Forgetting to Remember
“Deb Kline has written an honest and heart-rending account of how childhood sexual abuse affected her life . . . That she can write such a book allows all of us to realize that it is possible to recover from horrible childhood trauma and, in the end, be able to truly heal.”
—Candida Maurer, PhD
“If you ever wanted evidence that artistry can heal, look no further than Deb Kline’s Forgetting to Remember . . . Riveting . . .Arresting . . . Sheer beauty . . . Lyricism. Kline has turned her story into art, enfolding herself in art’s healing powers, and taking readers along for the illuminating and transcendent ride.”
—Nancy Jones, PhD, Director Emeritus, Writing Resource Center, University of Iowa College of Law
“Forgetting to Remember, an engrossing and well-written book, will be valuable not only to those who have suffered childhood sexual abuse but also to anyone who wants to understand what true healing embodies.”
—Kathy Reardon, RN, MS, Spiritual Director, Co-founder of the PrairieFire program.
“Deb Kline’s engaging story describes the ups and downs and twists and turns she weathered to reassemble a life interrupted and shattered by sexual abuse and assault . . . For [survivors] beginning a similar journey Forgetting to Remember: A Healer’s Journey of Surviving and Thriving can serve as a beacon of hope.”
—J. Jeffrey Means, MDiv, PhD, Author of Trauma & Evil: Healing the Wounded Soul.
“Deb Kline tells her story of an innocent child betrayed by her family [. . . ] with clarity, conviction, and amazing empathy to the perpetrators and enablers of her remembered abuse . . . This is a tale that shows the indomitable resiliency of the human spirit.”
—Arthur H. Konar, PhD, Licensed Psychologist for 35 years.
“In a keen, perceptive voice, honed by years of reflection, Deb anticipates what we will want to know: How did she move from the traumatized child to the aware and inspirational adult she is today? . . . In telling her story, Deb lets us walk along alongside her and in doing so gives us wisdom to accompany those on similar journeys.”
—Diane Glass, author of The Heart Hungers for Wildness.
“Victims/survivors will feel fully understood, and therapists and others will gain new understandings through Deb’s playful and powerful prose that illuminates how forgetting works and recovery can happen . . . All readers will enjoy her friendly voice, stories of good relationships, musical creativity, and joy.”
—Suzanne Zilber, PhD, Psychologist specializing in trauma treatment for 30 years.
My Journey from Healer to Author
When selecting a touchstone word to guide my year in 2020, I did not know what the new year would bring. I chose the word “open” with an image I drew titled “be open” depicting a heart surrounding an open book. Who knew that by mid-March, “open” would lead to closing the doors of my Wellspring Wellness energy healing business indefinitely?
“Open” preceded the closing of schools, churches, businesses, and shut down community life away from what we had always known. Six feet became the minimum open space between people. Masks covered our open mouths and nostrils. And, like it or not, we were forced to open ourselves up to new ways of being together, virtually, by opening our computers.
Like past years, my touchstone word got lost in the recesses of my brain by February, and so the irony of words reflected above were lost on me. A week before 2020 crashed us into confined chaos of March lockdowns, I began writing a book. With my husband now telecommuting from home, and my business reduced to Zooming with a few spiritual direction clients, what opened for me was time—time for writing.
I attempted previously over the years to write my healing story: the tragedy of childhood trauma, then confusion of repressing the traumatic events in my subconscious mind only to remember them decades later, the recovered memories rendering my adult life as chaotic as my childhood had been. Where does one begin to write such a story? From the end going backward? From the middle straddling the past and the future? From the beginning, and if so, which beginning—the remembered one or the forgotten one?
Wherever I started, my story unraveled midway through. The fictional version’s characters dominated the scenes, overshadowing the storyline. The autobiography tale’s attention to accuracy and detail perpetuated the boredom of a history textbook. The self-help approach, while helpful to me, might not translate into helping others, as the only thing I am an expert on is being me—and my personal expertise on me as myself is limited.
But something did open within me in the time and space of all else being closed. My story came flowing out of my fingertips onto the laptop keyboard in a way I had never thought to tell it before, a memoir style. In six weeks, I had a rough draft. Six more weeks brought a revision. By the end of 2020, my book was finished, registered with a Library of Congress Control Number, preparing for publishing in 2021.
The image of “be open” and the heart as an open book returned to me as my final draft neared completion. “Open” as a guiding word for my year now had new meaning. In 2020, I opened my heart and told my story. I opened myself to deeper healing by reopening the experience of my former selves, retracing their steps, and preparing to share their healing with others.