My daddy came out of the woods with my sisters in a cardboard box. He surrendered to the police, he had no choice at this point. My momma had been taken to the hospital by my Uncle Curtis, my daddy’s little brother. He was 19. An ambulance had been called during the beating, but my daddy told them she had left. She was actually lying in the back yard half naked where he had placed a water hose inside of her to ‘clean her out’. I wonder if she could have lived had that ambulance driver actually looked for her?
She clung on to her life until the wee hours of August 25th. Her autopsy stated that she had 96 bruises and contusions on her body. She had been dragged, beaten, battered, and sexually assaulted. All this by her husband, the man who is supposed to love her and cover her with a hedge of protection.
My father plead guilty in the middle of his trial. He stood up and stopped the proceedings and plead guilty. I think, now, that he knew he was going to spend the rest of his natural life in prison if he did not. He received 50 years. He was released on September 8, 2001 and unchanged man. I can say this because I tried to live with him and I tried to have a relationship with him. He was still a drunk, as was I. I was also using cocaine at the time. We fought physically and I did not back down. I felt that I had to prove something to him… I was trying to prove something to myself.
There is much more to this story. It has only just begun. Unfortunately, the tragedy did not end here.
I’m going to try to explain how I got where I am today.
I was born in 1973, the year of Roe v. Wade. My mother was 16, my father was 20. They met while my father was serving time in the penitentiary for assault and battery. My mother was visiting her father (my PaPa), serving time for armed robbery. My dad got out and came to Mississippi, where my momma lived. It didn’t take too long before she got pregnant with me. The story that was told to me by my PaPa went like this: “I told her that she had a couple of choices. She could get married and they could raise the baby, or she could have the baby and I would help her, but under no circumstances was she to have an abortion!” Thank God! Here I am!
My father is an alcoholic, a violent one. My parents had physical fights more times than I can count. We never stayed in one place very long. It seems we were always moving and in a hurry. I remember staying with family members on many occasions because we didn’t have our own place. My parents were young and my father was uneducated. He worked construction or some other sort of hard labor to make money, but it seemed that money never quite made it home. He lived under the mantra that “I work hard, I can do what I want”. My mother worked also, but with babies popping out left and right, making a living and staying on top of the bills was impossible. I was 3 when my brother was born. He was MY baby. Every where he was, there I was. I talked for him, so much so that he had trouble speaking. I protected him from everything as best I could. When I was 5, we welcomed a little sister. She was different…she had brown eyes and we had blue. She was beautiful and quiet. When I was 7, another sister. I remember when my momma was pregnant with her we were riding down the road and they were fighting. Next thing I know, her door swings open and she goes flying out of the car. She just fell out onto the street! That scared me so bad. I don’t know to this day if she was pushed or if the door on that old heavy car just swung open. I’d like to think the latter, but judging by the way things turned out, I’m sure that’s not the case.
It was summer 1981. My parents were divorced. My mother had finally gotten the courage to leave him and get her own place, but he managed to sweet talk his way back in after only a few weeks. We had stayed in a domestic violence shelter briefly. They were nice people. I remember digging through this big box of clothes, they said I could pick out whatever I wanted. It was like Christmas! I picked out a denim skirt, you know the kind that cowgirls wear, and a pair of boots that were too big. I felt like a million bucks! All I had to wear when we got there was flip flops and they said I needed some shoes. I didn’t see anything wrong with my flip flops, but whatever. We didn’t stay there very long before my mother got us a duplex right across the street. I believe she felt safe there because the shelter was so close. My daddy was persistent, if nothing else. Or possessive, one. He tracked her like a buck in a field. He managed to court her right back into his dysfunction.
It was August 24, 1981. My momma was working and had to pick up my sisters from daycare. My brother and I were with my aunt. My daddy was on his way home from an out of town job. My aunt scooped up my brother and me and took us with her to pay bills as soon as my daddy got home. Something was wrong. I was young, but I wasn’t stupid. I knew that when grown ups talked like they were talking that something was a’brewin’. I could tell my daddy was mad and I didn’t want to leave. I knew what was coming because I had heard my momma’s name in their conversation a couple of times. Daddy had taken my brother outside to talk to him. He was picking him for information about the goings-on while he was out of town. Something made my daddy madder than ever. Before that, he had talked to his sister, who loved to stir the pot. So we leave with Aunt Joyce to go to town. We are gone for a while. On the way back in, my brother and I are looking out the back window of the car the way kids love to do and we notice what looks like an unmarked police car. Jokingly, we said that he was following us. Every turn we made, he made. Sure enough, when we pulled up to the shack, he did too. There were cars every where. They were looking for my daddy. But where was my momma?
Okay…here’s my gratitude list for this morning. Of course, it will probably change in 10 minutes but my outlook will not!
- I am grateful that today I know that no matter what I am never alone. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ that sustains me.
- I am grateful for the coffee my husband made before I woke up.
- For my employer…I work for an awesome company that does good things for people.
- For Powerhouse Christian Center
- For freedom…to speak, write, work,
- For boundaries
- Friends…most are far away but ALWAYS supportive and motivating.
- Patience and understanding…(I was lacking!)
- FOOD…but not too much
- Family…especially my husband (I love you)
- Cassidy’s healing
- I am grateful that I am not drunk or high…and I was not last night or the night before, because I would still be feeling the effects of it today and tomorrow and suffering the consequences for a long while…
- I am grateful that I have just enough…no more, just enough. God knows what He’s doing.
When we feel like there is nothing to look forward to, no light, only darkness…make a gratitude list. Even if it just says “I am grateful for breath…” that’s something. We should have an attitude of gratitude. This life is a gift…the storms and the rainbows.
I just randomly opened my Bible and amazingly this passage was in my face:
“Then the Lord will provide shade for Mount Zion and all who assemble there. He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day and smoke and flaming fire at night, covering the glorious land. It will be a shelter from daytime heat and a hiding place from storms and rain.” (Isaiah 4:5-6)
Find solace and serenity in a relationship with God. It can bring such peace to your heart and soul if you submit and let Him do His work…He will anyway after you get out of the way!
This is my first post. I am starting this blog on the eve of my mother’s birthday. She was murdered in 1981 at the age of 24 by my father . May she rest in peace.