Today’s Topic: My “dad”
It’s complicated…..the man that became my dad. Imagine being five years old and your moving into a new home and being told you have to call someone dad that you don’t even know. Well this was my story, at five I became a big sister and had a new daddy. Our relationship was one filled with love, pain, hurt, anger and strain for many many years. I didn’t understand everything that was going on at the time but all I knew was this man went from being nice to hurting me on a regular basis. He wasn’t just hurting me he was hurting my mom too. Before you knew it his family became our new family and I no longer was aloud to be around my family. They didn’t call, come around, come get me or anything. In the beginning I didn’t know what was going on but as time went on I knew that him hitting me was wrong. I didn’t understand why my mom would just allow him to yell and hit on us but it started getting worse and worse to the point that other people began to notice by the time I was seven years old I was removed from the home for the first time. I didn’t know who told that I was being beat but I was relieved to know that something was going to be done about it. In the beginning I was too scared to tell what was going on. When I would get beat I was told to lie if someone questioned me about and bruises or marks on my body. I was so scared of my dad I would lie even when I was removed I really wouldn’t open up about what was going on for many years. I would be placed back in the home because I would lie and say that I got hurt fighting friends or I fell or whatever the lie was that I was told to say. We would have to have people come in the home to check and see if I was being abused. It got to the point that when he would beat me he would make me stay home from school and I wouldn’t be aloud to go outside just so no one would see the bruises and marks. As the years went on the abuse got worse and my responsibility in the home became more. I would have to clean, cook, and take care of my little sister. I would get time limits to do everything eat, clean, doing my hair, going to the store whatever and if I didn’t do it in the time frame I would get beat. I would have to ride with my dad whenever he wanted me to and a lot of the time we would be out he would go visit his other girlfriends, go to the bar, or be with people I didn’t want to be around. In the beginning I would tell my mother who we would be with or where we would go but it would always backfire because when they would get into arguments and fights she would tell him everything I told her and he knew it was me reporting back to her then I would get beat for telling her. So I stopped telling her. I was stuck in the middle when he was happy I would have to run with him, when he was mad I was his punching bag, when he and I would get along my mother and I wouldn’t. I finally figured out that it was better to be on his good side than it was to be on his bad. I did whatever he told me in the time that he told me no matter what just to keep the beatings at a minimum. The intensity of the beating began to get worse by the time I was beginning middle school and when I got removed this time the courts decided not to place me back in the home. I had to decide who I wanted to live with and my first choice was my grandmother (my biological father’s mother) but due to the fact they told the courts that my father and uncle were addicts I wasn’t aloud to go there. My second choice was my godmother which was approved so I was placed with her in Erie unaware that my godsister was ill. I lived with my godmother for all of middle school and when it was time to go to high school my godmother was moving to North Carolina and didn’t want to take me with her so I ended up back at home with my dad. Needless to say I wasn’t home but a few weeks and the abuse started back and had progressed to the point that by the end of the year I was in a group home. When I came home at the beginning of the year it was much of the same. I did make it through my 10th grade year at home but come the summer before my 11th grade year at our annual family reunion he acted up so bad and beat my mother that my family told my mother if she wanted to stay there was nothing they could do about that but they weren’t going to make me go back to that house if I didn’t want to and I left with them when they went back home to Detroit. I spent the next two years in Detroit living with my cousin who showered me with love, attention and affection. For the first time since the age of five I was able to live the life of a child. Once I was able to over come the fear that my dad was coming to get me and make me come home I was able to get my grades together, play sports, hang out with friends, attend church but most of all be and feel love. But my senior year I began to feel guilty that my mother wasn’t going to get to see me graduate and I reached out to her. She told me she had been really sick and I told her I would come visit on my spring break……(worst mistake I ever made) because when I went to visit she played on my heart strings and I ended up staying. I got home March of 1993 and the abuse started back up almost immediately then we moved out of the neighborhood so if he didn’t feel like taking me to school I didn’t go. I didn’t get my senior pictures, I didn’t go to prom and I almost didn’t make it to graduation. I moved out and in with my grandmother (paternal) in July 1993 because of the abuse. So, I know you are reading this and may be a little confused because in the beginning I talk about my relationship with my “dad” as complicated. It was complicated because as bad as this man was to me I truly loved and adored him. He taught me how to drive (at 12), he took care of me when my sickle cell trait was acting up, he would pop up on my school route and pick my friends and I up and take us to get ice cream (checking to make sure I was walking home the route I was told to and I wasn’t with someone he told me not to be with), he would come to my school concerts, would have me sit with him and talk, he also taught me some “bad” things but in hindsight I was later able to turn into positive like he taught me to drink, shoot a gun but most of all he taught me what I didn’t want in a man. I always talk about hurt people hurt people and he is a perfect example of that. Once I was grown and on my own we had a conversation one of the times I was at the house, he never apologized but in his own way he did. He explained to me that he was a step child and what happened to him. I walked away from that conversation with an understanding that he just continued the cycle of abuse that he received and from that day until the day he passed we built. I was truly able to forgive him and move pass all that he put me through. It wasn’t always easy to be around him because when he would call and ask for me to bring the baby over, can he pick the baby up from the daycare, or for me to cook for him I would question his motives. I would interact with him very tentatively because I wasn’t sure if he was trying to get me over there to start something but it really was his way of trying to make amends for the past. I have lasting effects from this man but I can say that when he died it affected me as if I was his birth born child. I always thought that I would not have been affected when he died but I cried like a baby. As broken as our relationship was he was my “DAD” the good, the bad and the ugly. It is what it is he was who he was he did what he did but at the end of the day that was my “DAD” I found out how regretful he was for all that he did without him ever saying sorry because when he passed in 2003 at his request he was buried in the closest plot to my daughter who passed in 1995 and for this I know in my heart that he was sorry for what he did to me and may he rest with GOD!
Many Blessings & Much Love