Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mom's Last Days of Abuse

I wrote this story in the third person. It's about my mother's last few months of life here on earth.

Her last Days Of Abuse

Virginia Ann Miller

She stood over that furnace duct, letting the warm air go up under her old house dress, warming her all over. She always did this in the cool weather. The house was very cold. It was made from cement blocks with no insulation. Whenever she could get a spare moment from taking care of all those kids, she would take time to stand over that duct. She was shivering and rubbing her hands together to get them warm. Her nose was red from the cold.

What a life she had. Her husband was out drinking somewhere and she knew that when he got home they would end up in another fight. Her belly was bulging with another child. It was March. Soon, the weather would break and the warm sun would feel so good.
How much more of this could she take? She was thirty nine years old and still having children. She was tired.
The children were all in their beds sleeping. It was 1:30 in the morning. She heard the car pull up out front. He was getting out of the cab, as he always did. They never owned a car. Never could afford one. And he wasn't working any more since he broke both legs a couple years ago. He had been knocked off the top of a house while moving it down a road to another location. Low hanging power lines that he didn't see. And he hadn't worked since.

She could hear him coming up onto the porch. She had better start fixing him something to eat. He slammed the door behind him as he staggered into the kitchen saying, " what the fuck are you looking at woman?"
In her meek voice she replied, " Do you want something to eat and some coffee?" At that he said, "Fuck the coffee!" And he swiped his hand over the old wood stove, knocking everything in it's path to the floor.
"Christ Chuck!" You'll wake up the kids!" He then slapped her across her face. She started crying. He said, Oh stop your bawling." Then he shoved her around, saying, "What have you been doing all night?" "Was anyone here?" As she was crying, she said," No one was here!"
"You are a liar!" he said. " I know you had someone here while I was gone."
The more she denied that anyone had been there, the more persistent he was that someone was. Then he started shoving her harder calling her a liar. She fell to the floor. She screamed for him to stop. "You'll hurt the baby!", she cried.
"Who the fuck cares about that baby!" " It's probably not even mine." Then he kicked her right in her stomach.

The next morning, when the children got up, they noticed her black eye and they all knew that they had been fighting again. Most of them had been awake through it all, like always. They never said a word. The little ones looked at their mother with those sad eyes, clinging to her dress. The older ones wished their father would just disappear again, like in the past, when he was in prison for non-support or some other reason that they never found out about.

None of them wanted to see him when he woke up and came staggering out of the bedroom, smelling like booze and smoke. He always acted as if nothing had happened and would have that shit ass grin on his face that made you just want to slap it off. All the children feared their father. He was a mean and sadistic bastard.

This was the way it always was.

Later in March their mother got sick and had to be hospitalized. She had Pneumonia. She was so weak from being beat on and being pregnant so much. Her immune system was shot. But she did recover and came back home. She looked so weak worn out.

Soon it was April and then May. She had just turned forty years old. The baby was due at the beginning of June.

On June 10, 1963, the oldest child, who was sixteen, got up first and found a note from her mom. "Virginia, wake Jeanne up so she can help get the little kids off to school, but not Ricky. Be good all you kids." Love, Mom
Their little brother, Ricky, had come down with the measles so he had to stay home.
She had gone to the hospital around 4 a.m. Their father had rode a bike over the railroad tracks and almost into town to use a pay phone to call a cab to take her there.
He called later to the neighbor's house to give the oldest daughter a message. He wanted her to stay home from school to watch the little ones till he got home. She was on half days and was supposed to go to school that afternoon.

At around 2:30 that afternoon, as she was looking out the window, wondering how her mother was, she saw a car pull up in front of the house. Then Aunt Ruth's car pulled up behind it. It was the minister from their church. He walked up the sidewalk, along with her father and Aunt. Fear came over her. She started to hyperventilate. The minister never comes to their home. She knew that something was wrong. Maybe the baby hadn't made it. But that wasn't the case. When Reverend VanOrnum told her that her mom had passed away shortly after giving birth to a baby boy, she couldn't believe it. It took a while to sink in. Then she started crying. Her Aunt was crying too. But not her father. Why wasn't he?
The younger children couldn't comprehend what was going on. And as the older ones started coming home from school and learning the sad news, they all sat around the living room crying their eyes out.
It wasn't long before their other Aunt was there and their Uncle. Their mom's sister and brother. The Aunts hated her father for all the beatings her mother had gotten from him over the years. They could never get their sister to have him arrested though. She was always too afraid.

It was the most devastating day in those children's lives. From the oldest, who was sixteen, to the youngest, who was a year and a half old. Now they had a new baby brother. How were they ever going to make it?

