I was 4 years old and had just awakened from my nap. Mommy gave me some grape juice and I went to rub my eyes and somehow I spilled the grape juice! I saw her change from “mommy” to crazed person angered and to be feared! She was spewing swear words of which I had no idea as to their meaning. She was mad at me for spilling the purple juice on her newly waxed floors. She was furiously cleaning it up off of the kitchen floor. She was yelling at me, calling me names and then I start to cry. I had no idea what I had done that was horrible? I must be horribly bad? I’m “clumsy” she says. I’m a “bad girl” she yells! She tells me to “get out of her sight”. I cry some more and rub my eyes. I knew somehow that wasn’t the end of it, but I get out of her way just the same. Later, after dad came home we were having dinner soon but as she told him about it and how the purple “stains”; I geared up for the ramifications of my 4 year old’s “clumsiness”. Dad was going to spank me hours after the incident. I waited and wondered how bad it was going to be….big brother told me to come over to him and he put a “Golden book” into my Pajama pants! (It was his way of trying to “protect me” from the spanking)…Luckily…that time, my father found it humorous and I got away without too much more than my mother’s wrath, words and put downs!
….A lot happened between the ages of 4 and 12 1/2 years; in fact I have written a book with over 300 pages and it has so many incidences, one wouldn’t believe that so much could happen to one little girl! Well, I suppose you could imagine it because there are always people who have it worse and always people who have it better.
One day in February of my 8th grade year in school, I came home and wanted to go ice skating with my friends. I had it all figured out! My friends and I had a ride and I had saved some babysitting money and I didn’t have any homework. Also, I was a straight “A” student, so why shouldn’t they allow me to go, right? WRONG!!! I asked my mother and she said “NO”! I told her as a sassy 13-year-old, “well I’ll call dad at work and ask HIM if I can go ice skating with my friends!!??” She grabbed the phone out of my hands and started whacking me with the big black old-fashioned wall phone handle! She pounded down on my left elbow and I felt a pain like never before….(except of course when I used to rock back and forth on my mother’s chair, holding my ear and crying….waiting….crying some more and waiting for my ear drum to burst! My parents didn’t want to take me to the Dr for all of those continuous ear infections. My mom told me “it will feel better when the pressure goes down after your eardrum ruptures”! Later on down the road, I got to go to the Ear Dr. and also got tubes in my ears several times)……so I felt this pain and my elbow swelled up to at least 3 times normal size. It hurt so bad and I was crying very hard. She started to chase me around the house. I ran to my bedroom, got onto the floor behind my bedroom door and tried to use my feet on the floor, knew up to my chest and pushed against the floor to keep the door shut, so my mother couldn’t get in! I had hoped it would work. But as she was running after me, punching my head and temples with her “knuckled” fists. She thought that it would “hurt more” if she punched with her knuckles rather than her closed fist; she was correct! In the midst of it all, in the background, I could hear my oldest brother’s voice telling me, yelling at me to “cover your temples! Cover your temples”. I knew I could die by blows to the temples on the sides of my head. She just continued to punch and scream and I couldn’t keep the door shut and she split my lip on the bottom; it started to bleed. I saw stars and got dizzy…was I going to die ? That day I truly thought I was going to die! My oldest brother finally went against our mother and he unlocked the front door. I ran outside when she wasn’t looking for a moment. I hurried across the street to a neighbor’s house. It was the home of a family that I babysat for . The mother let me inside and I called my father at work.
My dad came to get me. He left work and took me to the hospital. All the way to the hospital my father lectured me about how I had to “lie” to the Dr’s and nurses. I had to tell them “that I fell down the stairs”. He told me that if I told anyone the truth, my mom “would go to jail!! She’s “sick” and would die in jail ! It would be all my fault and I’d “be sorry.” He told me that I would get taken away from the only home and family that I had ever known. He said that I’d be split up from my two brothers and I’d be “living in a foster home where I would be abused and raped”! I had to “lie” to the Dr’s and nursed if they asked me anything because it could be much worse than it was already for me.
When at the hospital, I was so angry at my mother for hurting me so badly…again! I was finally someplace where I could possibly be vindicated….if I told on her, them. But where would I end up? Would it be worse? Could it be worse? Things weren’t that bad all of the time? I never had to worry about it because nobody ever asked me, the 12 1/2 year old girl …almost 13 years of age. They only spoke to my father and he signed all of the paperwork, on which he wrote that I “fell down the basement steps”. I never got to tell anyone and I never got to be vindicated! I got driven home after the Dr. showed us the X-rays with a line through my elbow. He said I had a “fractured left elbow”. They cannot put a cast on that. I got a sling and they told my dad to “keep ice on it and rest and lots of TLC”. On the way home he didn’t speak to me. He knew they never asked me anything because I wasn’t alone long enough to get any sentences out. He came in and stayed the whole time.
We arrived home and my dad says “go lie down on your brother’s bed and watch TV, I’ll get some ice and stay out of your mother’s way, she’s angry with you!” I went into the house and she had a nasty ice-cold look on her face. She said nothing….not one word to me…not even to ask what they said at the hospital. She never said she was sorry…..except….
