This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Larcine’s story: My father was an abusive, overbearing and controlling person and I wondered why my mother put up with him? After I was married and my sisters left home she divorced my father and we feared for her life. My dad threatened to kill her if she left him and after she filed for divorce I asked her, “Aren’t you afraid Dad will kill you? She said, “I would rather be dead than live this way another day.” Dad was a Master Sergeant who had all sorts of weapons lying around like hand grenades, guns, rocket propellant and other explosive devices. That was normal for us and we didn’t see anything unusual about it. By the time my sisters and I were old enough to date my Dad had all sorts of rules the first of which was we had to bring the prospective boyfriend home to meet him. I would bring home a weenie-armed guy to meet Dad who was over six feet tall and normally kept a sawed off shotgun or some other intimidating weapon on our coffee table. It never failed to freak the poor guy out who wanted to date me, but that’s the way it was and I thought it was normal. After he told them the rules he told them what part of their anatomy he would remove if his daughter wasn’t returned home in the same virginal condition she was in before she left the house. Most guys only dated me once; they would drop me off and never return.
I was not aware of all the little things my mother did in an attempt to hold things together and make our life better. It was not until after I was married and moved away from home that I could appreciate the sacrifices she made for her children. My mother lied for us and covered up things in order to protect us from our father’s wrath. I was an over-achiever in school but I never invited my dad to my school and if you’ve ever had a drunken father show up at a school function you would understand why. My mother hid my certificates of achievement so he wouldn’t ask why he wasn’t invited.
Once I asked my mother in front of my sisters why she stayed married to Dad for so long and she said, “Because of you kids, it was during the 1950s and divorce was unthinkable. A woman in that era made her bed and slept in it for better or worse. My mother never heard of A.A. or Alanon and divorce laws were different then. Most women got little or nothing if they divorced a man and so if they knew what was good for them they put up with whatever abuse they got. I blamed my mother for my misery at home, but today I know she did the best she could and we have long since made peace with each other. My mother is not especially fond of Alanon because she thinks Alanon brainwashes people but in my case, my brain needed washed. My mother loves me and although she has misgivings about Alanon she likes the idea that it has made me happy; happier than before I came here. Nevertheless, she believes it an abomination to share our family’s story with other people. In her time, it was unthinkable to air dirty laundry in public. My mother has not given me her seal of approval to say and share everything about our family from this podium, but I am here to tell you that she did the very best she could with what she had to work with. She is a warm, loving and caring woman who did everything possible to make our lives better and today it’s my job to be the best daughter that I can be; I love her very much. My father was a totally different ball game and unfortunately he died an alcoholic death like is described in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. To be continued.