To My Father’s Church.

To the Church where my father worked,

You held him in such high regard, the man who ruined my life. He became a martyr to you when he died. This archetype of a human being. A Christian man with Christian ethics. The words the pastor uttered at his funeral haunt me to this day. His description of him fell short of the image and character I endured for over fifteen years. 

What a shrewd man to deceive you all.

At his funeral, after his cremation, you approached me. You, the pastor, offered your sincere condolences for my tragic loss. You had been there. You had seen my father in action. He had told you the lies he created about me and you believed them. He asked you to pray for me so that I would not be condemned to hell but prayer was not enough. He would have exorcised me if he could. To him, I was possessed, inhuman, a savage. He could not tame me. I was too wild and broke too many rules. This was a lie. I only ever tried to comply. I just could not meet his endless demands and regulations. 

You humiliated me. I did not need your prayers. I was not a bad person.

As you all wept at sight of his coffin I wept too. I wept out of happiness; out of relief. I sat, staring directly down the aisle at his coffin. I resisted the temptation to kick it over. Nothing would have pleased me more to see it lying, broken, ruined. Just as he left me.

My sister became a beacon of hope, of love and loyalty to you. She honored my father well. He did not deserve honor. He didn’t deserve the audience you all gave him at his final goodbye. He didn’t deserve the tears or the laughs, the empathy or the memories. That room should have been empty. 

My father abused me. Mentally and emotionally, for thirty years of my life. He was the epitome of a bad man.

You were naive to believe his other representation.

You were naive to think he was true to his word.

You were naive to believe he cared about people, that he cared about all of you.

He didn’t.

Believe me.

 

The last Goodbye.

My husband and I made our way to the crematorium in the car my father had paid for with my sister and her husband. It was sweltering and in the back seat I began to feel very ill. I hated travelling in cars as it was; it did not help that I was in one with two people who clearly hated me. It was totally silent for the thirty minute journey.

When we all arrived at the crematorium, my first instinct was to look for my mother. She and her friends had travelled up separately but as we walked to the entrance, I could not see her. The entrance was already lined with half the congregation. His old school friends had flocked to my sister’s side as she left the car and ushered her inside. I was totally ignored and followed behind them. I was almost enjoying being the figure of anger and darkness they had created me to be. I had barely spoken in the time I had been at the service, it was interesting how they had developed their judgement of me so quickly. Perhaps, others had been involved in reaching this verdict.

Once inside the crematorium we were led to the front pews. It was unavoidable this time as much as I would’ve preferred sitting at the back. As I looked over to my left I noticed his coffin on a raised platform waiting to be lowered as we said our final goodbyes. Another shorter service took place, again with hymns and prayers in my abuser’s honour. I never sang nor bowed my head. I did not want to pay my respects. I only wanted to witness the atrocity that was his funeral and see his unholy and evil presence disappear.

As the coffin lowered after the final coffin, a tear ran down my cheek.

“Rot in hell” I whispered to myself.

Rot in hell.

After the service had ended everyone left to the gardens to stand by his poor showing of flowers. My father’s pastor approached me as I lingered behind the congregation with my mother and her friends. He passed on his condolences and very quickly I responded by telling him not to.

This was the time to do it. He needed to know.

“This funeral has been an entire farce. None of you know what kind of man my father really was. He was an evil man. You all one day will know the truth, I promise you.”

The pastor just looked at me. I could see he was shocked. After all, I was the abuser’s daughter, I should have been in floods of tears when instead I was describing to him how relieved I was that he was finally gone.

I don’t regret what I told him. My father was an abusive, deceitful and controlling man. Everyone must now know the truth.

I decided there was no point in putting myself any further through the ordeal and chose to leave with my mother and her friends. I told my sister I was going as the rest of his friends looked on. I wanted them to see my disloyalty, my hatred, my hurt.

Goodbye Daddy.

R.I.P (Rot in Persecution).

5th September 2012 – The funeral Part 1.

I have to blog about this nightmare of a day in two parts as there is just so much to tell you all.

Below is an extract detailing the sequence of events that I endured that day, taken from my autobiography. The beginning of the extract explains the lead up to the day, part of which I have mentioned in an earlier post about the phone call with my sister but as it is part of the chapter and important to the story, I will keep it in.

Part 2 will follow on Saturday.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN – THE NEXT CHAPTER

 

My father’s funeral took place on September 5th 2012 in East London. It was based at his church and fully organised by my sister. I was sent an email confirming the date and time.

On the only phone call after my father’s death, my sister rang to talk about the arrangements. I wasn’t really a part of it but to keep up appearances, she called anyway. It was an awkward conversation, the first without my father present. It was like speaking with a stranger, with someone who knew nothing about the history with Him. Yet, she was well aware of everything. She was just choosing to make every excuse in the book to defend him. She talked consistently about the funeral. I remained silent. What was there to say? I felt I could not speak my mind. That was until she began talking about songs and flowers.

She mentioned that a song, my father’s favourite song, would be played as his coffin entered the church.

That song was, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

When I think about the lyrics,

I see trees green, red roses too. I watch them bloom, for me and you and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

These are not the lyrics that remind me of my father. They only make sense to me in reference to him being gone and me being free. I’m pretty certain my sister was implying the opposite.

