R’fuah/Healing by Anonymous

My healing began with a knock on the bedroom door.

Many knocks, actually. A few soft taps at bedtime one evening, then the next night, and the next. That gentle rhythm has signaled the end of the day for most of my adult life. If you ask me in the morning if I’ve consciously heard tapping the night before, most often I’d say no. But some part of my body has always listened.

The ritual of the knocking began when I graduated from college and moved to Charlotte to live with my boyfriend. He liked to stay up later than me, so I’d usually go to bed before him. One night when he cracked open the bedroom door, I bolted upright from a dead sleep and gasped, fully awake, breathing hard and scanning for threats.

Really, I was scanning for one threat.  My mother.

After my parents divorced when I was in middle school and my father moved to his own apartment, my mother’s delusions and anger found a new target in me. My mother would creep into my bedroom at 3 am to scream or search for evidence of transgressions she never found. Once I woke to her sitting next to my bed, opening and closing a scissors above my eyes.  After that I started barricading the bedroom door at night. Eventually I escaped to college.

At least I thought I had escaped. But the lingering memory of her followed me through school and to Charlotte. I was terrified that I couldn’t shake her, and that sleep would never again bring peace.

My boyfriend had an idea. “I’ll knock on the door every night,” he promised, “and you’ll know it’s me.”

I’d like to say that’s all it took for me to believe the night could be a safe place. It took years of therapy and day after day of creating a loving home for myself.

Health and healing never came for my mother. But with 12,000 nights of knocks from my boyfriend–now my husband –healing came for me.

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