Saturday, July 27, 2002

Once upon a time.

When I was 5, my father was drinking heavily, my mother had just had her last of 6 children and with no help coming from my father, she snapped.

Long story short, we all ended up in foster care, and my mother went to stay with her sister and get her head together. The social worker was very nice about it, told my mother that she would make sure we were well taken care of till she was better able to cope.

My little brother was not yet 2, I was 5 and my older sister was 8. My older brothers were, I think, 10, 11 and 12.

Obviously we could not all stay together. My little brother went one place. Me and my sister went to live with a family in town, and my brothers went to stay at a farm in the country. She was only gone for 7 months, but it effected us all differently. I don�t remember a lot about it, there are things that I remember vividly and others not so vividly.

I remember�

- My sister and I waving to our dad as he drove away, certain that he would be right back.

- Go-go boots and batons.

- Dough boys. It seemed like our foster mother made them everyday, but I am sure that is not true.

- Feeding said dough boys to the dog under the table because �she� wouldn�t let us leave the table till they were gone.

- Being dressed up in tutus and paraded in front of �her� friends.

- �Her� saying, �Aren�t they precious, the poor little things.�

- Missing my brothers.

- Visiting my brothers one day and skating on the pond. (not sure if this really happened or I just dreamed it, I do remember missing them so much.)

- Recording messages and songs for my father so he wouldn�t feel so alone.

- Begging my father to take me with him after one of his weekly visits.

- Being tricked into going to get the tapes I had made for him, while he quietly, slipped out.

- Crying all night long for my Dad. (I don�t ever remember wondering where my mother was.)

- Wearing hand me down clothes from our foster mothers �real� children.

- Getting my picture in the paper during a concert at the church.

- Going to pick up my little brother after my mother came back, and having to leave him that first time because he wouldn�t let go of the woman�s leg. He was only 2 and to him 7 months was a lifetime, he had no idea who we were.

- The look on my mothers face as we drove away leaving him behind.

- Coming back the next day with the biggest green, plastic racecar I had ever seen, to bribe him into coming home with us.

- The look of relief on my mothers face.

Even after all that, my father didn�t quit drinking. It wasn�t till I was two months shy of my 13th birthday, that he finally kicked it.

I remember him getting his first year medallion. It was about the size of a silver dollar and on the front it had AA, Easy Does It, First Things First. And on the back was his name and the day he stopped drinking. (Sept 18, 1978) I remember how proud he was that day, one year later, when he was presented with it. He and my mother got all dressed up to go to the dinner. I remember the grey tweed jacket he wore. He carried that medallion in his pocket, so when he felt like he was slipping, he could reach in and hold it and remember why it was important that he not take that drink.

Years later, when he got really sick, we were in his hospital room, and he looked at me and started to cry. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, �I love you.� and cried even harder.

He said, �I know I have never said that to you before and I�m sorry.� I told him, �Dad, you never had to say it, you always made me feel it.� He reached into his robe pocket and passed me the medallion and I cried, because I knew what it meant to him. A lot was going on in our family in those months, more than I can go into here, and he knew that I was filled with rage. He said that I should carry it with me, and when things got bad, to hold it and hopefully it would make me feel better.

It never did. I still have the rage, and whenever I look at the medallion it just makes me cry. To think that my father and mother had gone through so much, only to have it taken away in the end, by one of the people who they should have been able to count on. Those who don�t know the in�s of this story will have no idea what that last part means, but I had to put it down for myself. To put it out there, that I do not forgive and will never forget.

My mother forgave, she said that she forgave that person because it was hurting her not to. I don�t agree, I think some people do not deserve forgiveness. My father put it this way, �Don�t worry about it, everyone gets what they deserve.� That didn't help me either, I wanted them to get what they deserved now.

I don�t dwell on it, but I hope that the person I speak of doesn�t take the fact that I am not outwardly hostile to him as a sign of forgiveness. Forgiveness was not mine to give, it was my fathers, and he can�t give it now. The moment when my rage hit its peak, was the moment my father breathed his last. I was with him and he looked at me, his eyes glazed over and coughed softly and that was it. If the person of whom I speak had been there at that moment I would have strangled him with my bare hands.

I know in my heart that if my father hadn't had so much hardship at the end, he would have lived longer, the doctors said as much. My father had wanted to be "layed out" in his home, but that right was taken from him too. I will never forgive that person for robbing me of even a second of my fathers life, or from denying him his last wish.


Anonymous said...

You do remember some things differently than i do and some of it is a little askew, hardly matters at this point. you do make me cry , but i allways cry on Fathers Day... i miss him soo much... And as for forgiveness , we never truely will but like you said it wasn't ours to give. I need to go calm down. I love you, and i hope i never let you down.

Unknown said...

Your 4 year old mind remembers things as they were to you but most of it is so accurate! You make me cry, not just for Dad but for all of us. Our brothers, the quiet ones, have their scars as well, and we only know what they chose to tell us about their time as "orphans". I remember schoolmates calling me that at G. R. Saunders, "You're an orphan, your parents didn't want you." We are orphans again but we did have a few years with them that we can hold in our hearts forever.
He loved us. We are all broken and will never heal. The one that took advantage of his misfortune have to live with it, that's his Karma.
I dream of him often and sometimes he's cooking beans,sometimes he's picking me up from Brownies every Wednesday night, that's when you begged him to take you with him, he told me, "look after your baby sister she needs you, and drove off."

Love you Dad