Getting through Easter was really overwhelming this year. I wasn’t able to prepare myself for Easter at all because I’d had so much processing to do following my birthday and all the wonderful and challenging things that happened during the holiday. I also had a lot of shock and trauma to process in the aftermath of the police banging my door down and warning me about what I post on the internet about my abusers. I tried to prepare myself as well as I could for Easter but knew I wasn’t in as good a place as I wanted to or would have liked to be in when it came.
Easter itself passed in a haze, my memories of it are very fragmented which suggests to me that I was very dissociated through it. I remember going out on Good Friday to see what state the putting course was in but it was so brutally cold I was back home in under an hour. I also remember going out on Easter Day for the annual duck race, treating myself to a pizza and then an ice cream on the seafront in the icy wind. I remember being handed my ice cream and seeing a mini egg on the top of it. I commented on it and the guy serving me said “well, you can’t have Easter without an egg.”
I smiled and nodded and turned away as I flashbacked to Easter 1975 when I was 9 and I was given the only Easter egg I had as a child.
I was reminded of that egg which came from my godfather while my brother and I were staying with my godparents and their children. Our parents had left us with them and gone to a hotel for the Easter weekend.
It was the last Easter my godfather was alive. He was dead from a massive heart attack a few weeks before Easter 1976.
I remember the glint in his eye when he gave me the Easter egg. It came with conditions attached - to submit to his sexual abuse and rape of me together with his own daughter. It wasn’t a nice Easter. To be honest, it was a very horrible Easter. I’ve always vaguely remembered it with the Easter egg being most vivid in the memory. That’s probably because it was the only one I had as a child and maybe because I didn’t want to engage with what else happened.
With the flashback following that innocent comment by the ice-cream seller meant I had to face the details in a way I never have done and process them as best I could to be able to enjoy the duck race and feel safe with myself. But I realise I was considerably dissociated as a result. But I got through the day with relief knowing I had something to look forward to.
During the run up to Easter I had investigated whether it would be possible to stay in a hotel but the prices were astronomic. I had though managed to book a couple of days immediately after the Easter weekend. The knowledge of that little break I had booked also helped me through Easter.
Another reason I had for booking that break was that my therapist and counsellor were both on leave the week after Easter. Once I knew that I had to do something because I knew it was going to be very hard coping with Easter and the following week without my usual support network in place.
I enjoyed my short break and was very glad I had arranged it as I wasn’t in a good place while I was away. I was experiencing a lot of trauma. My sleep was very disrupted and I was experiencing extended periods of dissociation. So I was very glad I was away those couple of days, doing things I enjoy. It helped me through a very difficult week which felt like one long hard slog.
I’m very pleased to have reached a place where the dust is beginning to settle over Easter. Now I am preparing myself for the trip to Austria I have booked mid-May using my compensation. The itinerary is fantastic. It’s good that I’m beginning to look forward to it and feel excited about it. That means my emotions are doing better than they have been.