Posted June 8, 2006
In the past couple of weeks I have had visions of Ananda in Dallas, covered in sores, scratching uncontrollably. How did I block him from my memory? I remember him being set away from the rest of the children to eat. He was considered blasphemous because he was scratching his sores while eating prasadam. They put him in the trash can - the same trash can another child was later put in with a dirty sock stuffed in his mouth, duct-taped around his head. Why did they put us in trash cans?
How many memories are going to creep up and haunt us throughout the rest of our lives? Why didn't I remember Ananda until I hear of his death and then I see his misery so clearly? It is haunting me now and I am finding myself desperate to remember others....where are they now? How many have taken their own lives? Could I have done something? Why didn't I? Why didn't you? Why is there STILL no one standing up and doing anything?
I joined the lawsuit, I spoke out, I wrote articles, I did interviews, I even traveled across the country and held signs protesting the devotees in front of the White House. What has come about from everything I have done? NOTHING. I don't want another child raised around this. It hurts me to my core to think of the children still there. I cannot fathom how a parent would introduce this life to their own flesh and blood after everything we kulis have done to educate the world on the cold hard truths!
Let me tell you what I feel these days, I would imagine many others feel the same. There is a term for me - emotionally unavailable. To anyone I am in a relationship with, to co-workers, to family, to life, I simply survive. Coping - another term I don't truly understand, I cope with life by barreling through it. I am so damned lost. I think I want to feel more, I work on it, then suddenly out of nowhere, I see a news story of an abused child, or worse, I hear of another of my fellow brothers or sisters has passed on, and I FEEL......too much. It throws me for a loop and I am almost unable to function, unable to breathe. Ananda's pain is felt by all of us. We all want peace within ourselves. Many of us cope by being numb, then something comes along and suddenly everything returns, gurgling, vomiting inside of us, desperate emotions, unvalidated, unappreciated, completely misunderstood.
Our sense of loss is so great, even to those of us that Ananda wouldn't even have remembered. We are kindred souls, brothers and sisters who survived through so much. I remember the first suicide I heard of....it was way back in 1984, I felt it then and I have felt it too many times since. This isn't the type of feeling I want.
So, what have I done to change things? Not a damned thing. This lawsuit was a joke, ISKCON is a joke, the "apologies" are a joke, the settlement isn't enough for us to even pay for the therapy we have already had, much less the therapy we are going to need in our lifetimes. ISKCON should at least cover that. If nothing else, help us there.
I felt vindicated when I joined the lawsuit, a sense of pride that I was doing the right thing and making a stand that would make a difference. I am ashamed and saddened to finally - 6 yrs later - I finally admit that I am defeated yet again by Iskcon. You win. You are just as strong and scary and demoniac as I remembered you.
Back when I knew how to feel, you - ISKCON- you at one time had ALL of my heart, all of my love, all of my devotion. I wish I could give that to someone who deserves it, like my children! Don't get me wrong, they are my driving force and the only reason I am here today, I adore them with my very being, but they deserve all of me emotionally and as hard as I am trying to do so, I hold back so much. By the time I reach that point in therapy to give them what they need, they will be adults I am afraid. I keep going one step forward, two steps back.
I give up. I'm tired of the memories haunting me, just when I think I have remembered all the bad, something else triggers a vicious, gut wrenching memory. I cannot live like this anymore. How did I forget Ananda all these years? How many other memories are going to come back? I'm done....I don't want them anymore. I give up on you. Maybe now I can move forward....I hope.
I think more than an apology, more than anything right now, what we need to help us is therapy. I cannot afford this! I know for a fact that nearly all of the others are in the same boat I am. HELP US! The settlement payments (if they EVER come) drawn out over years don't even pay for daycare for a child, or a decent running vehicle. I thought we were going to finally get some help and I felt so strong. We are weakening again - you can expect more to take their own lives I'm afraid. We were offered nothing....not even validation for our pain. United even, we have fallen victim again.
Screw all your comments about karma and blaming, I am feeling right now,
writing what I am feeling and this may be the only therapy I can afford. So
take it, whether you like it or not. Do something for Ananda, for the
others that are gone, for the ones that will still take their own lives in
the future, please help them.