It was also a lie.

What a Wonderful World was actually my mother’s favourite song. Somewhere along the line, my sister’s lines had become blurred. My father never really cared for music.

In regards to the flowers, my sister casually asked me how much I would be willing to pay for my half of them. She listed the types of flowers and what would be suitable to surround the coffin. That was as much as I heard before I couldn’t contain it any longer. The tears I had held back for years, the trauma and the stress all exploded and in one breath I made it very clear I would not be contributing in any way. Everything poured out. I couldn’t hide it anymore, she needed to know.

Through endless streams of tears, I mustered the strength to reveal as much as I could. She listened, at best, she was silent. I could never tell the difference. I told her about the last time I had been with my father – the afternoon in the car in July. I opened up about the way he behaved and the fear I felt. Expecting my older sister to understand, I was shocked by her response.

“He was very ill by then,” she said as she began pleading his case, “he was probably tired; he couldn’t help it”.

She wasn’t even there and she silenced me.

Why did I think my father’s greatest supporter would back me?

I left the conversation immediately.

 

5th September 2012

I had been dreading this day for the previous two weeks. It had finally arrived and I had to gather any courage I had left to face it. My friend Natasha offered to come for the service. I accepted her offer, she and David were my protective barrier that day against the people who just couldn’t understand.

His funeral service was held in his church in East London.

As the burning sun beat down on me, I wiped the nervous droplets from my brow and entered the church. My sister and her husband were stood in the corridor greeting everyone. I hugged her, reaching out for some kind of emotion but I received nothing so I continued my way through to the church hall where the funeral was taking place. My brother-in-law did not acknowledge my presence.

I looked around the barely decorated room. It was filled with people, friends of my father’s, family and neighbours. Everyone was smartly dressed, paying their respects. I was wearing loose black trousers and a bright green peplum top. I needed to wear something bright. I needed to show them I was not mourning. Green was the colour that calmed me; it was the obvious colour to wear. My eyes immediately met with my mothers’. I headed straight to her. A man appeared by me as I struggled to keep my emotions together. He gestured for me, as my father’s daughter, to sit at the front. My breathing quickened as I placed my hand tightly on my mother. I could only muster one “No”. The man didn’t understand my refusal. I looked at my mother. She understood. She knew I was not going to pretend nor be part of the farce I was about to face. She told me to sit where ever I wanted. That turned out to be the front of the back section of chairs left out for late arrivals behind the congregation. I positioned myself directly ahead of the aisle.

My mother turned back to see if I was okay. I smiled. I was glad she had come especially with the support of her close friends. It was important for her to witness it.

My sister entered with her husband and a band of people followed her. She was being comforted by his friends. I watched as she made her way to the front row. She hugged one of his pastors, a man who thought very highly of my father.

Music began. Thankfully, it was not What a Wonderful World. Heads turned as his expensive, wooden coffin was carried in. It was placed on a stand directly ahead of me. I stared at it; I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

I was determined to get through the charade. I had brought a notebook with me. I focussed on putting all the feelings I was going through into it and wrote down a detailed account of the following two hours. Writing was the one thing that kept me going through that horrible, deceitful service.

29th August 2012 – A long two weeks.

Between the day after he died to the day of the actual funeral, was a very long two weeks; almost endless. I was on my school holidays still and aching to get back to work (that’s pretty unheard of!) but staying at home and dealing with the aftermath of his death was getting too much.

My sister, as executor, was in charge of organizing the funeral. She rarely spoke to me in this process often using her husband to deal with me via text message. It was completely inappropriate and inconsiderate. She was well aware that my relationship with my brother in-law was non-existent yet she could not face me. She had no reason to be so distant instead it would’ve made more sense for me to want to keep away from her. However, I wasn’t in need of attention or a spotlight. I didn’t get a kick out of making things difficult.

The only contact we had was one phone call.  This was where she talked in detail about the lead up to the funeral. She was very well spoken almost putting on a fancy accent. It was another way of raising herself above me and appearing to be ‘together’. Clearly, the pressures that had been put on her were getting too much. As much as she held the pretense of being cool it was backfiring. I could hear the tension in her voice.

She talked about the funeral programme, the order of service and the people invited. She asked me if I wanted to say a few words about him at the funeral.

I paused. For a split second it occurred to me that this was my chance to reveal it to all of them, all of his worshipers, that he was an abuser, a tormentor and the man who ruined my life. It would be sweet revenge and satisfaction and my sister would never see it coming. She genuinely and naively believed that I wanted to praise my deceased father.

I refused her offer.

It wasn’t the right way to do it and I could not risk letting emotion get the better of me. When I eventually told my story and the truth about this horrible man, it would be on my terms and to the whole world not just the confines of his church.

My sister also had the audacity to ask me to contribute to the payment of the flowers for the funeral. I was shocked that she was able to justify spending one hundred pounds on the fact that simply, he was our father. I did not want to spend money on a man who monitored the flow of mine for years. I would’ve happily scattered some dead wood and rotting flowers around him if I could. She knew about the abuse and how he tortured me mentally but last summer she chose to forget it all. He had become a martyr, an idol and in her eyes he ‘saved’ her.

He never saved me.

I saved me.