June 02, 2006

What we get is not always what we see.

"In recent years, Tanya has been told that her father had cobalt treatments, which severely burned the skin on his neck, yet she has no recollection of seeing burns on her father. She has also been told that the initial lump was followed by several others and that her father's disfigurement increased toward the end of his life.

"At the very end of his life, her father's voice changed, and his ability to breathe was compromised. Yet despite these obvious changes, Tanya has no recollection of ever seeing the physical changes taking place in her father or of having the opportunity to talk about the changes with members of the family....

"It is not merely that Tanya's family prohibited talking about her father's illness. The veil of silence that fell over her childhood prohibited her from seeing what was going on. The denial assaulted her sense of what was real. Her memories of the time from age 10 to 16, the period of her father's illness, are either distorted or nonexistent. Because she was not allowed to see what was going on, it was impossible for her to remember what happened."

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