The Finishing Touch

by Donna P.
Houston, Texas, USA

The Finishing Touch

At 27 years old, I began getting angry, then my anger turned into rage. Issues of my past had been dealt with, or so I thought. Yet, maybe I was angry at my father because I perceived him as angry person who verbally  battered me. To discover the reason for the anger, therapy was necessary.

In January 1994, my journey began. Some of my rage came from my perceptions of my father. The primary cause seemed to be residual feelings from childhood sexual abuse. One of the healing projects offered as therapy was to make a collage, something to expel the hurt, pain and rage that I felt as a result of childhood sexual abuse by family members. I knew this project was for me, and I started saving magazines and newspapers. I bought special crayons, glue and special tape. During months of preparation I cut out pictures, letters and words from newspapers. I tried to replicate every childhood drawing I’d done. Every part of my being went into this.

My husband was so patient and accepting during this time, especially when it came to the day that I made my collage. I had to do this by myself, but I couldn’t be alone. My husband sat quietly in the room with me while I cut, glued, colored, pasted and cried. He sat so calmly, with such love.

After hours of work, gallons of glue, and oceans of tears, I stood up, achy, but proud and tall. I showed my husband what I’d done, to share with him this healing that I had earned and deserved. He stared for what seemed an eternity. He asked if he could put something on it. I couldn’t believe that he would be so intrusive to want to “mess up” my work. Then I stopped. “He needs this too,” I thought. “He’s listened to me, been there for me, and caught so many tears.”

I thought he’d draw a stick figure, or write something funny, but what he did changed my life forever. He walked to the bathroom medicine cabinet and came back carrying something small. I asked what it was; he just said to wait. Taking my posterboard to the table, he bent over for a minute and came back to me. I looked and stared in total disbelief. The profundity of what he’d done went immediately to my heart, and the healing tears flowed more than ever. I began another part of a wonderful journey in my life.

What did he do? He took a small Band-Aid and placed it in a very small corner. With a red crayon, he wrote LOV, the O being a heart. My life truly was forever changed, in how I perceived myself and people, and what I believed people thought of me. One small Band-Aid, and I knew my past could never again prevent me from being loved.

Originally published as HeroicStories # 159 on July 14, 2000
Available in The Best of HeroicStories, Volume 2.

4 thoughts on “The Finishing Touch”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing! Sounds like you have the perfect partner now.
    I do art therapy w/ clients and students, and will definitely consider some form of this, whether on front or back of each art piece, at the end of their process.

  2. He is a true hero, but I think kudos are due to you, too, for being willing to trust another person / relationship rather than assuming all must be the same as the way you perceived your father. Best wishes to you both as you move forward.


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