Jeanne Grimes has spent a lifetime healing from 12 years of childhood sexual abuse by her father. She writes about her healing journey in a new book, I Painted the Light. The book took six years to write.
She uses the book as a “journal of my recovery journey.” Grimes writes, “The specific details of our abuse stories will be unique to each of us, but the ensuing problems in our lives have common elements.”
She tells readers that spirituality steps in to help the recovery process. She believes that “Divine Love will help curb the cravings, light the darkness and soothe the jagged edges.”
Grimes begins her book with a gripping story of a five-year old Grimes entering kindergarten where she learns to finger paint. In one of her first works of art, she uses one color, yellow, to paint the entire canvas. She writes that the color was representative of a place she went to when her father did “those things” to her.
Grimes writes that she believes that when someone has had trauma, it works on the mind, body and spirit. She includes a graphic in the book she titled the Sacred Heart. It shows the Sacred Heart placed in the middle of three overlapping circles titled, Mind, Body and Spirit.
She writes, “The devastating truth about sexual abuse is that affects all three areas at the same time. Sexual abuse affects the mind, the body and the spirit of a person. They are devastating blows to the very essence of what makes us a human being.”
She uses the beginning of the book to go into some detail about her childhood, the good times and the bad times. Grimes describes herself in the book as a “coal miner’s daughter” born in the Appalachian Mountains south of Pittsburg, PA. Her family eventually moved to Canton, OH.
She describes how the sexual abuse memories started to surface when she was in her early 30s. She also describes her thoughts of wanting to kill herself and how one day while driving to her parent’s house she almost drove into the lane of an oncoming truck. She began therapy to help her understand why continued thoughts of suicide plagued her. And, that’s when she began to remember a “forgotten past filled with sexual abuse.”
Her life is different today. With all of the healing she has achieved through using the many techniques she describes in the book and the counseling and the help of a support group of child sexual abuse survivors, she has made a few changes. She left teaching. She remarried. She’s earned a master’s degree in educational technology and is a technical writer and trainer at a software company.
Grimes’ father was still living when she started her journey to healing. Her mother is still living and believes Grimes is making up stories about her father. She has not read the book.
One of the processes she describes in the book is learning to be real. She explains that even after earning two college degrees, she continued to feel less than other people and not quite a whole person. She determined she needed to learn to be real.
“One of the purposes of this life is for me to be truly authentic. My goal is to be real and present for every moment of life, to be the same person whether in private with Wayne or a close friend, or in public with co-workers and friends,” Grimes writes.
Some of the tools and techniques Grimes found helpful through the years include massage, yoga, Reiki, the Chakra System, music, chanting and following the five Unity Principles. She also writes about self-talk and meditation, affirmations, the power of words, angels and spirit guides. Grimes writes that it’s important to find a spiritual community to help overcome what’s happened and to find a path to healing.
Her father died five weeks before the book was finished. She uses the last chapter to write about his death. Her dad was 89 years old.
“I hadn’t been near him in years and I didn’t know if I wanted to see him again. It felt confusing. What was I supposed to do? A daughter should go see her dying father. But, this was different,” she writes.
Grimes writes of the three levels of forgiveness she achieved for her father. First, she had to give up the anger. Second, she had to gain compassion for her parents and the way they were raised. The third level is where she focused on the spirituality and a chosen path.
The book is a story of courage and hope. It shows how people overcome highly adverse and traumatic circumstances in life. The author shares her thoughts of what happened to her and how those happenings shaped her life during and after the sexual abuse occurred.
It is well written and the author focuses more on the healing process than on the abuse. This is a book that needs to be read by those who have been abused, those who know of someone who has been abused or for those who want a better understanding of how one recovers from such traumas.