It has been a little over a year since my father died. I did not write about it last year because I wanted to have some real time to reconcile and reflect before sharing my feelings online.
First and foremost, as I have healed, the consistent thing I have felt from the Holy Spirit is to be in gratitude for growing up in my parents home. I have constantly felt guided to reflect on the many, many blessings that have resulted from being the daughter of Richard and Carolyn Tripp.
A few that come to mind are being carefully and consistently taught the gospel of Jesus Christ in my daily life. I was also taught to love music, live theatre, good wholesome food crafted from scratch, gardening, and a family life that revolves around books and deep connections to extended family; wonderful grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
So even though I have had many years of deep distress while covered with hives all over my body, wheezing with deblitating asthma, and filled with anxiety and stress, especially on the days that I have come to identify as anniversaries to particularly heinous trauma, the consistent position I have taken is to be in gratitude for being a part of my parents family.
I was threatened with a lawsuit twenty years ago when I first started yelling publicly about the family pattern sexual abuse in my extended family. One perpetrator was jailed because of my determination to report a crime to the police. Our Bishop as a mandatory reporter backed up my decision to tell the truth.
When I consider what has taken place with Josh Dugger and his families unwillingness to report his assaults to the proper authorities amidst a belief that an “in house” correction with clergy would fix his sexual addiction, I am more reconciled with past choices.
The uncle who threatened to sue me if I did not shut up is dead, so I am not too concerned about him. But he has children and my own siblings have suggested legalities around my speech on this issue of my Father being a pedofile. They feel passionate about preserving his “legacy”.
My dad used my various bouts of mental illness as cover for his crimes against me. He said to me early on that I should not tell anyone about my psychotic break because he thought no one would understand. I believe he instinctively knew that people would understand too well what was the source of my deep distress and so he was very happy to shove the whole thing under the rug and if it came up at all he talked about the chemical imbalances in my brain which were being “fixed” with drugs.
I have found that almost all who have heard my story have been kind.
And they want to help.
My dear friend Jeanie died last month. She paid me the high compliment of believing my claims against my Dad. She believed them enough that she confronted him to his face on my behalf. I will never be able to thank her enough for this act of bravery. Her solidarity with me gave me the courage to move forward with my healing knowing she had my back.
Her death dredged up many dark and loathsome memories. But once those passed, I felt my mind flooded with the good stuff. There is always the good stuff to remember and revel in.
Always the music.
Annie, Saturdays Warrior, Dancing in the living room to Barry Manilows Copa Cabana.
The Wiz! Brand New Day.
Tubing down the hill out back, ice skating on the Rouge River, the playhouse, and mowing the lawn with the riding mower.
These are the memories of my childhood.
When we moved to Colorado Jeanie watched over me and mothered me while I had my second baby, my third baby and she invited us to her home to celebrate major holidays. I often saw her in the Denver Temple when we went to serve and it was in the Denver Temple that I told her the truth about my Dad being a child molester.
Now that I am more fully integrated into my life as a grandmother and being a senior with many happy years to come winking in the distance, my only desire at this point is to contribute to the healing of those who likewise suffer with the many layers of distress around sexual trauma.