Thursday, October 17, 2013

Things Change

By the time cheerleading practice was over, I rode the sports bus and walked the rest of the way home after my drop-off  it was dark.  The house was empty.  Usually my father was home, sulking, simmering  I never knew if he would stay silent or if he would explode.  I used my key, crept into the darkened house and turned on every light  even though I risked his wrath at "wasting electricity" because I always felt scared to be in the house alone.

In the kitchen, I opened the frig to see what we could have for dinner, and there on the kitchen table was a small tape recorder and a yellow legal pad the long lines filled with my father's almost-illegible scribble.  Though it was addressed to my mother, I read through the first few sentences before I heard the door open, looked up and saw my mother, worn and tiredcome into the room.

"Where's Daddy?" she asked.

"He's gone," I said in a small, unemotional voice.  I looked at her carefully to see if she would react, understand what it all meant.  "I think he left a tape for you," I added, pointing to the small machine plugged in to the wall socket.

Without a word, my mother  still in her coat  sat down in one of the heavy, clunky, dark wooden Captain's chairs that crowded around the small round kitchen table. 

"How does this thing work?"

I hit the button to play and out came my father's voice  issuing instructions and commands about where to find this, what to expect or how and when to do that.  It went on and on but the only thing that registered in my ears was his last line:

"You're all better off without me."

My mother shrugged off her coat, read through what he'd written out in his awful scrawl, put down the pad, let out a sigh, went over to the telephone and called my sister  crying.  

I felt bad for my mother and as I tried to quiet the roar of thoughts exploding in my brain  in the pit of my stomach I knew she blamed me.  I heard the muffled sounds of my mother crying and talking in the background  but in my head, all I clearly heard was his voice saying  "You're all better off without me."

It may have been the first time I agreed with anything my father said. 


  1. This makes me realize how different lives we were living in high school. You were popular, a cheerleader and it would appear your life was going well. I am so sorry to read this knowing how hard life must have been for you in your personal family life during high school years. Did your father ever return to the home? I know by other blogs I have read that your relationship with him was strained and hurtful. I also know by your writings that you have been blessed with a good husband that I can only imagine has been a good father to your now grown children. I am glad to know that and hope you can make peace with what was lacking in your father. I once heard that forgiveness is a decision but acceptance is a process in the journey of life. I have had "practice" in this process in my own story of single parenthood. Life will bring heart hurts to us all by the time we have lived a majority of our days. May we all have the strength, wisdom and faith to handle it with grace. A song lyrics that I love says...".what is so amazing about 'Amazing Grace' is the chance to give it out....maybe that is what life is all about."

  2. dearest "gee gee,"
    thank you for reaching out and extending kind thoughts. part of the issue for me was having to hide it all. it seemed so dishonest. i loved what you shared..."forgiveness is a decision but acceptance is a process in the journey of life" that piece of advice will be very haelpful to me, thank you so much for that. also, you are right that I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and children and i am trying to get past my past. let's hope i can do so with strength, wisdom, faith AND grace. appreciate your comment very much...