When Life Gives You Strength

When I received this submission, I sat at my desk crying. It is hard to fathom a 5 year old child enduring what this brave woman did as a child. We need to remember you just never know what is going on behind a child's front door. And for those living this nightmare in the present, there is always a way out, there is help. I hope this brave woman's story inspires others to either seek help or gives someone the strength to leave a dangerous situation. 




First, let me say my life hasn't been all that terrible. The start wasn't so hot, and I suppose it was the beginning that really molded me into who I am.

My parents married really young. My Mom, just 2 months past her 16th birthday and my Dad a very immature 19. It was more of an escape for my mother, who lived a life of poverty and dysfunction....my father was her ticket out. Despite her warnings, she married him anyways, and he was a raging alcoholic at the age of 18. By the time I came along, roughly 4 years into their marriage, my Mom had been battered more times than she could count. But with a newborn, she felt she couldn't leave.

My arrival didn't change my father's bad habits, only worsened them....my mother was so good at hiding things. No one knew. She was alone most of the time, without a vehicle to escape.

We were prisoners in our own home.

I remember some of those fights vividly; plates and bowls shattering against the paneling; my mom being suspended above the ground by my father's hands. My mom tried her best to protect me. She bore the brunt of the blows unfortunately.

We planned escape routes when he wasn't there. She made them like games, crayons and construction paper scattered; maps drawn on them.

I was to go get help if my mom couldn't talk; run out my bedroom door leading outside and about 1/4 down the gravel road to my grandparent's house. We never expected to use it, but we did.

It was so hot that night. The wind was blowing, maybe because of a distant storm, I'm not certain about that. There was screaming and things being thrown, my mom included. This time, I saw the shiny metal of the pistol pressed into my mom's head. I ran to help her, but was swatted backwards. I covered myself with my favorite blanket in the corner of the living room and begged for it to all just stop. Eventually, I got the nerve. I hit the screen door at a dead run, but it was so dark, and I was only 5. I was so frightened to go out in the night by myself, so I hid in our only car. It seemed like forever and I was sure my mom was dead. Suddenly, the car door jerked open and my mother bloody and bruised jumped in. She put the car in reverse while my dad chased after us. We went to my grandparents just down the road. That's when they found out about the Hell my mother endured for 11 years at the hands of their son. I clung to my mother's leg, bawling and shaking.

My life didn't start out so great, as a matter of fact, I think of those moments more than any other. Things got a lot better for my mom and me. She remarried a wonderful man, he was a great father to me, even though he didn't have to be. He passed away 6 years ago. Losing your dad is devastating. I always felt like the one who brought me into the world gave me up, and the one who chose me left the world. I've been fatherless two times in my life, the first 7 years before my Pops chose my mom and me and the past 6 since he passed. I have plenty to be thankful for, some days I can't see it though. Seems I've been programmed by my early childhood.

Submitted By: RHS

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