A Daughters Story, And Then Some….

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I left my last blog with the story of my dad becoming violent during a drunken ride home. If you have not read the beginning of my blog, please do, so that you may make sense of my story.
Lets go back a few years to when I was 8 years old.
I was awaken by my mother at 2:00 a.m. on a week night. She came in my room, shook me a little, being careful not to wake my two younger sisters who were lying next to me. “Jamie, wake up. I need you to wake up.” As I finally gained consciousness, she continued to explain that my dad was in the tree outside with a rope around his neck threatening to jump out of it and kill himself. She wanted me to go outside and see if I could talk him into coming down.”
Before you even consider that this stuff is not true, and did not happen, I assure you, with all of my being, each and every word I type is 100% true. Also please know that it is terribly hard to share some things, because it brings all of this stuff back to the surface. My intentions are to do some good by doing this.

Now….where was I?
I proceeded to walk outside, slowly making my way over to the tree that my dad was sitting in. Sure enough he had one end of a rope around his neck, and the other tied to the tree. “Hey dad, what are ya doing in that tree?” I asked. Silence…. I think he may have fallen asleep. “DAD!” I yelled. I caught his attention, and he yelled back. ” What the hell are you doing out of bed?” I know this sounds terrible, but I just wanted to go back in the house, crawl back in my warm bed and go back to sleep. All I could think about, was the fact I had to get up early in the morning and go to school. Maybe the reason I was not taking all of this too seriously was because these type of incidences happened on a regular basis.

I continued to tell him that mom woke me up and told me to come talk him out of the tree. ” Did she now?” He asked, in a very low tone..
I think to him, that showed that she cared some bit about him. I am sure the reason he ended up in that tree, was no different than any other time he had threatened his life, or done something to make her feel sorry for him. Time after time, he would come home late at night, just as he had this night, drunk, with no recollection of where he had been. Or some fabricated lie of where he had been. She was going to leave him, or make him leave, because she couldn’t live like this anymore. YadaYadaYada….
“Yes dad, she told me to see if I could get you to come down, and go in the house so we could all go back to bed.” I told him. ” Well you go on in and get back in bed.” he said. I told him I would as soon as he came down from that tree, or at least took the rope off of his neck, and threw it down to me. It seemed to take an hour or so to talk him down. Treating him as though he was a child. Uplifting, and positive words. Just as I was about to give up, he threw the rope down to me, climbed half way down, and fell the rest of the way. I really do not remember what happened next. All I know is that next morning was tiring.

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Now that we have come to the conclusion of how my father was, and still is, we can now turn the attention to my mother. I have spoke to my mother twice, face to face, in 4 years. We have text maybe twice, and media chatted twice. Other than that, our relationship has seized to exist. I really have no idea what brought the silence on, this specific time. I was never told. It just occurred.
I have so many memories floating around in my mind that cause me a great deal of pain. But just so you know, these memories are unlike the memories I share of my dad. These memories really bother me each and every time I share them. I whole heartily believe a child, of any age, needs their mother. Not saying that fathers do not love their children just the same, but being a mother, I can relate with what is expected or not expected from a mother. I learned quickly after giving birth to my first child what I missed out on when it came to having a mother. I long for those conversations with her telling me how proud she is of me for my accomplishments. I would love for just once for her to look me in the eye, tell me she loves me, and mean it. The thought of having coffee together and just chatting about my kids, her grand-kids, brings tears to my face…..Because those times have never existed, nor will they ever. That is just not the person she is. I know it has a lot to do with how her mother was with her. Nearly non-existent. But I refuse to let that be used as an excuse. I broke that chain when I gave birth to my children. I refuse to be a mother who leaves her own flesh and blood wondering what it is they ever done, to be loved so little. Why was I not important enough for her to break that chain?
The latest of my hurt, was when I was 21 years old. Since then, things have never been quite right. Not that it ever was before, but this specific time, took most of what I had left, as far as respect, for my mother. Lord knows that is all that kept me hanging on up until then.
Mother and I both worked in a sock mill together, along with some of our close friends. We normally had a really good time working. We would sit around the table, talk, snack, wait for our machines to fill up with socks, only to go push them down and sit some more. When it was time to go catch up on our work, we would turn the radio up, and get to it. One night, mother decided to bring a new puppy to work with her. She was in the process of house training, so she did not want to leave it running loose at her house. She had made the statement that the radio seemed to be hurting the puppies ears, so she was turning it down. Within an hour, a song had come on that another coworker and I really liked, so without thinking I went and turned the radio back up. I was not thinking anything about that dog, and its ears hurting. It was a natural reaction, that when a song came on that we liked, one of us would turn it up a bit.
The song did not even get mid way through, before it was shut off. I looked up toward the end of my machines, and my mother yelled out, ” .If either one of you bitches turns that radio back up, you will have my ass to kick  ” True Story……..Without warning these words came out of my mouth, ” Mother you need to grow up.”
This was the first time in my 21 years that I “talked back” . My mother came running down the aisle with the look only a person would have for their enemy. I knew at that moment, I was going to have to defend myself. I could not allow her to slap me around, as she had many times before. I put my hands up to catch her fist, and some how managed to hit her glasses, which nicked her nose. I later found out that she accused me of breaking her nose, all by merely defending myself. She told our coworkers that she literally had to pop her nose back in place.

