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."


  1. Ginny, this broke my heart. Your mom should have lived to see her children grow. I cannot for the life of me understand how some people can be so damn mean and angry. It just doesn't make sense.

    I hope you are somehow finding some peace through your journaling. Goodness knows you deserve it.


  2. are a tremendous writer delivering very powerful content.

  3. I appreciate your comments very much. I do think it is good for me to write it all down. But I also wanted the younger ones to know how we lived. Most of them don't remember anything, which is good. Thanks for taking the time Sharon and Kelly, to read this. Hugs. Ginny

  4. This touched my heart so deeply! You are so brave to write this - I wish you much peace and happiness.

  5. Thank you Shellmo. We all have a sense of humor, no matter how we lived as children.. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read it. Hugs.

  6. Ginny, that was such a heart-wrenching story. To top it off with the children not getting to stay together. That is just horrible! I know how terrible living in an abusive family can be.

    I really hope you and your siblings have very happy lives now.

  7. Thanks Rene. I can't say we all had happy lives but everyone made it okay and have done the best they could. We all kept our sense of humor anyway..Ha! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  8. I have tears from your story, thank you for sharing. Many of us think that our lives were the hardest, but when others share their story we realise that we are not alone.


  9. Thank you Jeannie. We all have a story. Some are just worse than others. Thanks for taking the time to read it. My mother was much better off going. She was tired and God saw that she had done all she could.

  10. Hi Ginny,
    This was especially heartbreaking for me to read as I had an abusive childhood as well, but more from mental illness than just plain meanness. But it matters not the reason, some people just can't handle their lives and unhappiness as well as others.
    Was sent over from Joycee and glad I came to visit.

  11. mom suffered at the hands of my abusive father as well. It was a miserable life for her, for too many years.

    If you don't mind me asking, where were you in the line of children? I am thinking you were one of the older ones.

  12. Sorry to hear that your mom had to suffer at the hands of an abuser also OHN. I am the oldest. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.