This may not all make sense because I am still processing but I really need to talk to someone about this. I'm feeling a lot of confusing things but none of my friends know the context and I don't want to make a big deal out of it for them right now since they're all at work, and I don't want to talk to my family because...I don't know why. I just don't want to be on the phone I guess.

My abuser died last night. I woke up this morning to an FYI text from my mother telling me so. He was old and he'd been very sick for a long time, so it's not like it was unexpected. I hadn't seen or spoken to him in 7 years, since everything came to light.

In early 2008 I'd just gone off to college and my sisters were in high school. They were both dealing with major depression and anxiety issues so they were in therapy, and it came out that our grandmother's husband (our mother's stepfather), had been abusing them since they were about 11. I remember it was around 2pm on a Friday, I was in the living room with my boyfriend who I was living with at the time, when my mother called on the land line and asked me if Donald (name changed for obvious reasons) had ever touched me inappropriately. I don't think I answered for 10 whole minutes.

It's not that it took me very long to wrack my brains for memories I hadn't until then consciously realized the significance of. I was in shock. I remembered being 12, the thrill of being allowed to ride in the front seat (even though I was too small and it wasn't safe) being soured by his hand on my upper thigh and me trying to remove it repeatedly. I remembered avoiding being alone in a room with him because he liked to back me into a corner and squeeze up against me. He called it "hugging". I would flat out run from the room if I noticed everyone else had left to avoid being cornered.

I'm still not sure how it could have been that I didn't realize that what he was doing was wrong. I guess I was too young. I think I knew it was wrong but I didn't know that other people would agree.

Apparently my sisters went through even more but I won't share their stories without their consent. Apparently my mother went through the same things growing up, but went her entire life without ever telling anyone.

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My sisters are the bravest people I know. With the help of councillors they saw his behaviour for the sickness it was, and said something. I still feel guilt and rage that I internalized and accepted this behaviour, kept silent and then learned later that he was doing the same to my little sisters, and that it could have been prevented by my speaking out. I've spoken to my mom and she feels the same way about her own silence about her own abuse. That's a cycle of self-hate we've had to work hard to kill, but we're getting there.

My grandmother, Donald's wife, raised us to be loyal to the death. She told us from a young age that family is the most important thing, that when it comes to her children and grandchildren she would do anything to protect us. But when our abuses came to light she made the choice to stay with him, to believe him over us and to support him. We don't see much of her anymore.

I can't decide if her betrayal was as bad or worse than what he did to me. Growing up with two divorced and very petty parents who liked to bad mouth each other in front of me and guilt me about visitation and treat me as a mediator in their relationship meant that I was closer to my grandmother than my own parents. Visits with her were the highlights of my year despite Donald's presence. Her house was the only place I felt safe and parented, but also the only place I felt real danger. She was the only person in my life I could talk to about how much guilt and pain I felt. She listened, and she was the only one who was always on my side. For obvious reasons, our relationship completely changed after Donald's actions came to light and she made her decision.

Now he's dead. She's alone in her house with no one to lean on because she's rejected every offer of help out of pride and bitterness about what happened to HER after the abuse came to light. It's unbelievably selfish and horrible and sad and it makes me so, so angry.

I'm feeling relief that my abuser is dead and can't hurt anyone ever again. I'm feeling sad because he was my grandfather. I'm feeling regret because I never confronted him, I never got to make him feel the pain I am feeling right now. I'm feeling angry because my grandmother put herself in a situation where I cannot help her, and I know she will carry her bitterness for the rest of her life. I love her deeply but I can't help her. I'm feeling guilty because I shouldn't be feeling any conflict over this, it's cut and dry that these are bad people who perpetrated, allowed, and excused the sexual abuse of their own children and grandchildren. I'm crying and I don't know why.

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I don't know if I'm going to leave this up. If I'm doxxed then this will suck for me. But I really, really needed to talk to someone about this. Thanks for listening GT.

ETA: Thanks so much to everyone who offered their support. I'm on the phone with my mom now and it's helping. I can't respond to everyone individually cause I'm a mess but I want to say you guys are the best <3