My mother grabbed a hold of my hair and shoved my head toward the knitting machine handle. I am not sure how many of you have ever been in a sock mill, but these machines have a large belt on the side, that is hooked to an axle that runs ALL 60+ machines. She was trying to put my head into this belt so that it would grab a hold of my hair and scalp me.It has happened to many people in the past. That was not even the worst part of this incident. Mother had told a coworker, that someone had better follow me home, because I was going to get what was coming to me. They in fact, followed me home that night..
I would like to think, even to this day, that she was just mad and blowing off steam. She would have never actually ran me off of the road. I also hope that she would not have really shoved my head into that belt, with the knowledge that it could have seriously hurt me, or worse. I really do not know. But I do know, I should never have to wonder such a thing. This is my life. This is the destiny that I was given. I have used it to learn from. I search through all of negative in my life, and I always pull something positive from it. If I did not at least attempt to do that, then I would drive myself crazy.
I learned from first hand experience that a mother can break a child’s spirit into pieces. And more times than one. I learned how important it is to build a child up, from a very young age. I learned that without a mothers love, a child will feel worthless.
Ironically I am thankful for being taught in a backwards way, how needful a mothers love is. I appreciate the knowledge of how important it is to tell my own children over and over how much I love them. A child is just that……A child. These little people are our responsibility. We are to love them, nurture them, teach them. Not use, abuse, and neglect.
I hate to share such a horrible story without sharing something good. There have been two times in my life that mother was, well…….Motherly. I will share those moments.
I was sixteen years old. I had been grounded for some reason. Part of that grounding was from my boyfriend. I was not allowed to see him for so many weeks. I can not remember exactly, but it was a very long time. My mother heard me in my room crying, and without saying anything she come in , sat on the bed, and put my head in her lap. She held me while I cried. When I start thinking about all of the negative that she and I have been through, I go to that time and place. Just her holding me, made my heart feel so much better.
I was thirty two and just had my fourth child. The relationship I was in, was just utterly ridiculous. I do not know how I found myself in such a terrible situation. I was at the end of my pregnancy while living with my mother. She took care of me, and when it was time to have my daughter, she took me to the hospital, and stayed until I had her. She was actually in the room with me when I gave birth. That was the only time out of all four of my children that she was there with me. I had such high hopes that she would gain something from that, and hold on to it.

