When I was 13, my mother was abducted by a gang of thugs, raped, beaten , and left for dead in a field outside town.

My mom didn’t come home that night.  That was unusual. Mom always came home, except that one time she got a D.U.I.

I was in 8th Grade, and it was a Saturday.  I laid around the house, watched  TV, ate cereal.   The door opened and mom scurried past.  It was about noon.  “I’m going to bed I need some quiet”, she said as she walked down the hall past the TV room.

Around 6 pm that afternoon, she called my brother and I into her room.  Her face was bruised and swollen. Her lip was split and stitched. Dried blood caked her hair.

She told us what happened.  She told how she and her boyfriend had a big fight at the bar.

Upset, she decided to walk home.  At 1:00 A.M. from the bad side of town.  She told how a van drove up behind her and men chased her down and threw her in.  She told how they drove her to a vineyard. How they dragged her to the dirt, and took turns assaulting her. She thought there were five of them.

Some hours later, she regained consciousness. She crawled out of the field to the road, and flagged a passing car.  A kind person took her to the hospital.  No bones were broken.

Before that, at 13, all I knew was that Mom needed protection.  She was sick.  Making bad choices.  She drank too much, and dated loser with no job or means of support.

I wanted to live with my dad, but I felt like my mom and brother needed me.

After Mom’s rape, I raged.  I punched walls. I yelled a lot.  I looked for fights. I wanted vengeance, and justice.

I was powerless to prevent her injury. I raged at her boyfriend because he deserved it.  He didn’t protect her.  He was taking advantage of a vulnerable woman with two kids.

That story fueled a fire in me for a long time.

I was angry.  Full of rage and hate.  I dropped out of High School and went on independent study. I believed evil people needed to die, and it’s the warrior’s call to protect the innocent.

I became a warrior.

I joined the military at age 20 to heed a warrior’s call.  I loved it. I thrived with the discipline and structure.  I thought I found my calling. But it was not meant to be.

I was injured in a training accident and fire, and faced a long recovery.  I drowned my sorrows in alcohol and prescription narcotics.

Before I knew it, I was my mom.  I was my dad.

Following a pattern seeking to numb my rage with alcohol.

I was happy with my rage and judgment.  They were friends, who had been with me since adolescence.  If people knew the story of why I carried them with me, they would understand.

My mother passed away some years ago.  She’s with God now.  She doesn’t need me to carry her burden and fight her battles.  Mom’s spirit is liberated from the physical plain.

Years after her passing, after much reflection, I too, release her burdens.

For me, evolving as a human means I don’t want to pass along generational pain, stories and burdens to my children.

By releasing this story, I’m also releasing a part of my past identity.  That of a victim child scarred by violence and alcohol abusing parents.  A child that carried rage as a shield to protect himself from pain.

In pursuit of peace and liberation for my spirit, do still I need to carry this story?

Instead of seeking distraction, constant input and drowning out my pain, I found peace in nature, breath, and beauty.

Quiet allowed me to connect to my essence.  Love.  Compassion.  Beauty. Liberation.

The longer the journey, the less you want to carry.