I remember listening to one of my parent’s record albums growing up in the mid-60s and I can recall even the cover of the album. If my memory isn’t wrong it had Simon and Garfunkel walking down a dirt road looking back behind them. The album featured their hit song, “The Sound of Silence.” I remember being drawn inwardly to that song as it begins with the eerie first line: Hello darkness, my old friend…

The words of this song would forever become a seed in my soul that I never dreamed would grow into something larger and more influencing than I ever could imagine.  

“Hello darkness…” entered my life through the daily sexual abuse by the hands of my father from as early as I can remember as a child until almost my 17th birthday as a teenager. The “darkness” entered in like a devastating hurricane and remained throughout my childhood and teenage years and then immediately disappeared into the night. The damage was horrific. Forever life changing.

I write about the devastation of my own personal darkness in my book, “Shattered by the Darkness: Putting the Pieces Back Together after Child Abuse.” The debris left behind. The pain and heartache. The loneliness. The shame and guilt. The confusion.

Another line in Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” that pierced my soul but also has such life-changing meaning is this: “silence like a cancer grows…” Read that line again: “silence like a cancer grows…” Silence was paralyzing to my life. 

I kept my abuse, my pain, my fears SILENT for over 35 years before I told anyone about it. I tried to bury the hurt of being abused day after day, year after year. I kept digging the emotional hole deeper and deeper in hopes that it would never emerge.

Every time I would bury the pain deeper, I would throw the imaginary shovel down and say to myself, “There that’s deep enough.” But eventually the darkness resurrected itself inside of my mind and arose with a vengeance. Time after time.  

“Silence like a cancer grows…” has such meaning. The only way to free myself from the bondage was to open up the burial plot of emotions and deal with them one by one and break my “silence.” Write about it, talk about it, reveal it and deal with it head on. Full force. Unapologetic.

Scary? Yes! 

Terrifying? No doubt! 

Exhausting? Absolutely! 

All the emotions of fear were worth the effort because once I started opening up and sharing my story, the darkness slowly started fading away and a few beams of sunshine started breaking through each day. I started to discover the more I expressed my feelings and opened up, the more healing I experienced.

My mission and dream for the remainder of my days on this earth are focused on sharing my story with those that have been hurt and abused. Sharing hope with those that have tried to convince themselves that their emotions and pain are safely buried deep inside their hearts, but realize it is only a matter of time when the darkness comes knocking on their mind’s door and entering in unwelcomed once again.

Breaking the silence is the answer.  Breaking the silence is the key to end the devastating “cancer” inside of us.  

Today is the day to start breaking your silence. Write down your hurts, your emotions in a journal. Find someone that you can trust and share your story. Discover the power of resilience that each of us have inside our spirits.

Go ahead and say “hello darkness, my old friend…” and then smash it over and over again.

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