"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Before I talk about my Dad, I must say I believe in honoring father and mother. My dad is now 81 years old. We have reestablished a relationship by the grace of God and forgiveness. My earliest memories begin with horrible domestic violence, perpetrated by my father against my mother. He beat her in front of us kids often. He was a heavy drinker, and he was a mean drunk.
I recall my sister and I laying under the bunk beds when dad would pummel mom. We would tremble with fear. I felt so sad for my mom. She was a kind, loving, and supportive mom. We all loved her dearly. This just added to the sadness I felt. I believe this was the beginning of my depression, at such an early age.
At the time, the olden days of the 1970s, wall phones were common. I remember once watching my dad take the receiver part of the phone and break it on my mom's face. Horrified. Terrified. Brokenhearted. What worried me most was that he was going to kill my mom.
This fear was always with me. Once, on a trip home to Spokane from Coeur d' Alene, where my grandparents lived (my dad's parents), dad was screaming at mom. All us kids were in the back seat. We were on the Interstate, and dad pulled over and stopped. I remember there was a ditch on the passenger's side, where my mom was. As a kid, it seemed to me like a cliff. He got out and went to my mom's door, opened it, and pulled her out of the car. She was screaming, he was screaming, we were all screaming and crying. I thought he was going to throw her down the "cliff" and kill her. But he didn't do that. He smacked her around a bit, then told all of us kids to get out of the car.
There we stood, all three kids and mom, on the side of the Interstate. Dad got back in the car and drove away, leaving us on the side of the road. We were horrified. Terrified. Traumatized. We waited there, and he eventually came back for us.
There are many other instances like these I could recount, but I won't. They are just too painful.
Dad's physical and emotional abuse wasn't limited to mom. He physically abused all three of us kids. My older brother, Tim, got it the worst. Dad would bully him, beat him and berate him verbally. One time, there was an eighteen year old boy named Lonnie who lived on our block. Tim was around thirteen. Lonnie wanted to fight Tim for some reason, but Tim wouldn't go outside. Dad called him a "yellow belly coward" and beat him mercilessly.
Once, when I was about seven or eight, I went to the bathroom and used the toilet. Dad went in after I came out. He came out raging, saying I'd urinated on the toilet seat. He beat me on the legs with an orange plastic hot wheels track. He left black, raised welts all over my two legs.
Mom was so terrified of him, she dared not leave him. This is very common in domestic violence situations. But when I was nine years old, she finally made the decision to divorce him. By then, all the damage had been done. My dad moved out of our house. I was actually sad. Even after being tormented by him so badly, he was still my dad.
My dad made a few attempts to stay in our lives. He would come over when mom was at work. We'd been told not to let him in. He would stand outside the window, screaming at us to let him in. Terrifying. Horrifying. Mom eventually got a restraining order against him.
After that, dad largely abandoned us completely. He was not involved in our lives in any way, except for a very few times he took us to a movie and things like that. But that was early on. After I reached the age of about 10, he disappeared from our lives. Mom raised us as a single mom.