Dear Dr. Robert,
Hello there, I am a 17 yr. old high school senior and this year has been a truly chaotic one for me. A few weeks ago my grandmother passed away and her wake is about a week or two away. My mother asked me to sing at the wake, which was just fine with me; that is until my uncle requested that I sing a specific song.
Now, during middle school, running up to my sophomore year, this uncle has molested me. This fact I seldom admit to anyone, only one or two close friends know. I do not want to admit this to my mother, father, or a psychologist or psychiatrist. This comes from the fear that I will just upset the family, or worse, that I will be put at fault because I didn't speak up about it earlier. My uncle stays in regular contact with the family and is at our house usually every other day. However, I have managed to force him away from me and to not touch me.
So now, in the present, my uncle requests me to sing a specific song that he wants me to sing for the wake. However selfish and horrible it may be to the rest of my family and my grandmother, I don't want to sing at the memorial any more. It's my hatred for him that makes me not want to do it. Every time I think of what he did, my heart clenches and I feel so much anger. To me, I don't want to sing a song he wants me to sing, just so he will feel better about himself. It would be a kill to my pride; however, I feel like I'm a horrible person for making a big deal about it.. My mother says that I have no heart for not wanting to sing and that I didn't really love my grandmother. I just can't tell her why I really don't want to, I just can't make her suffer through that knowledge.
What should I do about this whole situation? Should I just suck it up and sing the song? Or should I tell my mother why I won't do it? I would really appreciate an answer because this whole mess has been ripping out my heart and has kept me awake for weeks.
I think you should sing at the wake, but not the song which this poor excuse for a human being has requested. Just choose another song, one that expresses your personal feelings about this death and about your grandmother, and sing that one. If anyone asks why you don't want to sing the song your jerk of an uncle has asked you to sing, just say that the song you have chosen better expresses your love for your grandmother, and that you do not want to sing the song that your uncle has requested.
Second, you will need help for the psychic damage occasioned by the molestation which began when you were so young and innocent. I suggest that you speak as soon as possible with a psychologist or other counselor. You will only suffer unnecessarily if you continue to hide this abuse. Anything that you tell him or her will be confidential, and your family will not need to know about it. If you need help in finding such a person, call the local woman's shelter and explain your situation. They will help, and will not violate your privacy.
Please write back to me and let me know what you have done about this.