La Mémoire Noire or The Dark Memory is a letter series written to my first surgeon. The man who caused everything ultimately in my life to reach this point today. I was to have 2 surgeries beginning at the age of 9 and his surgical errors altered the course of my life. Ultimately, I instead would require 7 surgeries and experience repeated life-threatening complications resulting in medical PTSD, suicidal and homicidal ideation. This is trauma I am still trying to heal from nearly 30 years later that has touched every aspect of my life and how I react, view, and process the world. I have a lot of hate and anger for this man. As part of my therapeutic efforts to heal, I am writing this series to him. It is my raw, unedited thoughts and feelings towards this man and all that transpired following my first surgery that he performed. It will be a series that is periodically updated as I process each letter, my trauma, and continue inching towards healing embodying full love and forgiveness for myself and others.
I never had the opportunity to tell you how you impacted my life, how your mistakes and arrogance harmed me so detrimentally so. You likely wouldn't have listened anyway; I was just a mere child. You wouldn't even listen to my parents so what is a child to you. How would a 9-year-old know anything? What would a 9-year-old matter? I'm sure I didn't matter to you just as I didn't matter to anyone else there at that hospital except for one nurse. One of your residents did seem to have sense and she tried to talk to you about the care I needed, my safety. My parents heard her, but you ignored her...you and the other men involved. This was the theme of that hospital. How could a woman know anything, how could a female child know anything? We were all just whiny to you and the others there. And yet we were right and the lot of you were wrong, so very wrong, dangerously wrong. I spent my 10th birthday in that hospital, recovering from that initial surgery to remove my colon. Your surgical error required more time than that to try to claim my life.
Everything would change after that first surgery. I hated you; I still hate you. I still blame you. It's been nearly 3 decades, and I have yet to forgive you. You're even dead yourself now. I read your obituary and it made me sick. You had everyone fooled into thinking you were a great hero for children. But how many others did you almost kill, did you harm, did you f*ck up!? You were no hero. You were the one that didn't matter, not me. Not us. I know there had to be more just like me whose lives were nearly snuffed out or were snuffed out by your hand. And for what? Your ego? Money? I'm sure both...they tend to go hand in hand. Corruption is fueled by ego and greed.
My hate for you would spread though to innocents around me - to my parents and my pediatric GI specialist. They were the ones truly in my corner trying to protect me from you and the others there. But I was stuck with you for the year. Surgeons don't tend to like to operate on someone after they've been operated on by another surgeon. It gets messy that way. But you created this mess. Not only that, you also convinced all of us that I would never be able to have my ostomy reversed after your created mess. But that wasn't true. It took 6 years for us to figure this out, for a reversal to be attempted. 6 long years full of insufferable psychological pain from the medical PTSD you introduced to me with your mistakes. And guess what...you were wrong, once again.
You were so wrong about so many things! You couldn't even remember if you had removed one of my kidneys, if my kidneys functioned, or if they had stopped functioning after one of your surgeries on me. And this was something you freely offered up to my parents. You didn't even preface it with a "Let me check my notes". You randomly, freely told my parents that you couldn't remember what you had done to me. Trust meant nothing to you. It didn't matter to you if anyone had any confidence in your competence (if you even had any). Instead, it was as though you deliberately wanted to sabotage any ounce of trust someone had in you.
And yet your obituary praised you as a hero among children, a savior of lives. Hundreds of lives. A hero, a savior my ass. You deserved a malpractice suit against you, many, I'm sure. You benefited from my parent's ignorance as they were freshly entering this medical world with a child.
I finally feel ready to return to this letter series, this effort in learning forgiveness - not only of others, such as yourself dear despicable surgeon, but of myself as well. After I finished my first letter to you, I hated it. It sounded like a child wrote it; it is not my writing style. I have essentially rehearsed the first letter to you for years now in my head. All the things I wanted to tell you, things I wish you had known and wouldn't require a literal child to tell you. But I have no doubt that such things never crossed your mind. I can't imagine that you would care enough about the harm you caused me at the tender age of 9, how you wreaked havoc upon my body and my mind in your callousness and arrogance.
