My Abuser Has Died.
Burning it all down.
My abuser has died.
It has been a little over 24 hours since I was given the news that my biological father has died. The cycle of emotional content that I have been processing through has been difficult and freeing at the same time. The worst part is attempting to understand his will and last wishes, along with the manor of his death. I also don’t understand why people choose to to throw a life of value into possessions. There is no taking any of it with you. Why not leave kindness behind instead?
No one around him even knew he had children. His lawyer was in absolute shock to hear the voices of us. For over nine years of friendship with his lawyer , my father created, yet again, a shroud of lies and deceit to encapsulate the life he wanted people to believe he lived. He took it as far as to leave all of his holdings to his Catholic Church he attended near his homestead, that had his name in the title. All of his personal effects were viewable on a website up for auction. The contents of a man’s life that abused a whole family, but made it all go away with distance.
There’s so much to say right now about what he did to me, alone. What I witnessed him do to others. How, in this moment, I feel like the keeper of the truth, a giant flaming sword that I want to strike down upon the shield of lies he protected himself with. Most of all, how could he walk around with the full knowledge he had multiple children—-and denied any of us existed?
I was the first child. I hold a significant amount of responsibility for interrupting both my parents life. I constantly want and wanted to take away their pain by whatever means I had as a child. All I know is how bad I was and he beat me senseless for it and another sibling. He took things so far, as to find a replacement family and toss us to the side. The memories of a twelve year old child are a funny thing. What sticks—- what memories feel like favorite smells that turn putrid and I cant bear to be near—- kind of like how Khaluha became in my 20’s. I can’t bear to see a White Russian, let alone smell it without gagging. This goes along with the memory of any touch to my body from a man that might resemble my father or the creepy basement “Uncle” that gave coins for silence after a molestation.
This is how I wield my flaming sword. I choose to be the holder of truth. But, I’m ready to let it go now and end the heaviness of what it’s like to hold that sword. I don’t want it anymore. It can rust in a river.
Multiple times, I have disturbed his life. Multiple times—- I have entered the lair of the squirming toad ridden by demons—- to see eyes of black. To try to place love around him through my stories, and laughter—- to only have him negate all of it. To realize that no matter what I did, my sneaking to send him his photos from his tour in Vietnam with the Army was not enough of an act of defiance to him to show I was on his side. I feel absolutely foolish for having hope that I would receive any type of real love from him. I tried to take in the belief that every bruise he left, every beating I received, helped him feel better afterwards by freeing him somehow. Then, how the beatings would be intermingled with me using my hand to bring him sexual relief. I knew that he would slip her something to make her sleep. I knew when that happened and a bedroom door would distinctively creak open, I needed to turn my back to him quickly because he would stand in my doorway touching himself in the dark. I could only hear the madness of skin on skin shuffling. The touching of my long hair and it being arranged on the pillow next to me just how he liked it—- and his long legs bending just so to achieve his orgasm. Then, after the muffled biting of his bottom lip, the carpet, softly allowed his feet to travel back to their bedroom and he would drift off to sleep, while I laid there under my pink gingham canopy bed, paralyzed with fear. Not to move for what felt like hours with my eyes open, searching the dark feverishly for the “Why?” Monster. I would pee my bed that night and other nights to come. I didn’t know how to make myself small enough to go unnoticed, in so many ways—- I did just the opposite and became large and extremely noticeable.
I would reach out to him, despite the gratification he received from beatings and getting himself off, to still ask for his hand in love some how. All of this becomes so similar to how men would respond to me as I entered my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. How I was a play thing in the dark. How in a public setting, these men that I allowed to touch me, bring themselves pleasure, wouldn’t and couldn’t DARE to acknowledge with pride in the light, that we had been intimate. Forever, Daddy’s little shameful secret in the dark. I put the makeup on for these men. I curled my hair and attempted to be attractive to earn their attention—- hoping I could get them to stay somehow. That I would be enough. But, I couldn’t be that to my own father, let alone try to masterfully arrange puzzle pieces to fit together for absolute strangers. I couldn’t find the right fit—- continually stuck figuring out a puzzle that had no completion—- there was no “real fit” no perfect desirable woman I could be to make any of them stay. No right amount of hyper-sexualisim I could put forth to make them stay and be enough. No amount of sex toy kink. No amount of intellectual kink. No amount of book porn. No record collection. No right way to cook their food—- they left. Only filling me with hope, like my father, that one day there would be a healthy relationship rewarded. In the last 48 hours—- all these delusions are falling away.
