspirational.

      I wish you all that you desire in your life.

      Take care and have a wonderful day..


    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, Pamela - it's sometimes just the 'luck of the draw' who gets the abuse card I think. In the end, it's all about what you do with it to heal the wound. Although you will always have scars, I think I can say with 100% certainty that it is possible to still live a fulfilled life.

      The one thing I do regret is not having more of a childhood and perhaps that is why I have to be a cut-up now in my dotage. And I pretty much tell it like it is these days which I think is a form of fighting back.

      Nice to see you as well, Pamela and even if I don't frequent as often, I'm here in thought~ Wishing you the best always! Audrey

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      Very well written over your pain on something that should never have happened. The Penn State situation is so awful as people knew for years and did nothing to stop this despicable man. You can't give back a child's innocence and I am sorry you ever had to endure abuse. I am glad to see you back writing again.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Thanks as ever for stopping by, Holle - not too many good things to be said for abuse on any level indeed!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Beautiful take on an ugly topic. You handled it seamlessly, my friend. Voted up, etc.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Crewman - Thanks for your kind comment as well. I'm not sure if it is courage as just being honest, which is something I've always been in spades. It's just a travesty to me to think of other children suffering when we claim to be so advanced and such free thinkers. But I do know from experience with my own family that not all folks get the help that they sorely need - that is even sadder in my humble opinion as there is so much of life to live and so far you can go if you just try to realize your weaknesses and improve on those.

      Thanks again for stopping in - obviously a subject I'm very passionate about~~~

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 6 years ago

      Audrey, you're just amazing. That took courage, and I'm grateful to you for writing it.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Arusho - Indeed it is - thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

    • arusho profile image

      arusho 6 years ago from University Place, Wa.

      Good job, very well written. It's unfortunate when this happens to children.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Will - Isn't that just the sickest thing ever??? I'm hoping that all of them get exactly what they deserve as I cannot think how his victims' lives will be forever impacted.

      Thanks for the link and thanks for the comment.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "When I read words like "they never saw it coming" or words to the effect of how shocked everyone is that this was going on, I can think nothing other than that they are lying."

      And you're right. Jerry Sandusky's uncontrolled sexual appetite for other males was so well known that a university ice cream shop named a not-so-subtle dish after him:

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Om - How sad for him. I'm not sure if it would have been worse if I were a guy or not! It is hard to put it behind you and I'm a firm believer in seeking out counseling to help that along. I did that early on in my adult life just because I didn't understand why it happened to me or how. You expect to be able to trust the people who are actually caring for you!!

      But cheesy as it is, you are right - that's why I'm a happy ending kinda gal I guess. Meeting Bob was absolutely the flat out best thing that could have happened to me. He has always been a balm to my woundedness which every once in a while creeps out when I least expect it.

      I always tell my kids we are all a work in progress though and every path we take is all part of the whole. It makes us who we are like it or not and then we are faced with the choices we can make along the way. And it's nice to know that healing is in fact possible!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll say a silent prayer for your friend to have turned out okay and that he's safe and comforted by the love of someone special.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Audrey, this is so wonderful and meaningful. I had a friend who was physically abused by his mother as a child, and I could see that he still carried that pain with him even in his adulthood when she wasn't there to hurt him anymore. He really had a hard time trusting people and appreciating life. And one day, he just moved away without telling anyone. Till this day, I still don't know where he is or how he's doing. I'm glad you have healed and moved on. I also agree that love can heal anyone's soul. It might sound very cheesy but it's also very true. :)

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Gail, that is truly right on. If it can touch one person, I'm thrilled. I have spent many years trying to convey this message to my own mother but unfortunately me thinks it is too late.

      I think that is the hardest part of all for anyone - seeing the pattern and deciding that it is just that. Patterns are meant to be broken or rather they can be broken if but you see them.

      Life is short and even though I'm now an old lady (or getting there), I believe in living it and loving it for all its worth. I'm so grateful for the ride I've had and even through the bad stuff, it worked to accentuate the good and make me ever so thankful for where I ended up.

      It also served a purpose to make me very strong willed and capable and that is never a bad thing~ To be lovable was the greatest gift of all and I'm only sorry I can't start all over with Bob as it truly has been the best part of the ride!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Hi Audrey,

      I hope people read these comments. "I have chosen to live my life not as I knew it but as I want it. Thankfully it has turned out to be just that."

      That statement is soooooo empowering and the fact that you were able to find a man like Bob whose love and gentleness has helped you heal is wonderfully inspiring.

      It is time for this story to be brought to light. I have no doubt that it will be read by at least one person who needs to hear exactly what you've said and see that they can create a different kind of future in their lives.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Barb for saying a mouthful. From your lips to God's ears. I know there will always be abuse but I believe if we all take a more active role in preventing it on so many levels, it could help.

      Mine is pretty much in the past, though I still deal with my stepfather's verbal abuse. However, he doesn't have any power over me since I learned growing up from that that the possibility of moving on lies within us. I have chosen to live my life not as I knew it but as I want it. Thankfully it has turned out to be just that.

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      So sorry you had to write about abuse from experience. It's a powerful message. I hope it will help people to be more aware of those who need help and try to find appropriate ways to help them.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Gail - my oh my - that might make me cry. I struggled again with this one because it is so very personal. I have a hard time sometimes letting people know in graphic details about my past simply because it doesn't fit with who I see myself as today.

      That said, I hate to read about people who are being victimized (or animals, the planet, people of a different religion - the list just goes on) and others who just look the other way.

      I do believe there is hope once we all start to look around us and stand up for what we believe...not only what is good but to shout out about what is bad and do something about it.

      I think as well, saying how you feel about abuse is the key to healing. Remarkably I have a "relationship" with my family of origin and my stepfather who was the brute in this particular story. I do understand why "good people" or at least decent people do bad things. However, the clear, hard truth is that it changes people forever. They usually go on in their pattern of abuse no matter what you do, say, or think but it is possible to survive and go on.

      Some days are always better than others, but I thank all the powers that be that I knew what I did not want to become and I actively sought to be different/be "better" and GET better as I climbed out of my pit of despair. Meeting Bob was the best thing that ever happened to me and it still is. The antithesis of abuse is love and there is no one on this earth who has ever loved me more or as purely. THAT will heal anyone's soul and I could not put into words what I feel for this gentle man. He is by far the epitome of the word gentleman and will always be my hero~

      Thanks for taking another walk on the dark side with me. It seems that I needed to get these 2 stories out of me for some reason and thank you for your indulgence. I DO believe in happy endings and I'm a survivor who can attest to the fact that it is possible!!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      My Dear Audrey,

      I write this with a heavy heart at the thought of what you have endured and awe at your courageous decision to write this hub in its unvarnished truth. You so eloquently expressed the soul killing/numbing effects of emotional and physical abuse and the way it can rob children and teenagers of trust and innocence and impact the rest of their lives, even if they are able to heed your advice to: "Look to your salvation in who you become and what you do instead"

      The road to healing is long and hard, apologies by abusers are rarely given, but I know you have become a person who stands up for the rights of animals and others and have tremendous compassion.

      Love you, my dear hubber friend, you have become an amazing woman.


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