It's a subject we never talk about. You'd think the common experience would draw us together, but actually, it's a wedge: she feels too much guilt in that for all she despised being sexually abused as a child, she couldn't protect me from it.

We were out to dinner, laughing, drinking. A rare evening of mother-daughter intimacy. I leaned in close and ask her, so, have you done anything about The Courage to Heal? I'd mentioned this excellent book for survivors of sexual abuse the last time we'd spoken.

I've gotten past 'the courage to buy The Courage to Heal', she confessed. Now I'm working up to 'the courage to read The Courage to Heal'.

I smiled sympathetically at the idea of the big white book unread on Mom's shelf. One had graced my shelf for a while, too, before I'd worked up to reading it. I hadn't felt so close to my mother for a long time before, or really, since then.

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