Dear Mrs. Palmer
I can imagine you sitting in seclusion wondering how you ended up where you are. I imagine that you have cried so many tears that your throat hurts, your voice is hoarse and nothing anyone tries to say can distract you.
The only thing that remains intact is your instinct to act as tough as possible in front of your children.
I imagine that you have mixed emotions about your husband, one minute mad as hell that you are caught up in something that you had nothing to do with directly and the next holding him as he sits in disbelief at everything that has happened.
I imagine that by now the sense of hopelessness and helplessness has set in and that you are starting to see the true fall out of the media frenzy, the mass exodus of friends and family who love you but don’t want to tie their reputations to your scandal. The crumbling of your livelihood and the genuine threat of losing your home, your possessions and your way.
I imagine that some days you have no appetite, no patience, no desire to get dressed and no plans because you are too afraid to be in public.
I imagine that your children are scared and look to you and your husband for the way to manage this crisis, but you simply don’t know how because nothing like this has ever happened.
This wasn’t planned
This wasn’t on your radar as you went about life kissing your husband goodbye in the morning, doing car pool, hitting Starbucks and planning the weeks meals. Up until now, nothing you had ever faced had hurt you as badly as this. All of this. So much of this.
I imagine that your life is filled with wondering if there will be charges, a trial and what that all means. I imagine that you have spoken to wise counsel who tell you all the things that could happen, but that they can make no promises that include certainty one way or another.
I imagine that the fear of the unknown is palpable and it cuts through the night as you lay in bed, beside your husband so close and yet a million miles apart, eyes unable to shut because the images conjured up in your dreams are just too painful.
I imagine you wake up in the morning forgetting for just a moment that it is all real.
I imagine the guttural sickness in your stomach the moment you remember it is real and not a nightmare.
I imagine that you may be questioning your faith and asking how bad things happen to good people and what you might have done to deserve the horrible things being said in the media.
I imagine you try to shield your children from the jokes, the memes and the venom expecting that they shouldn’t suffer for things that they had nothing to do with.
I imagine this for you because I lived it myself
When I was in my darkest moments I would have given anything I had left to speak with someone who had been there.
My soul needed to know that someone had once hurt as much as I was hurting
The sense of aloneness nearly brought me to my own demise. For a year I hid in my home, alone and afraid of the rejection that had become my consistent companion. More hate mail than junk mail filling my mailbox. What I needed never came. There was no champion, no helper, no forerunner that I had access to. My fight back to the light was hard, painful and uncertain.
But it did happen
My story isn’t the same story, but the outcome feels the same. The pain, the shame and the rejection. That part is universal. In this instance we share a story.
Mrs. Palmer, I know that this is the single hardest thing that you have ever faced and yet there is something harder down the road.
At some point, you will have to choose to live with this new normal, but you are not alone
I know that you feel as though you are the only one walking with a mega-watt spot light shining on you. You are the brunt of disdain and judgement. People wish shame on you.
Even still, you are not alone. On the sidelines stands someone who gets it, has been there and knows you can make it out the other side.
Time will heal the hearts of the wounded- the community’s and yours. This journey will teach you more about yourself than you ever cared to know and it will offer you choices that you never wanted to make. Forks in the road that will challenge you to grow or to weaken until diminished into dust. Fight the good fight.
This journey is the hero’s journey and you are the hero of your journey. You have been called to face the challenge and to overcome! I guarantee that there will be those who never forgive, never forget and never release you from their judgement
you can survive
What others meant for your harm, He can make for your good. All things can be restored. You will have to dig deep, know who you are when others refuse you and make important changes. Life will never be the same again, but it is not over unless you give up.
Don’t Give Up
As I imagine your intense pain I also imagine you looking for a sign that all is not lost. That there are people who care when it seems so bleak. I am your sign. There are many of us. Those of us who have been humbled by life and who know that we are all one choice away from being on the defending side of a courtroom.
When bad things happen to someone, the whole family suffers alongside. Spouses, children and parents carry a burden equal to the accused and encounter long suffering as a result. You are collateral damage
but you are not alone
To your children I pray that they are sheltered from as much of the media as possible, but be warned, this is a life-time impact. They will face the residual effects of this for many years. The best you can do is to infuse them with coping skills and resources to manage the inevitable raised eyebrow and the out right rejection. In time you will learn this skill.
Though you can’t possibly believe me when I say that one day this will be something that will make you a better person, I believe it and you may borrow my confidence until you have your own.
Though you can’t possibly believe that one day you will replace anything you have lost that is worth it, I assure you that you will. I assure you that the things you think you are losing will become things you don’t ultimately care about. That you will learn to live with less and appreciate more. That you will find friendships that surpass the ones that have crumbled and that your marriage may or may not survive depending on your mindset.
Mrs. Palmer I wish you peace, the peace I wanted so badly when I was hiding with shame on me for something I didn’t do. I wish you kindness, the kindness that surpasses the blow back from the media and the haters. I wish you hope, the hope that comes with knowing you are not alone and that in time you will be out from the dark and a light to the new sister who is suffering and needs the wisdom you will receive from overcoming this moment in time.
Wishing you peace and comfort