Instead of placing my hate for you squarely upon your shoulders, I placed hate and judgment on myself after writing and reading the first letter in this series. I realized that I was judging my 9-year-old self, my inner child. I had begun to despise her as in therapy it was brought to my attention that there must be a part of me that wants to survive and that's why I've made it through near-death experiences and that this part of me, must be my 9-year-old self. This felt like such a betrayal to me...how dare a part of me, especially her, dare to go against my wishes. I've spent months in therapy and in meditation, even reiki, focusing my attention on trying to forgive her, ultimately myself, for this betrayal. I went from protecting, loving her to hating her for keeping me alive against my wishes for so many years following the trauma I experienced at your hands. And this was just another example of self-judgement and my difficulty to love myself, forgive myself as I judged the first letter to you. But now I come back to reflect upon, once again, on the devastation you caused with your incompetence.
You take up so much of my time, thoughts, and space still....so many decades later. I know that forgiveness is not about the person one forgives. It is about the person doing the forgiving. To allow one to let go and maintain their own power rather than giving away one's power. Logically, I understand this and yet I can't make myself forgive you. You do not deserve forgiveness nor love. I cannot fathom forgiving you or even any semblance of love towards you for simply being a person. That does not mean you inherently have value and deserve love and forgiveness. If there was any inherent value within you for simply being a person, you lost that value. You gave up that value and rights. I don't care that forgiveness is supposed to be about me and not you. It doesn't change the fact that you don't deserve it. And so, you continue taking up space in my mind and my body, your actions searing my mind, my body and dare I say even down to every single cell within my body, the very DNA. At the suggestion of my counselor, I focused meditations on taking back what you stole from me and giving you back what you left me with. Handing things to you, even throwing things at you was not enough violence for the depth of anger I feel towards you. Instead, I began visualizing taking chunks of your body and merging those pieces to my body and ripping parts of my body and throwing them at you until you were black and blue with intent of causing you as much pain as possible. After several weeks of these types of meditations, focusing on what you took and what you gave and completing a give and take in response, I began to tire of the violence and your presence within my meditations and my mind. These meditations became less violent, less of you and more of the simple give and take task. I completed my art therapy project of my before and after of the destruction you subjected me to. My before painting of what life became following your invasion in my life and the after painting being that of my life after I heal from my trauma that began at your hands. I LOVE my paintings. They capture perfectly to the best of my painting ability what I've felt emotionally and mentally all these years and what I am aiming towards. I began utilizing these paintings in my meditations as well. With less of a focus on you and more of my healed version, what I see it as. And I identified my benchmark for healing to be that of when I can fully love and forgive others - it's at this point I will know that I have healed my trauma. I struggle with fully loving and forgiving myself just as I struggle to do this for others well. Both are nearly unfathomable to me but as I chip away my resistance to love and forgiveness, whether towards myself or others, the other will also increase. This is my focus: love and forgiveness of self and others. One day, I will achieve this benchmark and that day I will fully have become victorious over my trauma, over you. I know I can get there too despite my immense resistance to it all. I will not let you always take up so much of my mind, body, heart, and being. One day I will fully be rid of you, free of you, and that day you will wither away into nothingness, the nothingness that you truly are. You will no longer gain power from me and the harm you have caused, undoubtedly, countless children just like me. Eventually, your power on all your victims will become nothingness. I can hear the joyous sounds of your screams at the loss power and control as you fully die - not just the physical death you have already succumbed to, but no, the spiritual death of your being. I see your ethereal being dissipating, spiraling into complete and utter nothingness as you scream in pain of all kinds to every degree possible. The most pain that could ever be caused to you occurring. And I smile. May you be forgotten as though you ever even existed in the realm of the living. I wish all the possible pain upon you and my entire being smiles at that mere thought. You are nothing. You never were anything. It was only an illusion that you tricked the world unfortunate enough to know you into thinking, into believing. That's all it was though, an illusion. You have no power. You are nothing. You are an evaporating vapor, ripping apart every particle, every memory of what you once convinced us you were. The worst pain for you is losing power, losing meaning as you thrived off your ego boosts that you gained from harming, destroying others. It is now your turn to be destroyed. I can't stop smiling at that either.