this is truly beautiful, Peter. painful to read but shining with compassion and hope. i don't have answers to your questions, but it sure sounds to me like a measure of healing has taken place in your heart from the compassion that is glowing through these words.
"My experience has shown me that I all too often tend to deny that which lies behind, but as I still believe, that which is denied cannot be healed." Brennan Manning, "All is Grace - A Ragamuffin Memoir"