Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Beginning of the End Part 1

My dad was killed December 14, 1983.  A few weeks before his death, things went from really bad to worse.  When my mom and dad got married in their teens, he made her quit school.  She was not allowed to have her driver's license, have a job, cut her hair, wear make up or wear skirts.
He controlled everything.  But a few weeks before he died it really got weird.  We always had a tree up before my little brothers birthday on the 11th.  On the 12th I asked dad why we did not have our tree, and he said, "We are not going to need one this year."  He had started to sell all of our things, like the stereo, saying it was not of God and we needed all of those things out of the house.  Now my father was never a religious man, he was an alcoholic, did drugs and had lots of women and beat my mother and us.  So this whole God thing was coming out of left field.

He had started pad locking my mom in the house in the last couple of weeks, so she could not get out, while he was gone, or even when he was home.  I remember about a week before he died, we needed a few things from the store and he made my aunt, his sister take my mom and told her to watch my mom, don't let her out of her sight, or use a pay phone and she was not to make any other stops, directly to the store and home.

She kept me home two days before he was killed and I remember him cussing her out, telling her that it was not going to change anything, that now he was just going to have to kill me too.  Of course, I was scared but did not know how serious things were, and I wanted to be home to protect my mom.  My mom kept my aunts kids too, after school my cousin would come home with us and she kept my nephew who was only about 18 months old at the time.  What I did not know at that moment was my dad had been telling my mom the time had come and he was going to kill her, himself and maybe us.

His whole family even knew something very bad was going on and they had been stopping by a lot the week before he was killed, trying to talk to him.

The day he was killed, I was kept home from school again, and again we were pad locked in the house.  My baby nephew was there with me all day.  Looking back, I cannot believe my aunt continued to let her children come there.  Anyway, after my little brothers got off the school bus, my dad undid the locks, let them in, relocked us in the house and we sat down to watch tv.

My dad said he was going to lay down and take a nap.  He told me to watch the kids, (I was ten) and that my mom had to stay in the bedroom with him.  He told me to unplug the phone and bring it in to the bedroom to him, he wrapped it up and laid it beside him on the bed.  He then told me to go and get the 22 rifle and bring it to the bedroom.  I remember walking in with it and my mom sitting on the stool by the bed.  With a look of desperation on her face I had never seen.

He was drunk and did not take long to pass out, my mom snuck out of the room and told me I had to go call his sister for help.   There was one, long skinny window in my bedroom that would open and it took all my might, but i was able to squeeze through.  I snuck over to the neighbors and called my other aunt, his older sister. But her kids said she was not home yet, there were not cell phones back then.   I went back home, slid back through the window and told mom. 

This went on for probably and hour, she had me slide out 3 more times, I do not know why she did not have me call 911.  Anyway, the last time I came back, I quietly opened their bedroom door and she said, well more like "mouthed" because no sound came out, "Get the hell out" and she was holding the rifle.  My dad was lying on the bed - ASLEEP.  Something I would not remember until years later, at 16, when I woke up from a dream.

A few minutes past, I HEARD NOTHING and she came into the living room, crying, shaking, and said "Brandy I shot your daddy, I had to do it, he was going to kill us all, remember, or I will go to jail forever"

I did not believe her, so me being the nosy kid I was, walked into their bedroom, my dad had long reddish brown hair, so I did not notice anything at first, so I walked right up to him, I shook hiim, when I did, his head fell to the side, and that is when I saw where the bullet went in....

And then the chaos started...  I went into the living room, told mom to keep the boys out, keep them calm, and for some reason, I went back in the bedroom and sat on the stool by the bed and waited until the police and medics arrived. 

Once they were there, I gave my statement, the statement that shaped the rest of my mother's life...


  1. Wow that's really horrible about your dad but I wonder if your mother had not killed him, would he have killed everyone there once he woke up from his drunken sleep. I can't wait until the next installment of this story. I hope it's healing you to write this.

  2. I am sure your father would have killed your Mom had she not acted. I have known a number of women who escaped brutal marriages - though none as horrendous as your parents' - and these guys do not get better. It is almost NEVER 'just talk' when they get to the point where your dad was. What a mature little 10-year-old you were! I think maybe you need to catch up on some of the fun you missed as a child, and not always be taking care of things, which you clearly do.

    My father's point of no return was more embarrassing than violent (he was never violent); he went walking entirely naked down town (before everybody did that sort of thing!). I remember thinking he was desperate for attention, and of course the townspeople tried to act like nothing happened - we 'belonged' there and in a small town that was evverything. I remember thinking when he started the naked stuff (at first it was just around the yard) that the only thing he could do for attention if the nudity failed was kill us, and I brought a baseball bat to bed each night.

    I cannot imagine what it felt like for a 10-year-old girl to hold her mother's fate in her hands. When I hear of home-schooling, and families taking their kids out of the public systems, I always imagine parents like your father and mine. The old crap about parents knowing best and only wanting what is best for their kids - often, I suppose, this is true, but I wonder how often it is more like the situations with your father, or people wanting to control what their kids think. I never hear of a wife killing her husband or kids killing their parents without sympathy, and if I were on a jury, they'd have to prove to me the bastard didn't deserve it. I HATE domineering and bullying more than any other thing on Earth, and I have no sympathy whatever for those who do it when they get their just desserts. Similarly, in those school shootings, I usually only feel badly because the shooters just shoot everybody, and not specifically the kids that were bullying them. Bullying (and I count overt racism as a form of bullying) is the one thing I find unforgivable - so often the weak person, who cannot help his or her fear or weakness, is a wonderful and gifted soul who flourishes when the shadow is removed. I don't know if you read The Great Santini - but I cheered out loud when his plane crashed. Hope I didn't give away the happy ending...

  3. I think your mother needs a medal. I shudder to imagine what that poor woman had to live through. She probably started her married life with joy and hope in her heart and never imagined that it would turn out the way it did. So sad - alcohol is a great stain remover - it removed his family, his home, his reason and in this case his life. Unfortunately it has affected all those around him as well and now you have to deal with that - what a waste.

    You made it sound like you had everything under control but there must have been a hoard of thoughts trying to cross your 10 year old mind at the same time. Nothing could have prepared you for that. I feel that if you talk about those thoughts that were stampeding through your mind while you were sitting on the stool waiting for the medics, then you will let a lot of the puss out of the festering wound so that the healing can begin.

  4. I don't know that I've ever met anyone as brave as you were as a 10 year old, or as brave and strong as you are now to lay bare your wounds like you do. I wish you luck on your journey, and when you reach the end of it, when the last story is told, I wish you peace in your heart and mind. No one I have ever met deserves it more than you do.

  5. Speechless.. again. Sorry. Urm... I'm with the other commenters on this one..