33 years ago today, I basically died. 🤷♀️ It sounds dramatic, but it’s a huge step that I can say that now. For YEARS people tried telling me I have PTSD. I would argue vociferously. “You have to have been afraid you were going to die.” It took the executive director of a missing children’s organization looking at me and quietly saying, “But you DID die…” for it to click. Oh.
33 years ago today… I woke up as Sheri Lynn Ryan for the very last time. The life Little Sheri had wasn’t perfect, by any means. My mother was…well, let’s just say she never should have been allowed to have a daughter. Girls are competition and must be destroyed at all costs. And Lord knows she tried to destroy that little girl. Life was weird…no phone…very few friends…secluded. But Little Sheri didn’t know any better. She had her daddy and her annoying brothers. She had her piano. She had her beloved books…her escape.
I won’t go into the whole story again, but…10 years old…and it was the last day I would wake up with any form of innocence.
That night it was all taken away in a sea of blue lights…a high speed run from the police…my daddy turning around and saying, “Sheri, I’m not your father.”…my mother screaming that some man would kill us all…and the police taking us away.
After hours of police showing us that damn missing poster…telling me I’d have a choice one day…trying to explain my new name…my brother trying to explain the very little he knew…
Sheri Lynn Ryan flatlined. Sheri Lynn Ryan had to become Sheri Lynn Chiosie. Immediately.
How do you explain to a child, who has lost everything, that they aren’t supposed to grieve their death? Instead they are supposed to celebrate their rebirth? That’s what was expected. “You must be so happy your ordeal is over!!!” No. I’m scared. I’m confused. I don’t know you. I don’t even know me anymore. I don’t know anything.
But I can see that you’ve been sad and it’s my fault, so I’ll pretend for you. That’s my job now.
And it feels like that’s been my job for 33 years. I must be ok for everyone else’s comfort.
I must be happy for my father.
I must pretend to forget for my brother.
I must be ok and “let it go” for society who won’t accept the reality of something they’ve never experienced.
Grief. We allow it for all people who have passed…unless it’s you that died. When it’s you that died, you should be happy that someone new was born.
I AM happy, in general. I’ve made a good life. But I grieve.
I wonder who Sheri Ryan would have been. Would she still love hugs and people like she did? Would she have followed her dreams to play her piano in concert halls? Would she believe that people loved her? Would she still believe that people stay?
Would she not live a life afraid of the other shoe dropping at any moment?
I’ll never know. She died at 10 years old and…I can tell you without doubt that Sheri Chiosie has very little of Sheri Ryan in her.
A fact that many celebrate.
But I grieve.
4 thoughts on “My Deathiversary”
This is a lot, Sheri. It’s a whole lot. I can’t even imagine that struggle.
I don’t know who she might have become, but I really like who you turned out to be. Granted, this whole stranger-on-the-internet thing doesn’t exactly give us an in-depth knowledge of each other, but what I’ve learned about you from your writings here is that you’re a pretty great person.
And though old Sheri had her world completely shaken, part of that is what made you into the great person you are. And you’ve been able to share your struggles and experience with people in ways that nobody else could do…remember the little girl on the airplane? I’m sure there have been others who have been impacted by your story as well.
I don’t mean to minimize the great traumatic thing that happened to you. I’m quite sure it was horrific, and it sounds like grieving is a continual thing. I think that’s ok. But I hope you will see and remember that the amazing, strong, witty, smart person you see in the mirror every morning is pretty great.
I hope you have a good day today, focusing on the good things you see in your life around you.
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Thank you, Ron. In case I never say it, I really appreciate you. You always seem to have the right words for the moment at hand.
I appreciate you, too. I enjoy reading what you write here, and I laugh because the way you write very much resembles the inner dialog I have with myself most days.
As for having the right words at the right time…well, that’s probably just something I picked up from all those Jim Carrey movies I’ve watched over the years… 😉😂🤣
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My God! Thanks for staying strong and thanks for sharing
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