Breaking the silence
Here I stand, in my new vocation as a motivational speaker. It will be the first time I publically tell my story to the world. My father’s death afforded me such an opportunity. Not so much afforded, as provided.
“Was his death sudden?” I asked the audience.
I personally found the question quite upsetting.
“Isn’t death always sudden, even when it’s ‘expected’, in the form of a terminal illness?” I enquired.
I expectedly got no response.
Yes, his death was sudden for me. I had wished it so many times in my childhood that the finality of it seemed surreal.
Here is my story. Our relationship was fraught with drama. He was a brutal and violent man, both verbally and physically. I felt only regret for what relationship we did not have, and immeasurable sadness for the torrid one that characterised my life.
The hostile environment of my childhood, characterised by my father’s drinking, was accompanied by his violent rage. He was an ugly drunk. The emotional neglect was far more damaging in terms of scarring on my little heart.
I recall him sneering at me, willing me to defy him. The chocolates still haunt me. My father had received a package of Belgian chocolates from my grandmother, and he had hidden them in the fridge. To my delight, I fortuitously came across them one afternoon, and simply could not resist. I ate some. They were sublimely delicious.
But I lived to forever regret those short moments of sweet pleasure. Not known to me, my father had counted the chocolates. He opened the box and looked inside. As his face blackened with that familiar expression of blind fury, I felt his huge hand strike the side of my small six-year-old head.
I fell off my chair and remained on the ground, cowering for cover under the table. I have a very clear understanding of what beaten dogs must feel like. My mother, increasingly disempowered and quiet, sat silently swallowing tears along with her food, attempting to hide her pain from my...