Apr 1, 2008

Being a little somber

Today is kind of a weird day for me, it usually is. When I think back to the events of April 1st 1995 I sometimes wish it had been a cruel April fools joke. For a very long time I walked this earth with the feeling that I was responsible for the events of that day. Today I realize I am not but I still think of it often.

In the very late hours of the day my phone rang and like anyone, when a phone call comes in the middle of the night, you know it cannot be good news. It was my younger brother in California with tragic news. Seems my youngest brother had returned home and not having his house key decided to slip under the garage door as it was slightly ajar. As he did this he found my dad hanging in the garage.

I know it must have been a tough thing to find and I can tell you without getting in depth that my brothers life has been destroyed by that experience and a lot of other abuses my dad had inflicted on him. While I know people will point out I couldn't’ be responsible and I’ve come to accept that now, a lot of the weeks prior to that day left some rough interactions between my dad and I that remained in the back of my mind. My dad also being the selfish guy that he was didn’t even leave a note to anyone to allow them to understand why.

3 weeks prior to this event I had traveled with my best friend to California to visit my brother Rob. It was a trip I had been dying to make. Rob and I didn’t grow up together and we never knew much of each other until I finally got to meet him in 1994. We seemed to hit it off from the beginning, as siblings should. We just seemed to have that natural bond even if we were only related through my dad.

The day I arrived and stepped off the plane was the first time I would ever set foot on the West Coast. I was excited to see my brother, a new part of the country, but mostly just to spend time with Rob and make memories. I’ve often wished we lived closer to each other because I tend to miss him quite a bit.

My dad and I had a very jaded past, he left when I was 2 and never made much f an effort to know me after the fact. If it weren’t for my older brother he would have known nothing and I wouldn’t have known about any of my siblings. He tended to be a very selfish man who continued his life without ever concern for my well being or if I was even alive. In the summer of 1983 I received a phone call that would have him at my older brothers house just a short 20-minute drive from me. My mom being controlling geared me up to tell him off for once and for all so I drove over to do just that, but I didn’t have the heart and without getting into specifics it caused a deep division between my mom and I.

After meeting him things didn’t change a whole lot other than I would speak to him by phone every so often and even at that that always seemed to be an uneasy tension between us. When it came right down to it, the only time he ever called me was when he needed to make himself feel better, which wasn’t very often. Not long after stories began circulating about some abuse that family members had been though with him and it turned out to be something I despised. My dad was a pedophile.

When I stepped off the plane in California that day, I wasn’t t prepared for the wide range of emotion I would feel, it didn’t hit me until I was walking down the ramp from the plane and my dad was standing there waiting for me. He wasn’t even supposed to know I was there.

I spent a lot of quality time with my brother and really enjoyed it but at every turn my dad would try to get between us somehow dividing the bond that was growing. . At one point he took my youngest brother aside and told him that I wasn’t really his son, my mother had lied about it. It was probably the single most hurtful thing my father ever had done directly to me and when I lumped it in with the secrets that I knew of him it summed up to a volatile cocktail of hatred and contempt.

The last straw for me had him trying to drive another wedge but this time, instead of trying to turn them on me it was me against them. I can tell you as I sit here today with the hatred I had for who he was, the fact that I had so much built up anger because I had to hide my gender issues that I’m surprised I didn’t kill him where he stood. I did however blow into a rage and threw him out of my step sisters house.

In the course of my yelling my friend decided it was best if he went outside, so he went out and laid in the grass under the sun. As my dad left the house he made his best effort to grab my friends ear yelling do you see how he treats me. At this point I believe I said the fatal words to him. I ran outside threatening to beat him and told him, I know what you did and if you ever come back to New England I will kill you. He got in the car and left for Wyoming that day and stayed there until he knew I was gone. I don’t regret the words I said that day, I hated him for what he put my family through.

Several weeks later I put what I believe was the final nail in his coffin. I called him and told him that I wanted him to know I was selling my house and moving to California to be closer to me brother. At the end of all this I still believe that once I knew his secret and I was the only one that knew all 3 of his hiding places ( Mass, Wyoming and Cali) that he feared he was trapped by his own dirty deeds. It was the only reasoning I could ever come up with as to why he would take his own life,

While I hated my father for what he had done to not only me but members of my family, I never wanted to see him die. I would have welcomed him serving jail time, but not death and not that way. He left a lot of emotional pain in his family from that and a lot of other things. It was very hard to walk away and not feel some sense of responsibility. I’ve since gotten over it and come to the realization that I didn’t bear that cross, he committed the atrocities and drove himself to it regardless of what I said to him.

As far as his actions? We are still dealing with the damage to this day

1 comment:

Samantha said...

My Mom, who was in my case, is, one of my best friends always said:

"The hard times in our lives make it easier to appreciate the good times."

And when I was five, that didn't make a cup of sense, but that was a while ago. Now, I really know what she was talking about. I feel it, contrast and so many blessings in my life. Like coming home from dinner tonight, the perfect end, to the perfect spring day. A Rainbow hanging there in the sky after a day of torential downpours. Touching from onesideof the horizon to the other, making a parfect flawless arc of beauty across the sky.

My Dad on the otherhand, was as bad in ways as yours. He destoryed my two younger siblings, and faught a lifetime battle with mental illness that now long after his death, is still touching lives. I won't bore you with all the horrible details here, but I share your pain in many ways.

Strange as it will sound, I have my gender issues to thank for my survival. Having to fight my own nature so much, having him berate, belittle, demean, and abuse me for so long was something I wouldn't wish on anyone. From five years old on, he never let me forget what a freak, loser and waste of life I was. Miracle of miracles, I survived.

As Valeria Spencer said in "Beautiful Daughters" the abuse didn't make me female, but it fortified my charcter. Or the very old saying:

"That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger!"

You are a strong women Karyn, and the worlds needs more of us. Thank you for sharing you somber day with us, and for having an uncommon strength.

I've had plenty of people talk to me about how strong I am because I survived my gender issues and am living a life I only dreamed of for most of my life. I never really understood it until I started to put the rest of my life in some perspective. Then it hit me.

Of everything I've had to deal with in my life, transition was NOT the hardest. But that was only because I've been through so much other darkness that it made transition seem easy by comparison. That too is a hard thing to admit.

Anyway, I wanted to say thanks! Thanks, and that it was an interesting trip down memory lane for me too, but I haven't put that up on my blog yet. I'll get it there...

Getting back to my Mom briefly, it can't help but be thankful for the ability to feel it all, the good, bad, light, dark, beautiful and ugly. And to appreciate the difference between them.

I'm sorry that you too had to go through so much to get here, but I'm glad you have a better perspective on it than most people could, or would.

Like I say, the world needs more strong women Karyn, tag, you're one of them!