She never saw so many people. The oldest daughter could not go into the room where her mother was laid out. She couldn't remember who talked to her. It was a big blur. On the last day, she had to sit in that room with the rest of the family. She never thought she'd ever cry so much. Everyone was crying. Her mother had many friends. More than she ever knew about. Her mother had grown up in this village and all the children were born in that hospital except for one. She had been a Nurses Aid when she was younger in that very same hospital, long before she had any children.

The ride to the cemetery was a long one, even though it was only a few blocks away. The father and all the children rode in the front car. It was a big, black car. They had never seen such a car! So shiny and new! The father sat in the front seat, crying. The children were amazed that their father had tears in his eyes. Did he actually have feelings? He never seemed to have. None of the children ever got hugs, or caring words from him. Never!

They lowered the casket into the ground. That was the toughest part of of the whole funeral, knowing that your mother was being put into the ground, never to be seen again.

Back at the house, there were people everywhere and food that those kids had never seen the likes of before. It was very embarrassing to have all those people there, especially for the older ones. They had no hot water and no working toilet. Their father had made a makeshift potty from an old wooden chair. He had cut the center of the seat out and built rails underneath that you could slide a pot into. When it got full, the boys would have to carry it out back, near the hill and dump it into a hole that had been dug.
What would these people think? One particular Great Aunt had to use the bathroom. How was she ever going to fit on that chair? She was so huge! She'd surely break it. But she did, somehow, and never said a word about the "toilet".

Finally, they all left and the children were alone, together. The older girls got the little ones to bed and eventually got there themselves, to lie there with their own thoughts about everything that had happened.

For the next few days, the oldest girls and their mother's sisters, were busy sending thank you cards out. There were many. All the neighbors and friends had donated just about $1200. Their Aunt doled out the money as the children needed it. They got some new clothes and new shoes, which were always needed. They even bought brand new swing set for the little ones to try and keep them happy.
The father wasn't allowed to touch any of that money. He couldn't be trusted with it. Besides, it was the aunt who had paid for the funeral. She did not want her sister to have a "welfare" funeral with a pine box.

Ten days after their mother's funeral, their new baby brother was allowed to come home. He was so cute! The older girls were used to taking care of babies so this one wouldn't be any problem.

By December they were all being split up. Some going into foster homes and some being adopted. The oldest girl got married that next April. She was only seventeen. She thought that if she was married she'd be able to get some of her sisters and brothers out of their homes to live with her. It didn't work out that way.

Life never works out the way you plan.

" You must be willing to give up the life that you planned, in order to live the life that is waiting for you."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Poems I Wrote

A Poem 40 years later

In Memory of My Mother
Jane Betty Alexander Miller

Forty years ago you left us,
We could not say goodbye.
We were only children,
And could not understand why.

But as we grew older,
It would become so clear.
God took you away from us,
Because your work was finished here

There was great sadness that day,
But also great joy.
For when he took you to heaven,
On earth he left a baby boy.

You gave life to eleven children,
And your life on earth was hell.
But we're sure that you are happy to know,
That we all turned out so well.

We love you Mom and we miss you here,
But we know that someday we'll see you there.

A last note

How do some couples start out seeming so happy when they first get married, and then have things go so wrong. They looked like they were happy in that photo didn't they? But right from the start, it was bad. I never knew too many happy moments in our house while growing up. And being the oldest, I saw things that I wished I never had. My father beat my mother all those years, and he beat us too. My mother would not have him arrested for fear that he would kill her when he got out of jail.
She died in childbirth from hemorrhaging, but what a lot of people don't know, is that she still had bruises on her body from his beatings the day she died. He never would have gotten away with that now days.
Men will never change, and don't think you can change them. If they have any abusive tendencies at the start, they will only get worse, not better. Get out while you can, and never, never, stay for the children's sake. The emotional scars stay with them for life. Just ask any one of us.


By Ginny

There's eleven of us siblings
We are as different as night and day
Our mother never got to know us
But she is not dead, she is just away.

From the oldest, who had polio,
To the youngest, who was born when she died.
And all the ones in between,
Lord knows how we tried.

To keep them all together
Was a feat that was too much for us to do.
One by one they went away,
I suppose it was the best thing for them too.

Some hated the homes that they were in,
An some didn't say a word to anyone.
One girl was molested in her foster home,
And two ran away, but they had nowhere to run.

All in all, I'd say we all survived somehow.
Made us strong, and able to survive.
But how we kept our sense of humor, is any one's guess.
We still laugh and joke, about the way we spent our lives.

Here it is, almost 40 years later,
And we all are still alive.
If only Mom could see us now.
I think she would be proud and say, I knew you would survive!"

Who knows why God works the way he does,
Some have mothers and some do not.
We are all God's children on this earth.
It's in God's hands and he decides on what we have got.