We all have events imbedded in our thoughts. They might stand out because they were great experiences, or they may stand out because they came with fear, anxiety and strong emotions. After my parents separated, then quickly divorced. Life came with even more changes. A new home, a different family dynamic...a step father.
I had been living with my mum for such a short time, and yet I already I knew I would be leaving. Leaving the home I thought would become my safe place, leaving my mum. In all honesty, it was never a safe place. When he was there, it was a place of fear for me. Their son, who was barely 1 year old at the time, was blessed with not understanding what was going on in our home. I loved my time with him. He was so very cute, and he would cuddle me, and smile his beautiful smile. He was a baby and oblivious to the fighting and the yelling...or was he...
We (my mum, step father, their son, me) settled into our townhouse in Scarborough, Ontario. Nothing was normal or comfortable there. I knew it would be difficult to write this blog, but I think I underestimated the emotions I would feel. Remembering hurts like it was yesterday. I hated that time in my life.
I went through the motions that were expected of me. I did as I was told, and often cried myself to sleep at night. My step father's yelling at me started from hello. He could not stand the sight of me. At 8 years old I was such a threat to him and his happiness, because my relationship with my mum was strong, and important. He was jealous of it. His mission was to separate us. To make sure my mum and I were not together.
I disliked him so much. We both, in the end, could not stand the sight of each other. His voice, his anger, it rang through the walls, and pierced my head. I wanted my mum to love me, but at what expense...
I was not allowed to watch TV with them as a family. I was to do the dishes, and then sent to my room. My only reprieve was when he was not home. My mum would then show me she loved me. I had a few friends in the neighborhood, and I remember my mum making cup cakes, and Chilli for us. My mum made the best Chilli. My friend's and I would sit in the basement listening to the radio, hoping a favourite song would come on. We would get up and dance. We were in grade 3 at the time, and so very innocent. Those were my good memories. Then HE would come home from work, and that would all come to an end. When he arrived home, I would not be spoken to, unless I was yelled at by him. He was an aggressive angry man. His voice would make me jump, and cry. I was terrified of him. I could do nothing right. He would make fun of me, tell me I was a failure.
I remember the three of them watching TV, a show called Family, with Kristy McNichol in it. The song that played when that show came on brought so much emotion in me. I was often sent to my room while they were watching it, and to this day I have prayed that I will never hear that theme song again. I feel as though it would push me over the edge.
There came a time where I had enough of feeling so rejected in our home. Feeling so left out. I stopped eating. It was a conscious thing that I did. I had got to the point where I was so sad, so alone and maybe it was the only thing I could control. Maybe, I wanted attention. Someone to say hey we love you, please do not do anything to hurt yourself. I remember getting lightheaded, and feeling as though I was watching my life through someone else's eyes. It was weird, like I was there, but did not feel connected to myself, my body. I ended up in the hospital. For many weeks I laid in a hospital bed, defeated by life and not caring whether I made it or not.
I do not remember a lot about what happened while I was in there. I know my dad came to see me one time, and told me I was fine. That is all I remember.
I cannot remember arriving back at the townhouse either, but I did end up back there.
The yelling started back up immediately. Shortly after I heard my step father telling my mum he had, had enough, and that either he was going to leave permanently, or I had to.
I remember a social worker coming to the house, her name was Elinor Gertner. She was so kind to me, and brought me a few children's books. She told me I would be going to live with a family, they had three sons. That everything would be okay. She left that day, and I remember feeling quite confused and scared. I never looked at the books she brought me, and I really did not understand what was going on.
A few weeks later she returned and was taking me to my first Foster home. I begged my mum to let me stay. I remember yelling, crying, pleading to be allowed to stay. I told my mum I would be a good girl, that I would do whatever she wanted me to do...
I remember watching my mum just stand there at the door, watching us drive away. I can still see her... I wanted so bad for her to run out and say she had made a mistake, that she wanted me to stay. That never happened. As we drove down the road, away from the townhouse, it became quite evident that my life was about to change in a major way.