I was woken up in the middle of the night. You told me were picking up my mother. What I didn’t know is that was the beginning of the end…
It was a rainy and stormy night. I was 8. I had no business overseeing the household. I WAS 8! It wasn’t only a few hours. Your return wasn’t until the afternoon. When you finally I returned. I was so proud of myself. So proud I had been “the big man” of the house.
Did you know your sons got so scared we cuddled in the living room?
Did you know that I cried at 7am not knowing what to do?
Did you know that the power had shut off and I become so panicked that I ran around making sure EVERY door was locked and window closed?
Did you know that was my first (definitely not my last) panic attack?
Did you know I used my inhaler 20 times that night?
You didn’t know; I know that now. Worst of all, I don’t think you even cared to know. Not like I would have told you anyway. I was too proud.
I had finally made it thru. I had seen the sun start to come out. I heard the keys jingling in the door. I knew you’d returned. I wanted to be the best son you had, but there was always something new, something different, something unpredictable that made being your ‘best son’ impossible.
There was always a distance. I clinched to my mother’s coattails for dear life. I wanted you to recognize and stop telling me to “man up.” I had done so much for you, and yet always felt dissatisfied with myself. I wasn’t “man” enough for you.
You tried to lump us together. We weren’t individuals -nothing special or unique about us – we were simply “the boys.” When one DID perform, we all got it. When one DIDN’T perform, we all got it. We either succeed as a team, or failed as a team. Failure never seemed like a good option.
When the teachers asked what happened, we would lie. It was easy. There were 4 boys. We were rough-housing. We were playing, but never did we think about saying our daddy beat us.
Spanking is necessary in a child, but not to the point of him passing out from pain. Punishment must be swift, but not so hard it leaves a bruise for days. No one was allowed to step in; otherwise…
Later on, into my teenage years, I heard you screaming. I heard you slamming doors. I had asked, “is everything going to be okay?” That just made you more mad. You raised your fist. I didn’t back away. I started standing up to you. That wasn’t the response you wanted. You wanted me to remain scared, to stay frightened, to hide in the shadows.
You attempted to “beat me down.” I wouldn’t leave. Although I moved states, I refused to give up. The reoccurring nightmares came flooding in. At first, I thought they were simple nightmares. You couldn’t possibly be “THAT” guy. Eventually I learned the truth.
I learned how badly you beat her.
I learned about my blood.
I learned of all the women you cheated with.
I learned when you were lying.
I learned which stuff was “borrowed.”
It only added more fuel to the fire. I respected you less and less. Until, there was no more respect left.
You’ve had many names…
Daddy, dad, father, the man who raised me, weekend warrior, to your first name.
Now, I don’t speak to you at all. I wouldn’t know what to say. I wouldn’t know how to look at you. I’m truly disgusted. How you can possibly think that the things you’ve done can be forgiven is beyond my imagination.
I don’t forgive your actions, but I do forgive your soul. I will let you rest in peace when that day arrives. I will continue to keep my distance. Most importantly, I forgive myself. I gave you a strength you shouldn’t have had.
Just in case you’re reading this (which you probably won’t), this has NOTHING to do with the fact that your not my biological father. I had a full respect for you as my father until I learned the truth of what you did to my mother, until I witnessed the brutally you unleashed on my brothers, until I remembered you don’t deserve anymore energy in my life.
Edited by: Heather LaBarge, Exalted Peacock