Some sort of comfort falls over me from knowing he died alone—- that his mail piled up outside his door, leaving a mailman to alert the police to make a welfare check, only to discover he had been dead for days. That I was not needed to bring him any peace. That his will was an attempt to buy his ticket to Heaven by leaving everything to the Catholic Church he attended that shared his own name—- maybe, giving him a feeling of sainthood. But there is also this side of him I knew in conversation of pure greed, where I could hear his deep voice say, “…they’re not getting nothing. Fuck them. Let the church have it.” As he jizzed out a completed will.
He is stuck in that house. He will never leave that house. He doesn’t get to ascend because of the putrid things he did while he was alive.
I looked at the catalog of his personal effects that now only I knew the history of like a museum curator. I thought about stopping the auction and taking a giant u-haul to preserve what was left behind and with love, compassion and happiness, incorporate his belongings into my life. Being a dutiful daughter and protecting what was left behind from his life, his 2nd marriage, his Mother who also had no further contact with me. To have in my hands her silver mesh bag that held the crucifix she taught me my prayers on. To hold these cherished items in my hands once more, smooth my hand over an oak dresser that had been in the family for generations and continue it into mine. But I decided not to challenge the will. To instead, let it go as he wrote it to be. To not bid on any of the items. To not give him anymore than what innocence he stole from me, that can never be given back. I have removed any sense of hope that better memories can be made by powder sugaring over a stale cake donut making it remotely appetizing, somehow.
Without his help, I turned out to be who I am. At one point while writing all of this, I wished I could take some sort of sharp object and cut away any physical resemblance to him off of me. I used to want to do the same about anything that made me look like a woman. My hair—- mostly took the brunt of it. I would chop it all off, razor it, shave it—- remove one asset of being female. I would wear men’s clothing to not draw attention, but my body said otherwise. My body grew to strange desirable proportions that no amount of clothing could camouflage. Anywhere I go, I stick out like birthday cake. That once a year, craved fluffy icing and soft, sponged cake to celebrate coming into this world and surviving another year. Tasty and expected. Familiar. Comfortable. Surprising. Sweet. Shareable. Inevitable. Then, tossed and embarrassing. Filling. Regrettable. Distanced. Smashed down into a trash bag. Put on the corner. Hauled away to be someone else’s problem.
Is that what I was to him?
The echoing shock, the reverb from his lawyer coming to understand he had children was even unsettling to him how he could deny and continually evade knowing he had kids. He didn’t want anything to do with and even hurt them further after his death.
The only thought that brings me comfort is he never gets to move on from that house he died in. He can’t bring any of the possessions he hoarded with him and none of them will come into my home. That I chose not to fight his will and I will give him nothing further. I will not forgive him or absolve him of what he did to me. He doesn’t get that from me. That’s mine. I will try to walk on from here. In physical form, he cannot ever touch me or hurt me ever again.
I have begun to sort and rearrange my memories, knowing the truth of matters with him. I see him as he was and his mother, the day an eleven year old me and a seven year old brother left with garbage bags of belongings after Christmas, to go off to live with our Mother. How he took back gifts to keep for himself and give to another family he started. How, as the garage door of the Timberbrook house shut, as his mother, my Grandma, a Christian, a woman of the church, dusted her hands and told us, “Don’t ever come back and good riddance.” As her last words to children that she used to extract information about my parent’s marriage from and inner workings—- while bribing me in particular with cookies and shrouding it all in prayer and perfume. “Enjoy being poor!” The garage finally comes to a close on the smooth garage cement, never to be opened again to me. Paper bags of clothing he wouldn’t let me take, left on the floor along with items he stole from other people I tried to take and give back. You really can’t take any of this with you. Their actions make me feel better in this moment that I was unable to continue their blood line with any children. Thank God.
I hope he had some tickle of happiness knowing he denied, dismissed, and made his own children disappear. His Mother too. I’m glad they both, in the end, never saw me again—- and didn’t get any comfort knowing how I turned out.
As days pass and pile up, giving further distance to what has transpired with learning of his death almost a month later, I hope I can sort out a different kind of peace from all of it. One that didn’t just rest on hopes of better memories to come with him involved. That I can be given a freedom to have talked about what happened and let it go—- to heal from it, knowing exactly who he was to his very end.
I just want to change and pivot away from all of this now. To form the rest of my life with the continued goodness and spirit of someone who didn’t let evil win this time. That there is no monster at the end of the book—- just me.
I’m gonna be okay.