A Bitter Sweet Reminder.

I have just arrived home. I feel compelled to tell you that I saw a man today. A man standing in my father’s house. My old prison. A man standing by the kitchen window. He was dark, like me. My father’s house was lit up. Not grey and hidden as it has been for the last eighteen months since his death. I was shocked to say the least, haunted even. I have a bad habit of peeking into the old place. Curiosity gets the better of me and I can’t help but look back. Perhaps if I wasn’t living in the same area as my abuser, I would not even think about our home.

As I’ve mentioned before, I pass my abuser’s home every day to and from work. It’s highly depressing and unfortunately unavoidable. However, this unexpectedly ghostly figure could be the answer to my prayers. The house has clearly been sold and the time has finally come to move on. I can look at this as a positive step forward out of the darkness.

It has felt like an age, and although it is disturbing to witness someone else in my last home, it is also a relief. I hope their lives are more enjoyable in it than mine was. That house holds so many awful memories in it for me; for my mother. I want one day to never see it again. It belongs in my past.

Seeing a man by the window was upsetting. His build was not that dissimilar from my father’s. It was only for a few seconds but it was long enough for me to feel queasy.

Thankfully, I did not get too upset. As I got off the tube and made my way onto the bus home, I felt nothing. There is no more room for tears, I have no emotion left for him or that house. The windows had steamed up from the heated bus and the heavy rain. I could not see a thing. I leant over to the clouded pane and drew the only thing that could put a smile on my face.

2013: A review January – March.

Ten more days to go until the first day of 2014. Once again, another year of my life has flown by and I am looking back on quite a year. This time however, I get to look back and share it with a new group of people: my WordPress followers, readers and fellow bloggers. What a year it has been. Lets look back together.

JANUARY

On the 6th of January, I decided to begin a blog on WordPress. It was a dangerous and risky decision. It would expose a life I had hidden from many people for over fifteen years. It would reveal truths some people would rather not know. It would portray a man (who many trusted) to be an evil, ruthless, callous and hurtful father who destroyed his daughter’s soul. It would be my story, a story that provoked people I had not seen for years. People who felt it was necessary to “warn” me and give their advice. They made it clear that I should keep my personal life “private” and that I might “hurt people”. I made it clear back that I had not set out to hurt anyone. It was much more than that. It was closure. It was freedom. It was truth. It would be a chance to speak and finally be heard. It would be the best decision I had ever made (bar leaving him of course).

FEBRUARY

On the 4th of February I celebrated five years together with David. We set our anniversary from our first kiss. It was a moment that changed my life. Gone were the men who used me and took advantage of my loyal nature. A new man had walked into my life. Little did I know that day he would make me as happy as he does now.

During this month, I received an abundance of support from old school friends and past colleagues about the blog over Facebook. I was taken aback from their kind words and blown away by their words of encouragement. It meant so much to know that there was no judgement, that people could see into my past and believe it, acknowledge it and most of all – accept it.

MARCH

I celebrated my 31st birthday on the 2nd. David took me to a South African restaurant in Central London for dinner. It was decadent and adventurous. I felt a little out of my comfort zone but enjoyed it nonetheless. Unfortunately, the food didn’t sit well within me and after a day I began to have horrific stomach pains. Within moments I was nauseous and lying over the bathroom toilet. I thought I had food poisoning but it was a severe case of gastric flu. The week after my birthday was spent at home ill. To top it off, my virus passed onto David who joined me for most of the week holed up in bed. Well Happy Birthday to me!

On WordPress I recounted the triggers that remind me of my father and his abuse. Fruit, movies, plastic knives and forks, making beds and self-help books were the entries I made in March, they continued into April with Furniture stores and Toothpicks and table manners. These triggers still happen. If I see certain objects or hear a particular piece of music, if I visit a particular place or even hear a phrase he might have said; it propels me back to a specific time where life was frightening and upsetting every day. I become emotional very quickly and find it difficult to calm down. A panic attack can be the worst reaction to one of my triggers.

March was the month where a colleague questioned my “motives” for writing this blog. She accused me of taking “revenge” on my dead father. That it was unkind and unfair to do so. It surprised me that she could not empathise with my situation nor could she understand my reasons for revealing my truths. I was annoyed by it. I did not feel I should have to justify my choices and actions to her. She did not know my father. She had not met him. She only had her morals and principles and values to go on. I have morals. I have principles and values too. That is an important part of why I decided to do this, because of my values and principles. I would not be following them if I hid away and “forgave” him for all the hurt and pain he caused.

Dead or not, the truth will always shine through.

Friday 4th February 2005.

Since my father died, I have an abundance of old notes made about his incessant nitpicking and abuse. On February the 4th 2005, my father picked an argument with me over the smallest thing. The note highlights how trapped I was in his company, the fear that encroached me and the endless demands he made.

It reads,

He has guests coming in the evening. His routine of obsessive cleaning is taking place. I’ve locked myself in my bedroom. I’m too scared to come out and be forced to be a part of his army drills. I can hear him coughing loudly downstairs. What’s wrong? Something’s wrong.

(Written later)

I went downstairs, he called me there. He was waiting. There was a mark on the floor. My make up. He found it while he was hoovering. He saw it a while ago but it’s not his job to clean it. It’s mine. He needs to prove a point. I made the mess. That one little mark on the floor. A quick wipe is all it needs but I have to do it. Me. He told me to mop it up today before his friends come. I’m fed up. I want to retreat back to safer ground – my bedroom. I went upstairs mumbling something under my breath. He heard.

“What??” he shouted.

“Nothing” I replied.

He bounded up the stairs behind me. I quickened my pace.

“WHAT DID YOU SAY?”

I shut my bedroom door. I was safe again, “Nothing!” I shouted back.

“If you are nasty then I will be nasty. If you are good then I will be good”.

I’m 23 in under a month. What kind of a father days that? He has never treated me like a daughter, never. He never lets me feel anything, I’m not allowed emotion. I have to be a robot at all times. I cannot cry, that’s wrong. I cannot get angry, that’s wrong too. I can’t even act like a child sometimes. I’m not allowed ‘bad moments’. I have to be perfect. I have no free will. He keeps using money as a threat. If he ever gives me anything he has accounts for how much, when and where. I can’t breathe! Let me breathe.

This was how my father behaved nine years ago. Yet right up until his death he never changed. He had the same attitude towards me till the very end. He held all the power. Not any more.

You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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.