When I was visiting my parent’s home with my two daughters who were about 7 and 9 1/2 years old, we were all sitting at their kitchen table. We’d not been getting along very well because my girls were getting older and they were noticing more and more, how I was being mistreated by my family….each and every one of them. My mother finally said “Oh don’t listen to your mom when she tells you that I “broke” her elbow! She was a sassy 13-year-old and she deserved it!” She told them how I always wanted her to say she “was sorry” and then she laughingly in a strangely, nasty kind of way, to make light of the whole thing…said “Awwww OK…I’m sorry”!! My girls loved their “Nuna” and they knew she could be strange regarding food and calories, weight and such things. They heard and saw her make fun of me, mistreat me and hurt my feelings ever since they could remember! The same with my brothers and my father! They all said and did whatever they felt like to me…to “Suzanne” or “Stup-zanne” and worse!
One other time we went to have Easter breakfast with my brothers and my parents. It was always at the time of their choosing and the place of their choice. It didn’t matter how far away I/we lived. It didn’t matter that I had children to get dressed and ready and open Easter baskets on Easter mornings. We had to meet at 9:00 a.m. and about 35 to 40 miles from where we lived. We always met at a low rate restaurant too! Well…this one Easter time, on the Monday afterwards, my kids went to Day care and I had to go to work. My parents never really watched the girls when I NEEDED them to do it; but when they wanted to do it, they just went over to Day care and picked them up. They’d get them about noon and then take them back after a few hours. Just enough time to make the girls cry when they had to go back and get them all upset. But I always thought that a little time out of day care was better than no time out of day care, especially during a long Spring Break vacation. When we got home all together that Monday evening, my girls were sad and quiet. I asked them “what was the matter”? They didn’t want to tell me but then I got it out of them. They told me: “Nuna and Papa said that you had no right to wear that outfit yesterday for Easter!” Then they teared up while telling me that it hurts them when my family says mean things about me and when they make fun of me. They said that my mother made fun of me all day long and was saying that I was “fat”. Honestly, I was only 135 lbs and 5 feet 5 inches tall!! I was not “FAT” ….I felt so sad for my babies that day…that is where they learned how to treat me…they watched their dad abuse me…they watched my family call me all different kinds of horrible names. They watched my family taunt me and abuse me…They grew up with that and with me still loving my parents and family…thinking that I was “fat, bad, stupid, ugly, dumb and wrong..”!!
My youngest didn’t see as much because she was younger and only 3 years old when her dad left with an 18-year-old girl. My oldest saw too much. I tried to be the best mom I could be. I protected them, loved them and took the best care of my girls that I knew how. No matter how much I protected them, it took me too long to figure out that it wasn’t me that was all of those bad things! I believed in my parents and my brothers. Do you know that they took a Polaroid photo of me feeling sad because my oldest brother backed out on taking me out dancing at 18 yrs old. He backed out last-minute for better plans with some friends that came through for him at the last-minute. My mother had my father take the picture and then when it came out of the camera, she took a permanent marker and wrote “FATSO” on it. Then my father put it up on the refrigerator! When my brothers came home, they laughed with my parents. They thought it was funny. I wanted to crawl in a hole! To this day, the last I saw of that photo, it was in an album in the closet of my dads house. It haunts me and taunts me every time I think about eating. Now days I can push that thought down…far down…and I’m OK with food now but it took me many years to have a more normal relationship with food. That’s a story for another day…..
But don’t be sad because I got to have 18 years with my oldest daughter and I still have my 24-year-old daughter in my life. They were my life and I see that I shouldn’t have made them so much my “life”. Because when they grow up and go away on their own and live their own lives, it’s very hard. Those were the most joyous, precious moments I can think about in my past. All I ever wanted was to have children and be a “Mommy”. I promised that I’d not hit them, call them names or treat them anything like the way I was treated. I did a great job of all of that. I was even commended in court documents for “not badmouthing the children’s father to them”. But I somehow still lost my oldest. She learned how to treat me waaaayyy too long ago and it’s embedded in her heart, I suppose. She is “friends” with all of my abusers, including her father, my father and my brothers. Their father who had to leave with an 18-year-old girl when he was thirty something….to “find himself”. He had to move back and forth 1,000 miles away and then back for a year and then 1,000 miles away and then back again. He wanted “revenge” because I had to testify against him in court when he hurt another girl besides me. I guess he got his revenge when I lost my/our daughter 8 years ago. He was found “Guilty”, but I had to pay the price and I was the one “punished”, or so it feels.
But don’t be sad…I know true love for the first time in my life, now. For the past 16 years I have been fully and truly loved. I was remarried on February 14, 1997, Valentines Day. I married my soul-mate, my deep and one true love. The man of my dreams!!! Then…on a hot Summer day in 2002, a man ran through a red light and we went through a green light. He “T-boned” our van, it was “totaled”. I was hurt very seriously, my husband wasn’t injured…just shook up and a little bruised. The girls weren’t in the car, thank God! I’ve had more than 7 surgeries, a heart attack, a stroke and then acquired a horrible, progressive, painful autoimmune disease called “CRPS” or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It’s also known as “RSD” or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. It is the most painful neurological disease known. It is #42 on the McGill pain scale. It has spread from just my right foot to my whole body. I have a dual chamber pacemaker and several health and heart issues, including Sick Sinus Syndrome and Atrial Fibrillation. I have chronic pain and I’m on medication therapy to knock the pain down just a little bit…another story for another day…..and life goes on……