April 17, 1979, a day I will never forget. It’s the day I was asked to leave home. I turned 17 on April 13, 1979. I had a 3 month old beautiful baby girl. Yes, my life was not perfect, but I was bound and determined to make this work. Again, I was not allowed to see Dave. I returned to school for the last few months of my junior year. But life at home was so up and down. My mom would say “I could tell you something.” And she just kept saying that. She just made me feel like this dirty person who had committed the most dreadful crime. Yes, I had a child out of wedlock. Yes, it is not what we choose for our children. But if your kid is making the best out of her circumstance, you would think a parent would stand by her child and help her succeed.
Not in my life. Finally, one day I just burst out and said, “I could tell you something too!” I’ll never forget it. I was upstairs in my room. And she said you go first. I told her, no! you go first…because in my mind I was scared to death but I knew in my heart that it had to be told. And what I had to say would destroy the woman in front of me. What she had to tell me is her personal story, one she would have to share. And what she shared with me was in no way comparable to what I had to say. I felt her pain and I understood her a little more, but I did not have it in me to care. I did not deserve to be made to feel like a piece of dirt on a daily basis. I did not need to see her on the phone with Dave, and me not allowed to talk to him. I did not handle keeping score then and I do not tolerate it today.
Then it was my turn. Scared to death and not knowing the right words, and hearing her rant, “I told you, now you tell me”, I blurted out “Your husband likes your kids more than you!” It still feels awful to say those words. Dirty like a rape victim. She was crying, angry, more than angry. More like a raging animal. Everyone hid. She went screaming to her husband, flying from one end of the house to the other. And I am sure any mother would react the same, but not every mother would make the decisions she did. In my heart, I knew what I had just told her needed to be told. And quite frankly, this was never going to happen to Sara. I would kill!
A few days later, on April 17,1979, I was sitting in the wooden rocking chair, rocking Sara. Tears falling non stop, trying to stay tough because I knew she was preparing to approach me. And that is when she came up to me and said, “You have to leave.” I could not believe it. All that ran through my mind is where the hell am I going to go with a new baby. A junior in high school. I did not even have a drivers license!
This is when I went to live with Joan and her family. They took me in and made feel like a person. She became my foster mom for legalities. I will never, ever forget the day we had to go to court for me to be placed in her home. She had bought me a mint green dress from K-Mart, (the same mint green color I will always cherish), and I wore it to court. I actually wore this dress for my high school graduation. I needed to look respectable and not like the piece of trash I was made to feel like. I sat in the court room next to Joan, and my mom and step dad walked in together. They walked past me. And as my mom walked past me, she looked at me, stopped, and spit at me. She flipping SPIT at me. I was devastated. I went right back to feeling like the trash she made me out to be. She walked into court with the man that violated her children and spit at her daughter. As if I had committed this ungodly act! I could not tell you what was said in the courtroom that day because I just sat there with tears falling out of my eyes. Of course, I was placed in Joanie’s care that day because that is where I went after. That was the day my heart actually broke, because my own mother didn’t care about what happened to her kids or what was going to happen to her daughter or grand daughter. It was all about her, and that was sick!
Up until I graduated from high school I stayed with Joan. There were a few times that I went back home to my mom’s to live but those times were short lived. Shit would start all over again and I would leave and go back to Joanie’s house. Joanie always, always told me “She is still your mom” and I would return expecting to be loved and accepted. But it never happened. It would never happen.
As my mother told my siblings. “If he leaves (the pervert) then you won’t have pretty clothes to wear, or this house to live in.” So, instead I had to leave, with or without having had a baby I believe I would have had to leave. Sara’s birth had absolutely nothing to do with the reason I was not welcomed at my own home. It was easier to blame a daughter who had a baby out of wedlock than to look at what was really happening in that house.
Through out the years I would hear that I asked for what happened to me. My heart would sink hearing that and I would get angry. I would get letters from my mom, even after I was married to Geno, that it was my fault that he, the pervert, molested me. Letters I still have! I would try over and over again to have a relationship with my mom but it was never a healthy relationship. I would be left out of family functions, holidays and what not. I had destroyed her mirage of happiness and so she blamed me, and kicked me out of the house. And continued living with this sick man. For fourteen years after I told her what was happening, she choose to stay with him. The sick part is that her children would continue to try and love her because this was their mom. We went through life for those fourteen years numb and pretending. There was never a day any of us were disrespectful to our mother. We feared the rath of her! There were times she would get drunk, smoke cigarettes and make you feel unworthy, and I speak for myself. It was like we ruined her life. But dammit there is not one mother on earth that does not know what is happening in their own house, even behind closed doors, unless they choose not to know! Tell me now if you disagree, but if your kid is in their bedroom, with the door closed, do you, or do you not know what is going on in there? For the most part you do. And if you disagree I will call you out on it myself.
I guess what always bothered me the most is how blind society is. How the system failed children then and still does today. And how the hell a judge could remove me from the house of perverted sickness and keep my three siblings in it. Later in life, when I worked as a psychiatric technician and young kids who were victims of this sick act would be admitted, I would have a hard time with it. Especially when they were sent back home, to the same sick bastard that put them in a psychiatric unit. It made me furious to know that not much had changed and it was thirty plus years later.
The guilt I felt and was made to feel ruined my soul. My perception of others was wrong many times. My self confidence depended on what I could do for others and how happy I could make others feel. The thought of self happiness never crossed my mind until later in life. I really tried to live life right but felt I was constantly judged. I never fit in. I made great friends who would include me in their holidays. But I was still alone. A unexplainable kind of loneliness.
I always, always thought being heard would be healing. No one heard. No one that could make a difference would ever hear me. I even wrote to Oprah for pete sake! lol And then I realized that being heard wasn’t it. And that making a difference would be up to me. I learned forgiveness was necessary but forgetting was impossible. You have to look at the things that happened but it is not necessary to speak of them. And by what I mean of speaking is that it is impossible for me to sit and tell someone the details of what happened. Four kids could not tell each other what was going on back then, but we knew by the pain in our faces. We knew, and I wish we would have run away. Called our dad to come and get us. But the fear of our mother was sometimes worse than the fear of the pervert.
Do I miss my mom? Yes. I will always long for the love of my mom but I don’t believe she can respect the boundries that have been set. Boundries that were set so we could move forward and try to live healthy lives. So that we could stop surviving and start living. The sickness of this world will never leave. It is up to us to decide what we can and can not tolerate to be healthy adults and to raise our children to be respectable people. All four of us kids have succeeded in being great parents and good people ourselves. We do not however deserve to hear that we are misunderstood. We get up each day, put one foot in front of the other and live just like the next guy. We all have a strong faith in God. We have become over achievers and have been our own worst enemy. But I can tell you this, we love others for who they are. We continue to feel like the lost four souls as far as family comes. We no longer really know our maternal side, and they have never really reached out to help us. Our paternal side on the other hand has been remarkable, loving, accepting and I for one love every minute I can spend with them. My dad is my everything. He may not have been able to be there then, but he is here now and I love him. He too was a victim of this craziness.
But most of all, I love my brother and sisters. We have a relationship with each other that at times is invisible. We may not always see each other but know that we love each other. We always have laughter and silliness when we are together. As our own children grow and become adults and as we have become grandparents we just gleam with pride. It was up to each one of us to make it and we did!
Listen with your heart and your eyes. Everyone has a story you may not always hear…