False hope………………………

I still dream often that my mother knocks on my door, and just grabs me. Apologizes for everything terrible that she has ever done, everything ugly that she has ever said. No excuses, just apologies. Just love me. Just want to be a mother.
I am not sure if I will be able to share any more memories. It is overwhelming to do so. My mother lives 15 minutes from me, but it seems as though it is a world away. I know she is going to die someday sooner than later, and there is all of the chances in the world to have a relationship with her right now. I know so many people will want to say, if my mother was here, I would make things right. Trust me, I want to. I have tried time and time again. I have put things that have happened in the past, just so we could have a relationship. It just hurts so bad when it happens again. It is like that hurt, adds to the already hurt. I want to forgive her for all that she has and has not done, but how do you forgive someone that does not think they have done anything wrong?
In writing these blogs, I am hopeful that it will touch a mothers heart, and give her the desire to want to be better than this. There may be a mother just as me, that was never nurtured by her own mother, and is falling into that terrible pattern. It is never too late. It can always be fixed. As long as you are breathing, you can fix it. If you do not have the courage to go to your child and apologize for things you have done, or things you have not done, then write a letter. Open that door.
Mental Thought: Never leave the love you feel in your heart up to question. It is not a very comforting feeling for the one questioning it…..

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A Daughters Story – The Opening

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Thirty some odd years ago, a sixteen year old child gave birth to a daughter. This is her daughters story.

I was born into a world of drunkenness, which brought abuse, and very little nurturing. As far back as I can remember, things were just always bad. I always believed that my mother and father hated one another more than loved. There is not  one memory in my mind where they were nice to each other. To this day I still wonder why they stayed husband and wife as many  years as they did. It is not like they were together for those twenty years. Maybe it was just to cause me torture.

From the time I was in first grade I switched schools nine times. Any idea how hard it is to find friends, little on keep them when you move so often? Especially when you are considered low class. My parents would separate because of a drunken rage from my dad, and mother would move out, start over, and within a few months they would reunite. Dad would always end up moving to what ever location my mother had chosen.

A taste of my younger days.

Age 6/7. I am not sure what reason I was allowed to walk to school at such a young age, but I do remember having to do so. We lived in Chattanooga Tennessee during the beginning of my second grade year. I remember having that uneasy feeling the first few times I done it. Seriously, who allows their small child to walk to school. It was only a block, but Never would I allow that to take place. Not in that area. The point of my story was not even the fact that I had to make sure I got myself to school. I remember having a terrible morning on one of those walks. The bottom of my shoe had fallen completely off. The only thing I had to walk on was the insole of the shoe that was still attached to the inside. Kids can be cruel at such a young age, or any age for that matter. My misfortune that day was used for their amusement . All the laughs and teasing, really broke my spirit. It took me a very long time to get over that. I was finally released from that specific humiliation when we moved. A lot of times, moving was welcomed, because of situations such as this, Though It seemed every school had those kids that would snub their nose at my second hand cloths, or ratty hair.

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By the middle of my second grade year, we had moved about an hour away from Chattanooga. We went from living in the city, to the back woods of some po-dunk town that did not even have a traffic light, known as Ider. I was not at this school very long until I had some how managed to develop head lice. So for the rest of the year, I was shunned by my fellow class mates for this added misfortune.

I began my third grade year in different school. This was not like the last move, a combined family move. This involved a separation. Mom left dad and moved to Fort Payne. This was a town/city. A lot smaller than Chattanooga, yet tons bigger than Ider. I stayed at this school, from the beginning of Third, until the middle of Fifth, and I failed fourth grade, so we are looking at, at least three years at this residence. Probably the longest that I ever stayed at any school or residence. This was because my mother was living in what is called a HUD home or Governmental housing . Her rent was income based. She had no income, therefore it was near nothing. Dad eventually moved back in with us, but when they would separate during these years he would be the one to leave, because she refused to give up her cheap housing. This was the age of when I was molested by a family member. I will have to save that incident, and the details for another day.

Half of fifth grade,  and all of sixth grade, we were back in Ider. Once again, I was in contact with someone with head-lice. Word got out, therefore, I was a dirt bag for the rest of the time being at this school. Seventh and Eight I attended another small town school, Sylvania. Up until this point, I would have to say it was the least terrible. Especially as far as people were concerned. There may have been a person here and there that was mean, and nasty, but they were few and far between.

