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She was just a little girl when her brother did these things. Now she's dying and she wrote him a letter.

Sexual and physical abuse affects far too many children, and it haunts those children as they become adults. One dying woman's last wish is for her brother to see her letter so he might forgive himself, or at least know that she forgave him. While in this case she chose not to report him, that is clearly her choice and not suitable for every situation. TRIGGER WARNING: This is an open, personal letter from a woman who experienced ongoing sexual and physical abuse as a child. It doesn't delve into graphic detail, but it may still be upsetting to readers. Please use your judgment before reading.

Dear brother,

It has taken four years to call you my brother. In my 7383 days of existence, I have lived through 2920 days of calling you monster. Do you remember? Do you remember how it began? It was a game. You invited me into your small blanket fort and told me you were going to protect me from monsters. Little did I know that you were one of them. I played the charade of "show me yours and I'll show you mine" only to be poked at as curiosity struck through your mind and body. Gradually your game became more and more complex. I can still remember being told, "shhhh, this is our little secret." 2920 days of my life gone.


After 365 days I remember being told that kissing was something kids do. 2920 days of my life gone.

After 730 days it became laying in a dark corner as you felt some sort of pleasure in seeing me bare. You enjoyed my shame and found some sort of sick happiness in your idea of a game. 2920 days of my life gone.

After 1095 days I was 11 and began to have older friends who had boyfriends and this was when I knew you were wrong. I felt wronged and told you it wasn't right. From then on you blamed me and said it was my fault. You accused me of somehow starting it all. I can remember countless days of being locked up in my closet. Countless days of being hit in the face whenever I didn't listen. Countless doctor appointments with the excuse of "I fell." Countless broken bones. Several dislocated joints. Everyone thought I was just clumsy. If only they knew. 2920 days of my life gone.

On day 2898 I became sick. I was throwing up every morning. I began to feel different. Mom thought it was strep. Dad thought it was a bad case of the flu. Oh, but you knew. You walked me to the clinic and that was that. On day 2920 you left and never came back. You disappeared. No one knew where you were.

On my 17th birthday I saw you in Chicago. I followed you for quite some time. Thought about all the ways I could hurt you back. You were with another woman and oh my heart wanted to rip to shreds because she didn't know the agony you put me through. I could have hurt you but I chose to walk away.

It has been three years since I've seen you. And there's something I've gotta say.

Thank you.

Because of you I lived. I survived. I am a fighter. I made it through. All those times you felt strong because I looked weak. Well look at me now. I made it to nearly hell and back. Here I am. I am not a victim anymore. I am a victor. Those 2920 days taught me to be brave. To do hard things. To not run from harm. I am who I am today because of who you were.

I know who you are. I have kept tabs on you. You don't have to drink or do drugs. You don't have to harm yourself because of the guilt you feel. You were my monster but the game is over. You can be my brother. You don't have to be a monster for your whole life. You can be better.

I could have reported you but I chose to forgive you. So here I am. Forgiveness is yours if you take it.

Life is short. I am sick. And for me, my timespan is shortened. But I am fighting to live, each day fighting my disease because that's how 2920 days of my life made all the difference. I will not give up. The dark days in dark corners only give me more motivation to fight.

I'm getting more sick and weaker each day but I wanted to forgive you now and I hope this reaches you. I want my brother back and only hope you can forgive yourself enough to move past the guilt in order to have your sister back in your life.

Your sister,

-C

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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