One of the most frequently asked questions I get at speaking events is, “How is your son doing?” My response is usually, “He seems to be doing fine.” But truthfully, I don’t know. I'm afraid to ask him. But should I be afraid? I just don't want to routinely and randomly bring up the bad guy that was in our house.
Yes, my son seems fine. Yes, he asks questions about that night/morning even to this day. Most recently it was, “Mommy? You know that bad guy that was in our house that one night that wasn’t supposed to be there? Does he live at our old house now?” Oh my.
I do know he still misses living right next door to his best friends. Truthfully, I had gotten him a therapy appointment after the assault before I even considered making myself an appointment.
My son doesn’t know all of what happened that night. He only knows that the man that was in our house that night wasn’t supposed to be there. The man whose voice my son heard. The rapist came to my son’s door a few times after he finally allowed me to go in there. How do I describe the feeling I felt when I saw he was alive and well and calmly sleeping? Overwhelming relief? It was my first glimpse of, We're going to make it. My son's room was right across the hall from mine. The rapist cracked open the door to talk to me to be sure I was still there, not trying to do anything stupid like crawling out of my son's window on the second story. Instead of risking it, I complied. At one point my son said, “I want to go to Daddy’s house,” thinking that the voice he heard was his daddy’s voice. But it wasn’t. I sometimes wonder if he has nightmares about that voice, but he’s never said such things, so I assume he hasn’t. Those who have read my memoir have read the letter I wrote to my son. It’s the last thing written in the book before the acknowledgements. I thought I’d share it again in this blog as a reminder of how I was feeling when I wrote it. It was after the rapist was sentenced to prison, nearly 21 years (though he'll likely only serve 14). I wish I could have written better words and added more depth, truly explaining the gratitude I've had since we survived and how much I love and will always love him. If I could go back in time and change one thing about November 18th of 2018, I would take my son out of the equation, 110%. My son’s presence that night and the threats made against his life are two of the many reasons I haven’t forgiven the rapist. Shown below is the letter I included in my memoir that was written to my son for if/when he finds and reads my book someday. **NOTE: Stay tuned for my sequel memoir… Another Four Pounds of Pressure: Case Files, Statements, & A Survivor’s Redemption coming soon! My editor and I are on the second stage of editing, and I apologize for the delay! Life happened (more surprises to come!).
Another Four Pounds of Pressure includes transcripts from police reports and the sentencing hearing, statements from secondary victims and friends of mine, and a letter to another human… except this time it isn’t for my son… Subscribe to www.danielleleukam.com to find out when the sequel will be released or follow me on social media.
P.S. *Donation request for Mayo Clinic’s ER: Victims of Sexual Violence after Rape Exams*
WISH: We Inspire Survivor Healing, INC. has started a project for victims of sexual violence after rape exams in Southeastern Minnesota! Please reach out to me if you're willing to donate. Items are listed on our website at www.WeInspireSurvivorHealing.com and on Facebook.com/WeInspireSurvivorHealing
My dearest son, I know one day you will come across this book. One day you will realize what happened to mommy the morning “a man was fixing our shower.” There are parts of me that will be broken forever, but know that you are the reason I am still here. You are the reason I was strong enough to keep us alive. You are the reason my heart still beats. You are my everything. You may be grown up, heading to college, or having children of your own by the time you come across this book. But darling boy, I needed to protect you that morning, as I had every moment prior to that, and every moment since. This public book is one thing I cannot protect you from. I can no longer hide what happened, but I hope in reading these words, you know we moved on with our lives and we overcame the terror of that morning. I always wanted what was best for you, as I still do while you are reading these words. If you ever feel not good enough, not strong enough, not courageous enough, let me know, and I will tell you how much love I have for you and how proud I am of the man you’ve grown up to be. In every moment that passed when you were a child, I somehow grew to love you even more than the moment before. Lion cub, I’ve taught you consent, I’ve taught you to respect all humans, I’ve taught you to not objectify people the best that I could. I’ve taught you to watch your friends, notice if they’re not treating a woman right, notice if they need to be called out on something. Teach my future grandchildren the same and together we can make the world a safer place one human at a time. Despite how small that seems, it means the world to an unknowing victim who doesn’t have to become a victim. There’s no way to adequately write the words to explain my love for you. There’s nothing I could write that could ever be enough. Instead, I will spend the rest of my life fighting for you, protecting you, and loving you. You are the reason my sun shines, my heart beats, and my lungs breathe. I would do anything for you, still. I always do everything in my power to keep you safe. There’s no love in the world more than a mom’s love for her child. I have all the fight in the world inside me to keep you safe. And I am ready, as always. I am a lioness. I am Mom. All my love, Forever and ever, Mom
As always, I need to say a huge thank you to Amy and The Boutique Station in Rushford-Peterson, MN for always supporting me and my mission! The Boutique Station was just recognized in the Fillmore County Journal as the 2022 BEST BOUQITUE. Check out their website here: The Boutique Station. And if you're out for a fall ride to watch the leaves change, heading to The Boutique Station is the perfect destination for a beautiful view on the way!
Another huge thank you to Brian, my love, for supporting me through all of my work outside of work and welcoming my family as his own. Integrating our lives has filled a void I never knew I had; I was too stubborn to acknowledge it was there.
Babe, you lift me up when I'm feeling down, help me reach my goals, and guide me to become the best version of myself. I love you.