This week was an emotionally draining and uplifting. I have to share some background before I can share the change.
From the time of birth till my 8th or 9th birthday I had what some would call an idealistic childhood. Mom and Dad and baby sister. What I didn’t know then was that my parents marriage was in shambles. They were originally married in 1972. I was born in December of 1973. They then divorced in approximately 76 and remarried in 78 or so. My sister and I joke that we are so different because I’m from the first marriage and she’s from the second. My parents we later divorced for a final time in 1982.
My mother promptly married my step father. At 8 years old I’m not really sure what I was expecting or what was going on. All I knew is that we (my sister and I and mom) all moved out of the house we lived in to a trailer park. The trailer was smelly and the kids were not very nice. We then in some twisted fate ended up moving back in to the house with my dad, my mom us girls and my step-father. Even as young as I was I knew something wasn’t right.
Eventually we moved to another city and then one night in the middle of the night my mom and step-father packed up some bags and we left on a Greyhound bus for California. I remember some of the trip but not much. We moved in with my mother’s parents.
This is when my terror started. My step-father hated the way I ate, walked, dressed, talked you name it I did it wrong. The abuse started as mostly verbal and mental. Calling me dumb, stupid and telling us that we were nothing but poor white trash and that was all we would ever be. The physical abuse didn’t start until my grandfather passed away.
For the next ten years I lived in terror. Never knowing what was going to set him off. I didn’t want him to hurt my sister so I took the blame for her. Took the beatings, the verbal barrage that never seemed to end. I remember one time we were walking in to a pharmacy/drug store and there was a greeter at the cart area. He was shaking hands and saying hello to everyone. He was wearing a red vest with the logo of the store in the front. He said hello and shook my hand. My step-father was furious. He grabbed me by the should and dug his thumb in to it and “steered” me out of the store to the car. He forced me into the back seat hitting my head on the roof as he did so. We sat there in tense silence till my mother and sister came out. When we got home I was yelled at and screamed at and belittled and eventually was told to drop my shorts and bend over the footstool for a spanking. I was crying so hard that my nose ran onto the footstool and floor and I got hit more because of it. I could not sit down after and my mother had to keep my home from school. To hide it from my grandmother I was told not to tell her or the police or it would be worse the next time. I always dreaded her going to work or on vacation. We lived in her home. When she was there I felt safe. I ended up missing several days of school because of the bruising on the back of my legs and back and tush.
This was just one of many of his cruelties. We couldn’t cuff our pants because only poor people cuffed their pants. I got grounded from reading because he was tired of seeing my nose in a book. I was studying for a spelling test once and he was giving me the list of words, one of the words was “while”, with his Tennessee accent it sounded like he was saying “whale”, that cause a split lip and more time out of school. We couldn’t sit on the concrete porch because some old wives tale said we would get hemorrhoids. Some of these things seem silly but to me these things kept me in a constant state of terror. Elementary, Jr. High and High School was miserable. They just brought about more things for him to get angry about. For the most part as long as he was at work things were okay. Weekends were rough and if my grandmother was on vacation he seemed to pack in as much misery as possible. He also kept us away from others. As many abusers do. We were sheltered and kept in the house as much as possible.
There were several times that my mom promised to leave him all we had to do was ask. We asked, we pleaded, we begged. He would always make her promises or get her high. That’s how a co-dependent abusive relationship works.
My mother passed away in 1993 not long after my grandmother and step-father moved my sister and I to Iowa. I was 19 by the time but had no idea how to function with out my family. I wasn’t allowed to make any decisions with out fear of abuse. I started my first job in January of 1992 and even that was controlled.
Not long after moving to Iowa my step-father just left. No reason why, no note nothing. I guess he found that he couldn’t bully may aunt and uncle. Soon after he left I started spreading my wings. I traveled here and there and eventually ended up back in Tennessee. In the same area that my step-father was from. Since 1995 I’ve been looking over my shoulder and out of the corner of my eye. Worried, concerned and partially terrified that I would run into him.
On Thursday September 6, 2012 on a whim I signed up for one of those “find anyone” pages. I like to keep tabs on what is out on internet about me and what people have access to. After double checking my info and opting out I looked up my step father not sure why after all this time what made me do it, but I did. It had him listed as deceased.
I sat shocked, this was overwhelming. I had to have confirmation. I started looking for SSI Death index confirmation. I couldn’t find it not really sure how to find it. I called a friend of mine and she found it.
I cried, I laughed, I sat quiet. It was finally over. The door and darkness finally gone. He passed away back in 2008. For almost 20 years I have been on edge just waiting for this evil man to pop back up. I have fought for the last 30 years I have struggled and fought to be free. Having confirmation that the information was actually true was the final piece of therapy.
The Gospel has helped me grow and learn to forgive and move forward and heal. Knowing that he can no longer hurt anyone. Knowing that now he has to answer for all the evil he did, for all the pain and suffering he caused.
I am FREE!
And that my friends is As the Universe Turns AND The Leftover. Thank you for reading this far. Thank you for listening and understanding.