September. My, where has the year gone? This month always brings back the memory of my mom’s disappearance on September 11, 2003, and the beginning of the web of stories that my brother wove. First, he said that he killed both of our parents, then he said that I did, then he said he didn’t know who did, then he changed back to various, previous versions.
I won’t disrespect him by calling his different stories lies because I wonder if, to him, each story was true in his mind when he was telling it. When you are mentally ill, is there a rationale of truth and story or fantasy? That I just don’t know.
It is also birthday month for me and, as usual, it really just is another day to me. I am glad that I was born but, even though I have special friends, not having my mom and other family takes the specialness out of the day. I am just grateful each year on my birthday that I was found not guilty and can still feel the fresh, outside air and go where I want to. Funny kind of synchronicity, as my co-author Lisa Bonnice would say, three very important people in my life have birthdays this month–my best friend Susan, my defense attorney, and my therapist. I wonder if that has some bearing on the trust I have for them. One will never know.
This month has had its share of ups and downs for me. I have done another interview which I will share the details of later on. Lisa and I have been working on edits for our book, Fear of Our Father (Berkley Books, April 2013), which is hard for me. Even though I lived my life and survived, each time that I have to deliberately remember exact events and times it opens the horrible memory flood gates again. I hope to be on a much healthier path when this book is published, for having to speak openly about it might prove overwhelming for me. Then where will I be, when my purpose for this journey is to bring awareness and to help others?
On a super exciting note, the BBC documentary that I was interviewed for in Washington DC last year, on child abuse in America, has been nominated for an Emmy. I am so very proud of BBC reporter Natalia Anteleva for doing such a wonderful and respectful job on this subject. She is a true advocate for better lives for those who are abused, wherever they live.
The holidays are coming and people are going to start getting even busier with their lives, but I hope that everyone remembers to protect their loved ones. Remember to cherish them daily, for you never know when they will be gone. I miss my family every day, those that have passed away and those that because of my life’s events chose to close a door on me. May someday that door be reopened and we all find each other again.
Stacey M. Kananen
Advocate, Author, Abuse survivor
Co-founder of Amnesty From Abuse
Stacey Kananen’s father violently and sexually abused his entire family. He vanished in 1988 and 15 years later his wife went missing. Stacey’s brother had killed both parents. Stacey cooperated as a witness until he told police that she helped him with the crimes. She was arrested and her trial, which aired on CNN’s In Session, ended with a not guilty verdict after her attorney proved that she had been railroaded.
Now that her personal life is no longer private, Stacey is using her story to make waves. She and co-author Lisa Bonnice have signed a publishing deal with Berkley Books. They created the Amnesty From Abuse program to address the dynamic that stops families from asking for help: fear, shame and hopelessness. She states, “If a program like this existed during my childhood, both parents would be alive, my brother would not be in jail and my family would have been spared years of anguish and terror.”
Fear of Our Father — Berkley Books, 2013
Emmy nominated BBC Documentary: America’s Child Death Shame