THIS IS A GUEST POST by Patrick C, a reader of WOTM and fellow photography enthusiast!
More information on Patrick can be found at the end of this very courageous post.
‘Squeaky’, fifty-one years old and still going strong.
Battered and bruised, his love is eternal.
His shoulders are the strongest I have ever had to lean on.
He has been my salvation, silently listening to me, drying my tears with his fur and keeping me warm in the coldest and darkest of times.
My first toy. My most precious toy. He has been the constant, my rock. When I was abused by clergy, priests and nuns, betrayed by those meant to teach us, care for us and protect us, not hurt us, HE listened when I told him how frightened I was. He knew that I couldn’t tell my parents because back in the 1960’s and 70’s it would have been too hard for them to believe they had been betrayed by those that were, in their eyes, Gods.
Because of that abuse, my mental health was damaged. I didn’t know it at the time or even understand what was happening in my head at that time. It was the black dog building his kennel in my mind and Squeaky would knock it down. In Primary school I would rush home from school, change out of my uniform, and give him a huge hug and he would draw out the pain and hurt of the day. I could feel him draw it out of me and light would shine.
In secondary school the black dog’s kennel was complete. He had a split level kennel, half in my mind and half in my room. Squeaky, from his hiding place in my wardrobe, would try to get rid of the kennel in my room and still have energy to draw out the pain from my heart when I got home. He had more strength than a phalanx of Roman Centurions.
For many years Squeaky fought a lone hand against my demons, my black dog. His presence a perpetual support, wherever he may have been living. His cupboard, my parents home, his spirit was always there.
There were those who should have understood my pain, my hurt, and my confusion as to why I was like I was, but they didn’t. However, Squeaky never abandoned me.
In 2011 circumstances conspired to force me to open the box containing my abuse and face it head on. To face the last living abuser and to put my complete trust in the legal system and its servants. My mental health and my life spiralled downwards but Squeaky was there hiding in his wardrobe but still supporting me, always there, his little head sitting still for me to spot and recover.
Now I live on my own once more and Squeaky is still there, my guardian. Proudly he sits on my bed because I need him now more than ever and he doesn’t mind that I was forced to make his house in a robe or cupboard because like the best of friends he knew that it wasn’t my heart making him live there but an unreasonable world. Now he is proudly on his guard post like a Beefeater protecting his King.
These days the black dog barks louder and louder and Squeaky corals him for me.
Squeaky is an old bear, a strong old bear, and at the moment he is fighting the black dog in a tough battle for me because I am almost out of fight myself. His will and his spirit is unbreakable. It needs to be to hold me up.
We all need our own Squeaky Bear to help us in our battles and on our journeys. I hope that you all have yours.
Thank you Patrick for your courage in sharing such a personal story with us. I think Squeaky has spunk about him even if he looks a little battle weary! May he slay the black dog & its kennel once and for all.
BIO: Patrick has recently started his own blog called ‘The Renaissance Man‘ where he shares musings on Life, Art, Music, Literature, Photography and Social Justice.
Ciao for now,