Ninth and Tenth was by far the easiest for me. Collinsville School.  I think I had gotten to the age of not caring as much what people thought about me. I find when we are not so concerned about what others think, we will also gain more determination to make the best out of whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. Along with that determination, confidence is gained. I had so many friends, in three different grades. For once I was enjoying school, not necessarily the academic part of it, but definitely the social part. I had even tried out for a few extra curricular activities. Basket ball the first time. I was so pumped about it. My parents even agreed to it. As long as I could get to and from games and practices without them being involved. I made sure that would not be an issue. During the first practice,  I was told that my birth certificate was not an original, and without the original I could not practice. It was too much to ask of my mother to go to the health department and obtain another birth certificate,therefore I missed out on the opportunity. In my tenth grade year I had joined color guard. Ordered uniforms, had been going to weekly practices. Out of the blue, I was accused of doing something with my mothers live in boyfriends,underwear. There was also a ring that had come up missing as well. From my understanding the ring had later surfaced in a jacket pocket, but the underwear…Yep, still missing. Just my personal thought would be, mother did not want the hassle of children, or the more than likely the boyfriend. They wanted to spend their time, alone.

My father allowed me to quit school. He did not just allow, he pushed me to it. For a few weeks I decided that I would in fact quit school, but that is all of the vacation I needed, before I decided to return. By this time, it was several weeks into my Eleventh grade year, and I had landed back in Sylvania. Before the second semester was over, I had quit again. This time it was due to the fact, that my dad had rather stay drunk instead of worry with my education. He can not read nor write, so I suppose he felt I was educated enough. Every Monday he had a hang over. So I was always missing those days. There would be a day between that and Friday that I would miss again. We lived out of the area for the school that my dad insisted I attend. He would drive to his work in the mornings and that is where I would get on and off the bus. Since he would not go to work on a daily basis, I could not go to school on a daily basis. I finally just quit again. I had no choice. School was hard enough on me without all of that added stress.

I know I can not blame my parents for every little wrong choice I have made myself in this life. Though I can in fact, and do blame them for not teaching me some very vital things. One of those things being respect. I was never taught to respect myself. That was something that I had to teach myself, and it took many many years to do so, and with a lot of failed attempts. I was never taught morals. I had to learn those from my friends parents along the way. I was never nurtured, loved on, or lifted up. But those things I hold tight to now, as being a blessing. It has shown me the damage it can do to a child’s heart when these things are not offered. I refuse to ever leave my children wondering what they mean to me. I will never say things to bring them down. I will always pressure them to leave their positive mark on the world. I will teach them that the children that seem to live in poverty are just the same as they are. Their parents may be down on their luck, or their parents may just not care. Either way it is not the fault of the children. One day that child will be an adult, and will remember each and every person that ever said or done anything ugly, and will equally remember those good people who treated them simply as humans.

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TO BE CONTINUED……

Mental thought: We must always realize one simple fact. As parents we are creating a chain. What we teach our children, will then be taught to their own children.

The Loss

A blog assignment for Writing 101: Point of View

The Prompt:

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

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“Ryan”

It could not be a prettier day out, for this years annual fishing exhibition. After the year Alice and I have had, she needs this day to be perfect. In all honestly, I was not sure she would make it today. I am leaning toward the notion that she just wanted to be close to her father, as this was their thing. Each year, from the time she was able to hold a pole, they would attend this event. Just them. Rain or shine, sick or not, they were always in attendance. His cancer did not stop him the last year. He said as long as he was breathing, he would share this last moment with his daughter. They were here at this lake in the park by 4:30 am and stayed until the sun set. He refused to leave before the sun set, even though anyone could tell he was completely and utterly exhausted. The next morning, when Alice went to share all of the photos that had been taken of their day together, he had his hand out for her to come to him. She crawled in the bed with him, covered with his red crochet blanket, and he held her. Within minutes, he was gone. The closeness those two shared was magical. I envied that love. My own father had skipped out on my mother and I when I was just a toddler. I knew who he was, and had even met a few times which made the realization that some fathers, are not meant to be dads, very real.

