"Talking Back" is an open letter to my deceased mother. It is the real reaction to reading her diaries, the real stories from the past it dredges up. The only "fictional" elements are the structures of each post; I make sure to include not only the negative reactions, but the reaction that brings me around to wanting to read more, because I always do; and the names. To protect the innocent and guilty alike, names have been changed, and in some circumstances, relationships have been changed as well.
This open letter contains subject matter that might not just disturb, but horrify readers. It is not recommended for anyone under 30 or over 70. I'm not kidding. I forsee people asking me why I posted all of this personal information on the internet. My answer is simple: I can only be ashamed of things that I have done. Shame over the things others have done to me (or my mother) only protects the perpetrators. These kinds of generational sins must stop, and they won't stop if we don't talk about it.
My husband calls me strong, but I reject that. I'm no stronger than anyone else. For any other person with things in their past that resonate with my experience, I ask you to hang on and to seek counseling. There is a life on the other side, once you realize that what monsters do to us is NOT OUR FAULT.