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The Incurable Disease

by Rachel Williams

Today is World AIDS Day.  Today is just one day after they found the body of Kayla McKean.  Today's also just a few weeks before the anniversary of when my mom died two years ago.

Kayla and my mom have alot in common.

I started out to write this about my mom on World AIDS Day because she had AIDS.  AIDS is a terrible disease.  The people who die from it suffer alot.  So do their families.   AIDS isn't a "gay" disease.  Its a disease that's going to kill millions of men, women and children all over the world. 

It's still hard to say "AIDS" when people ask how my mom died.  I hate seeing how people react.   Even the nicest people are shocked but they try to hide it.  Most people still think AIDS isn't something that "good" people get.  They think they don't have to worry about it in their family.  Most people don't even know that today is World AIDS Day.  They'd rather try to forget about AIDS.

But AIDS isn't really the disease that killed my mom.  It's just the disease that destroyed her body.  My mom really died because of what happened to her starting when she was seven-years-old.   She died because Child Abuse destroyed how she felt about herself.

My mom died because her father and other people did terrible things to her almost all her life and nobody ever helped her.  All the years when she was growing up and being hurt nobody saw or cared enough to do anything.  Nobody took her someplace safe and protected her.   Nobody helped her understand that she wasn't what they made her feel like inside.

My mom grew up thinking she was bad and dirty like they said she was and thinking she deserved to be hurt the ways they did to her. 

Child Abuse made my mom let people hurt her even when she was a grown-up because that's what she learned since she was a little girl.

Child Abuse made her marry someone like my dad and let him do terrible things to her.  And it made her not be strong enough at first to make him stop when he started to hurt me too. 

But my mom cared enough about me to get me help after the worst part was over.  She tried to make sure I'd learn it wasn't my fault and I wasn't dirty because of what happened.  It's not easy to learn those things.  I still get scared sometimes but I don't think I'll grow up like my mom did.

Kayla McKean was just like my mom.  She died because of Child Abuse.  Her father confessed that he beat her to death.  He said he punched her over and over and threw her against a wall and used a wood punishment paddle on her.  He said it was a accident that she died. 

Kayla didn't die because of an accident.  She died because of Child Abuse and because nobody cared enough to protect her.  Her step-mother didn't care.  She helped hide Kayla's body.   Her teachers saw Kayla come to school with black-eyes.  The child welfare people knew something was wrong.  But nobody cared enough to help Kayla.  Nobody did anything to get her to someplace safe.

Everyone tried to pretend that nothing was wrong.  It's easier to do that than to try to help.  So everyone let Kayla's father keep beating her.  And the day before Thanksgiving he beat her to death.  Now Kayla's dead.  Just like my mom. 

Kayla was 6 when she died.   My mom was 32.  They both died from Child Abuse.

Copyright 1998 Rachel Williams

Author's Note

I stayed home today because I felt sick about Kayla and I felt sad about my mom.  So I spent almost all day writing this.  I don't make my web pages or write about these things to have people feel sorry for me.  It's nice that people care about me.  But my mom taught me that feeling sorry is selfish if that's all you do.  Feeling sorry makes YOU feel better about something bad.  But it doesn't help.  I bet all of Kayla's teachers felt sorry for her when they saw her black eyes.  But that didn't help Kayla. 

If you feel sorry for me or my mom or Kayla or even for yourself then do something.  Do something to help people with AIDS.  Or do something to help children who are abused.   Or do something to help yourself if you still feel bad about things that happened when you were a kid.   Even if its just something little.  Try to help someone.  Don't just feel sorry for them.

December 1, 1998


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