The most devastating part of Alice losing her dad, was those photos. She knew he didn’t have the strength to look at not even one of them, which saddened her. Alice was so excited to show him those photos due to one very special image. The second picture in the stack was of an ultrasound. We had found out several weeks before, that we were pregnant, but was keeping it to ourselves until we were certain things were going good. She was afraid to hold out any longer, because of the way her dad was feeling the previous day. She made up her mind the night of the fishing exhibition that she was going to slip that ultrasound picture in with the other photos and record his face when he seen it the next morning. She could hardly wait that morning to get to the nursing home and share with him the best news of her life. As soon as she seen him, she knew he had been waiting all night for her to show up, so that he could hold her one last time before he left his body. I keep holding tight to the thought, at least she had that.

Within the months to come, the pregnancy was the only thing that could put a smile on her face. She put all of her focus into the baby things. The name, the coming home outfit, the bed, it all had to be perfect. I remember thinking, this could not have happened at a better time. This is the only thing keeping my wife going. And then it happened……

I received a call at work, from our next door neighbor. She stated that my wife was in critical condition, and I needed to hurry to the hospital. One can only imagine the fear that you develop when hearing those words. The love of my life, my soul mate, was in critical condition. I had no idea what to do with that. As soon as I reached the hospital, they allowed me to go back to be with my wife. . As I was waiting on the doctor to come speak with me,  I noticed she was no longer pregnant. Alice was medicated, so she was sleeping peacefully. I patiently waited as the doctor came in, to tell me what I had feared.

Alice had fallen from a ladder while putting border up in our unborn sons room. She landed in a terrible way, that forced her into labor. She had broken her left leg and right wrist in the fall. Our son, had died just shortly after birth. She was holding him against her when she was found by our neighbor, who just happen to be bringing Alice some lunch. That has been almost two years ago, and things are still so hard. Every day I wake up with the feeling that my son is in the shadows. Not like a ghost or anything, but just there. When I am alone, and I weep with sadness, I feel as though a warm blanket is swept around me.

Alice seemed saddened while sitting there just gazing into the lake, so I suggested we take a stroll. Maybe some walking and talking would do some good. As we approached the play-land area of the park, that is when I seen her. Sitting on a bench………

( Alice)

Ryan has pushed me and pushed me to come to this fishing thing. Nothing in me wants to be around these people, and have to muster up a smile for each of them. I have to pretend on a daily basis that this past two years, has not killed me on the inside. I know I told him “not this year“, over a dozen times. Admittedly, him making me feel guilt , has actually brought me to the happiest place of my childhood. Sitting here on this dock, with my dads blanket, floods me with such great memories. I find myself fighting back the tears of happiness, then sadness. This day should be just like every fishing exhibition that my father and I entered. Only better, because Sam should be here too. I just do not see how I will ever bounce back from all of this. Ryan does not deserve to be with me like this. I have told him time and time again that we need to divorce. He deserves so much more.

I often wonder what it would be like. To still have my dad here, and Sam running around at his feet. As I sit here,  I find myself daydreaming. Sam falls into the lake, as his Poppy grabs him by his overhaul strap. Sam losing his ball cap in the water, and as it floats away, my dad jumps in to save it, making Sam laugh and laugh. Sometimes I think I am losing it, because I often catch myself with similar scenarios in my head. I can see my son as plain as day. I share these stories that I have conjured up in my mind with Ryan, and he will have great big tears well up in his eyes. He too imagines things being different. He told me this morning that he had the realest of dreams last night. He was still full of smiles as soon as he woke, because he swore he was there.

