Feeling cherished helps to overcome abuse


Recently, I watched a re-broadcast of the TV show Who Do You Think You Are?. Kim Cattrell, the central figure in this episode helped to resolve the mystery of  Kim’s grandfather, who had abandoned his wife and three children in 1938-39. He just left, one day and  no one ever heard from him again. With a little help from the people of Ancestry, she discovered that he had moved not far away, married another woman , fathered 4 more children before he uprooted his second family and immigrated to another country. After he lived a good long life, he died,  never acknowledged or divorced  his first wife, nor his 3 children conceived in the first marriage.  According to the broadcast, there was no indication to the 2nd wife there had ever been a first wife.  If he felt it, he never showed any signs of remorse or regret. After the mystery was resolved, Kim went back home and the episode ended. For me it left me aching.

Why this episode is to haunting to me is the parallels between Kim Cattrell’s family story of abandonment and my own fathers abandonment before my birth.  My father just walked away. I wonder what it would have been like to have had a father who cherished me. That is one ache I am not sure can ever go away.

The difference is, I have developed enough emotional skills to cope with the sense of not being valuable enough to claim. Low self-worth, I can work with, building self-esteem, a sense of competence, yes, I can work with them and not feel them drown me like before. And more importantly, I have felt cherished at times in my life, but not by my father.  I savor those memories like nothing else.

  What does it feel like to be cherished? I looked it up in the dictionary, cause I wasn’t sure exactly what the verbage would be.  Here is what I found online.

transitive verb

  1. to hold dear; feel or show love for: to cherish one’s family
  2. to take good care of; protect; foster: to cherish one’s rights
  3. to cling to the idea or feeling of: to cherish a hope
  To me, it’s a feeling  like I had when I was little girl and my Aunt Teresa brushed my hair. She never pulled it or yanked out the tangles, even when it freshly washed and the most tangled. Some times, when I was at my Grandma’s house she wanted to play Beautician, so she would wash my hair as I hung my head over into the bathtub.  Then wrap my head in the towel, and find a place where she could sit me down to start work on my hair. Sometimes on the living room floor, she on the couch behind me, or rarely, she would sit me on a kitchen chair, stand behind me, and unwrap the towel.
  I couldn’t see what she was doing so I closed my eyes.
  She would always start at the ends, working  her way up the length of my hair, untangling the tangles (this is before detangling creme rinses were available) and only then move up another inch closer to my scalp.  After it dried, she would try to put a little bit of Dippity Do on her fingertips and then smooth it onto my hair to prevent the flyaways.  When she brushed my hair, I knew she loved me. It felt like a great tenderness that she showed me.  Now I can say it almost felt like we were in church together. For me it was doubly important because it helped me have the emotional resilience to survive the brutality I experienced at home.

2 thoughts on “Feeling cherished helps to overcome abuse

  1. Michele Morrison

    Hi Kim,
    More good stuff. The show with Kim Cattrell is probably one of two that I’ve actually watched, so I know what you’re referring to. Abandonment issues really take a toll…I can relate. It’s good you had a loving Aunt. I’m still sorry about the brutality you experienced. Love, Michele


  2. Lynn Obermoeller

    I think it’s so sweet that you had some people in your life that made you feel cherished – I could picture them brushing your hair. I’m sure it doesn’t make up for the horrific things you had to go through, however, it’s nice to focus on the positive aspects too. I feel at a loss for words. So as always, sending love your way.


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