The first things to go were objects that he’d touched. I couldn’t hold any of them without washing my hands afterwards in a vain attempt to wash him away, his dirt, his crimes.
Photographs followed. But I didn’t just cut out his images leaving a hole as a reminder of my abhorrence of him, each photo of him went. So I no longer have any pictures of my grandmother either.
At the age of 18, it was my surname’s turn. A visit to a solicitor ensured that I no longer bore his name, the paedophile name.
Next were the noxious and burdensome secrets. By disclosing his sexual assaults against me, all contact with him came to an end.
And now my grandfather is dead and buried, his body is the last thing to go.
But as a direct descendent of his, he lives on in me and there’s nothing, nothing, I can do to get rid of him and expunge him from my body.
I’m not like him, I’m not like him at all. But I know that part of my makeup comes from him, he’s there when I look in the mirror, his genes infiltrate my body.
As DNA is lost with each conception, he will not live on forever in his descendants. Indeed, after eleven generations, only half are expected to have any of his DNA. But as his grandchild, I do.
I don’t feel that others carry their abusing forebears within them. But I feel that mine resides within me, contaminating me with dirt.
So I envisage my maternal grandmother’s virtue quelling his depravity within me. Or alternatively, I think of my brother, another descendant of the child molester, yet his opposite.
The adverts extolling genealogy research are a painful reminder of the man who sexually abused me. No, I don’t want to know how he came to be.
I know to many people, my anguish will seem stupid and pointless.
But carrying the paedophile’s genes, feels like another way for him to torture me, another lasting legacy of his cruelty.