Sam looked to have been two in the dream. It was Christmas. The whole park that we were in right now, was covered in white lights. The park smelled like Hot chocolate, popcorn, hot dogs, and everyone was gathered around a large bonfire. Sam kept wanting to run around and around the bonfire, but Ryan insisted he stay close. Ryan said, “that child was a handful”. He would not sit in one spot no matter what he was threatened or bribed with. Ryan said he looked away for a few seconds and Sam was gone. He said in his dream,  his stomach felt the exact same way it did when he walked into the hospital room the day of the accident. It was fear; fear that he had lost our son.

After searching for what seemed to be an eternity, Ryan found Sam. He noticed the red sweater he was wearing, right away. Sam was walking with an elderly woman who was concerned with him being lost. When Sam seen his dad, he ran to him, and gave him a big hug. The biggest of hugs. Squeezed him so tight, and said, “Daddy I will never leave you again.” And Ryan woke up. He said he tried desperately to go back to sleep so he could see our son again, but sleep never came.

The way he told the story, it seemed as though he really felt our sons presence. It made me envious of my husband at that moment. I want to fall asleep and dream of Sam too. I want to dream of him each and every night. I want to see exactly what he looks like, without me imagining. As I look out in the distance on this lake, I know one thing is certain. My sweet baby boy, is in a safe place with his Poppy.

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As I am staring into the abyss of the lake, Ryan grabs my hand and asked me to take a walk. We did not get 5 yards before Ryan started acting sluggish. His paced had slowed down exceptionally and he was now staring at an old lady in the distance. It looked to be one of the elderly ladies from the church that we once attended. Ryan walked up to the lady, stood in front of her for a moment, held her hand, and started sobbing…….

“The old woman”

Mrs. Harris, a local lady that went to the same church as Ryan and Michelle, was sitting on a park bench, a bit away from the lake. She had not gotten out much in the past few years due to her declining health, but something tugged at her spirit the night before to go to the park, relax and do some knitting. Truth be told, she had a very odd dream, that had stuck with her, even as she woke. It was of a young boy, next to a tree. He was crying, but was leery of the lady. He did not seem very trusting in her at first. She remembered asking him in the dream where his mommy and daddy were. He told her they were lost and sad, and he needed to find them. So they went on a search for his mom and dad. As they were walking along the side walk, weaving in and out of a crowd, Mrs. Harris asked the young man where he was from. The child answered, “Heaven.” ….Even in the dream the old woman was taken back. He was two at the most, and when he said that word, Heaven, he sounded like a grown man. “Heaven did you say?” She asked the child.”Yes Ma’am.” Replied the boy. “If you are from Heaven, then why would you come here?” Mrs. Harris asked. The young boy went on to tell her that she knew his mommy and daddy here on earth and they were in a sad way. They were not recovering well from him leaving, so he  needed her to do something for him. He needed her to knit a red sweater, and attend the fishing exhibition. As he said those words, someone in the dream stood in front of them, and thanked her for finding his son. The face on the person, was blurry so she could not see who it was. As soon as the boy and father were united, she woke up.

It is such a lovely day to sit here and knit. I can not believe how little my hands have hurt from all this morning knitting. It is almost done, though I feel extremely silly for carrying out this dream. What are the chances in my dream being a sign from the Heavens? Either way, I am going to finish this red sweater, and see what happens. If it is nothing, then I have to say, I would have rather showed up to a party with a gift, than without.

Within a few moments of putting away all of the knitting things, a couple was approaching from the distance. Normally, there would not be anything odd about it,but the closer they the couple got, the slower they would walk. When they were close enough for me to see their face, I recognized the couple from church, that had not been since…………………………………

I jumped to my feet, as the couple stood before me. This was it. It was really happening. This was the dad in my dream. The child was his little guy they had lost during a falling accident nearly two years ago. Alice and Ryan had not been to church since they had lost Alice’s dad. Then the terrible fall that caused Alice to lose their baby. It is all falling into place now. Sam had found a way to show his mom and dad that he was with them. Not in body, but in spirit.

As soon as Ryan seen the red sweater, he reached for my hand, and  began to cry.

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