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Unexpected Legacy
A Memoir of Forgiveness

When I was 69 years old the fragment of a shocking childhood memory burst through into my consciousness. Unexpected Legacy is the story of what followed that life-changing event, as I navigated my way through denial, rage, despair, and the seemingly endless search to find help, to deal with my trauma and my reactions to trauma.

The experience divided my life into one of before and after. What I remembered up until the moment of the recovered memory is the before; the loneliness, the endless succession of nannies, my mother’s migraines, and my father’s absences.

And the after became how I had to find new ways to live, to be able to absorb this unexpected reality. I began to see life not as linear but more like a set of nesting dolls, the largest one containing all the others. I had to begin to open the past in order to be able to live fully in the present.

The expected legacy from my family was wealth and privilege, the unexpected legacy was the opportunity to find inner freedom from the shame of having been abused, and the shame of having buried the secret so deeply that it stayed hidden — for so long.


I never would have chosen this legacy and yet now I can finally appreciate all it has brought me.

Unexpected Legacy is the story of this journey.

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