The Washington Post has an article on a North Korean prisoner escapee. He is the only known person to have survived an escape from a North Korean political prison (for nothing he did, for nothing his father did–but as punishment for the defections of his uncles to South Korea).
He’s missing part of a finger, he’s burned on his arms and body–evidence of past torture. His brother was beaten to death, his mother was hanged. Hearing him describe his anger towards his mother for making plans to escape, plans that led to his torture…makes me realize how deep those scars are, on his body, and in his psyche.
I am wishing him a lifetime of healing ahead of him.
He may very well need an entire lifetime to recover.
This I know from my own parents, whose childhoods and young adult lives were so heavily impacted (“impacted” being a huuuge euphemism for death (brothers, sisters, fathers) and suffering (lack of food, the stress of basic survival, the loss of material goods, giving up all niceties…the way my father lost his hearing in one ear, the way my mother still loves potatoes to this day) and poverty and…
They have spent the rest of their lives building as boring a life as possible, a lifestyle I did not understood as a child and a lifestyle I rebelled against, hissing “I’m borrrred” through gritted teeth. Their early lives were too filled with drama, and now they are making up for it, eliminating as much drama as possible.
It can take a lifetime.