I wrote something for my cousin to read at a charity event... I want to post it on here because I really think it explains how I feel. I won't post all of it because some of it is just the signs..but I want to post my feelings.. So here it is...
I miss him and not just sometimes but every day. I dream about him often and most of the time I think he sends them and that idea makes me happy even though afterward it hurts to wake up. The reality of the situation returns and I feel like I’m losing him all over again.
His pictures are scattered around my house and sometimes I look at them and think he’s still here and then it hurts exactly like it did that day. I used to think about when he would graduate from high school and maybe he would come and live with me for a summer before college. I would think he might call me and tell me about his girlfriends or other things he didn’t want to talk to his parents about.
I hate that I can’t have that but even more I hate that he can’t have that. Not just with me but with anyone. He was stolen and not just from me and my family but from the world.
And he’s not the only one.
Child abuse happens every single day. It doesn’t matter if we are consciously thinking about it, or not. It’s happening around us.
I knew of its existence before, I’d read articles about it or seen it on small sections of a news cast but it never completely set in that it was real—until this. It was something that existed somewhere, but not where I was. It happened to people I didn’t know, never me or my family.
There were signs of course, but I was not familiar enough with the subject to identify them until afterward.
I saw Vincent twice in the last six months but I knew something was different I just didn’t know what it was. Before those 6 months I saw him at least every other weekend. He was always a very…passive boy. He could watch an entire football game in his dads lap—clapping on cue with him. I don’t even have that kind of attention span. But Vince did and he was happy, so happy.
The last time I saw him he was not happy. He had a few bruises on his head and body which were explained to me as this or that. He jammed his finger in the toy box or he tripped and fell on the cement.
At the time this seemed normal to me. Kids do that, right? Every one of my nieces and nephews has had about a million bruises. The ones on Vincent were different though, I just didn’t notice it at the time.
I had another sign, a very subtle one that should have told me what was happening. Almost exactly a week before it happened, while Vincent was over at my mom’s house, Jim (my stepdad) and I were arguing about something. Not in an angry way but we each thought we were right and the other was wrong. As we spoke, our voice continued to get louder and louder, as it tends to do in my family. Soon, Jim must have realized I wasn’t going to give up so he began to yell and tickle me.
Within only seconds Vincent and Anna, my niece, began to scream. We stopped of course, stunned, and I remember looking at Vincent, and seeing… terror cross his face.
Jim picked up Anna and almost immediately she was fine. I picked up Vincent, and my mother and I began to talk to him. But he was not fine. He took maybe ten minutes to get him to calm down and smile again.
I think about this day a lot because I know that when I should have noticed something was not only different but something was wrong. If I had known any of the signs, what you’re suppose to look for, regarding child abuse I would have known and maybe I could have saved him. But I didn’t know.