Where do you begin the story of a life? At birth, at first memory… maybe a defining moment? I can never decide. Sometimes I am not even sure where my life truly began. I never had the idyllic childhood that I have led some to believe. Some of my earliest memories are of laying in the bed at night listening to screaming arguments and abuse in the next room. The smell of alcohol with a bedtime kiss, crawling through the bathroom window into the arms of my older brother to “go get ice cream” at the neighbor’s house, flashing blues lights in the driveway. It was all I knew, it was normal. I am not saying it was all bad, I remember crawling up in my Daddy’s lap in the before the sun ever broke the horizon. Him sitting at the kitchen table, preparing himself for his day ahead. A cup of coffee in his hand and his youngest child on his knee. Talking to me, telling of his dreams for me. Car trips, singing to the top of our lungs with my Momma. Then one day it all turned upside down, the world stopped turning and even the simple things like dinner on the table at night, a bed to call my own, a roof over my head …. They all stopped.
I heard my name over the intercom that day, I was going home for the day. As excited as I was to be getting out of school early, it left me confused as I gathered my things to leave. I couldn’t think of a single reason my mom would come get me early. She did show up randomly at times. Pick me up for a shopping trip or the day we had cable installed for the first time and they told her there was a channel dedicated to cartoons or to have lunch together. But today as I pulled the door open to the front office it was my sister that sat in the chair waiting on me. She didn’t say anything as we walked back out to the parking lot. Even with the excited chattering of an 11 year old bouncing along beside her she was silent which silenced and concerned me. I climbed in the truck beside my sister in law and as she pulled out onto the road my sister simply said “Daddy’s dead” and with those two words the earth stopped turning and a light went out somewhere. I now know that the childhood I had was dysfunctional but it was mine, it was all I knew. My father had a temper, a drinking problem and was unfaithful in his marriage but he was mine and he was all I knew. I was the youngest and thought that he hung the moon. I was taught early to overlook the screaming and harsh words. I was taught it was an acceptable expression of anger. He never laid a hand on me, but violence was very much a part of our family life. I do not know why I was not the target of his rage and pain. I was a witness to many nights in our broken world, behind the closed doors of the American dream family we were when we were not at home, that left the child that lives inside of me scared of raised voices and anger. I was taught that anger equals pain. Then the next day apologies were made and promises that would be broken were spoken. So I was taught that pain equals love. All this things witnessed at home left me thinking this was how marriage…life was done. But even knowing that the constant chaos of life at home was now changing it was a loss that ripped my heart out and it was just the beginning. Just the start of a series of events in this life that has left me living broken.
Since that time in my life I have learned of generational curses and how behaviors like this can and will usually be passed from one generation to the next. I always thought I was okay, that I had survived and that meant I had healed and convinced myself that the damage never existed. They say hindsight is 20/20 and looking back I see how the damage that started so long ago become the very broken foundation I built my life on. It was like building a house on shifting sands. Only recently did I surrender all to God and finally lay it all at his feet and admit defeat in being able to or even know how to heal.
To be continued…..