Monthly Archives: July 2012

He won

He won!

I don’t have any one to talk to that is going to understand this, so I will have to write it because if I don’t get it out somehow it is going to kill me.

He won.

He wasn’t a dumbass – I think he knew exactly what he was doing and what the outcome would be. Unfortunately, the dumbass is me, for taking so long to realise what his death means.

In many ways, and probably all the ones that count, I am now in a worse place than I was two years ago.

Back then, if I had a bad day, if I suffered from anxiety, depression, panic or whatever, it was my problem and my fault. (Just another day in Hell).

Then, for the last two years, I have been surrounded by people wanting to know how I am, saying they care about me, and telling me how brave I am and how strong I am.

Now, of course, Dad is dead, and with him died the court case – and it would seem that most people think that all of my problems relating to what happened to me died with him. “It’s all over now.”

Well, no, it’s not all over.

Now, not only am I some crazy bitch with a temper and mood swings and God knows what else, because now many people believe that I am the cause of my father’s death.

People still don’t know what he did to me. People still don’t know all of the ways it has affected me. But apparently none of that matters now because he’s dead.

If it was so easy to stop being affected by what happened, don’t you think I would have hit that switch long ago?

So, now I guess it goes back to being my problem, my fault, and all in my head. Now it means I am stuck in ‘No Man’s Land’ – I can’t grieve for my father because people don’t understand that even though he did terrible things to me he was still my father. I can’t talk about what happened because nobody knows or wants to know – and it doesn’t matter now, does it? I can’t have anxiety, a panic attack or depression because the cause of my problem is dead.  At least two years ago I could go through all of these things and I was just ‘crazy’ because no-one knew why I was like that.

I guess that means the last two years have been a complete waste of time.

And, I guess that means Dad won.

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One Day

“But why, Mum? I don’t understand.”

Maisy sat on the riverbank. The green grass made a perfect contrast to the bright yellow of the skirt she was wearing. Her feet dangled over the edge of the bank and were touched, every now and then, by the cool, clear water of the river as small waves lapped at the sandy edge of the bank.

Maisy’s mother, Joan, was lying on the grass beside her daughter, shielding her face from the sunlight.

Sighing, Joan replied, “I don’t understand either, Maisy. All I know is that your father never left a note or any other indication that he was leaving – he just didn’t return home from work one afternoon.”

Joan wondered how she could ever explain the events of the past to her daughter when she didn’t know what really happened herself. Her mind wandered back to that fateful afternoon that changed her life forever.

The day had started just like any other day for the previous seven years. Joan had risen early and prepared her husband’s breakfast. Then, as he had carried out his morning ablutions, she had packed his lunch, put a load of washing into the machine, and started on her daily round of housework.

Her husband had hugged and kissed her goodbye in the same manner he had every day of their married life together. He picked up his lunch, said he would see her that night, and walked out the front door.

That was the last time Joan had seen or heard from him.

After getting the children dressed and off to school, Joan had scrubbed, dusted, swept and vacuumed her way through the house carrying out her daily chores. She had gone grocery shopping and mailed some letters to her mother and sister. Then she had returned home and started preparing the evening meal of roast pork and lemon delicious pudding, which were her husband’s favourites.

The children returned from school, completed their homework, bathed, and then started playing a board-game together. Maisy was very conscientious about not letting her children watch too much television, so they had to find other ways to amuse themselves until their one hour television treat after dinner each night.

At four-thirty in the afternoon, Joan began to listen for the sound of her husband’s car pulling into the drive way. By five o’clock she was a little anxious. Her husband never got home later than five o’clock. He was the most punctual person she knew, and he always made sure he was home by five so he could spend some time with the children before dinner.

Joan was very edgy at five-thirty, but made herself wait until six o’clock before she sat down and thought about what to do next. She forced herself not to visualise the accident that was most certainly the only reason her husband had not arrived home from work.

At ten minutes past six, Joan started to phone all of the hospitals in the area to see if her husband had been admitted through the emergency department. She was not sure whether to be relieved or terrified when they all told her that no one answering to that name or description was a patient in their hospital.

After calling the hospitals, Joan began calling all of her husband’s work mates to see if they knew where he was.

Bob, the first person Joan called, had been home sick all day, so he didn’t know if her husband had been at work or not, and had not seen or heard from him since the Friday before.

Joan rang five more people and although they all told her that her husband had been at work until knock-off time, they did not have any idea where he was now or why he had not arrived home.

As her anxiety grew, Joan became more persistent in her questioning of her husband’s work mates and discovered that her husband had appeared to be his normal self during the day and had given no indication that there was anything amiss in his life.

James and Billy, the last two people Joan spoke with, offered to go out and look for her husband. “He can’t be far away,” Billy had said. “I’ll just duck out and take a drive between work and your place. His car might have broken down or something. You’re probably worrying for nothing, Joan.”

Joan did not take any comfort from Billy’s words.  If her husband’s car had broken down he would have called. There were plenty of places he could have asked to use the telephone to get a message to her.

Trying not to alarm the children, Joan laid out their dinner and left them alone to eat it while she continued making phone calls in the search for their father.

Her husband’s family had not seen or heard from him in weeks. Mutual friends of Joan and her husband had not seen him. Joan’s family had not seen him.

Billy rang Joan at seven-thirty and let her know that neither he nor James had located her husband. Billy told her he would send his wife around to Joan’s to look after the children while she continued her search.

Joan was almost out of her mind with worry when Ann arrived. Ann and Billy had been friends with Joan and her husband for as long as they had been a couple. In fact, it was Ann and Billy who had introduced Joan to her future husband.

Ann wrapped her arms around Joan and told her not to worry. “I’m sure it’s going to be something we can all laugh about tomorrow. Maybe he’s gone to the pub?”

For most husbands that could be a possibility, but Joan’s husband did not drink alcohol, not even an occasional social beer. Ann knew this, but she didn’t know any other possible scenario that she could tell Joan to help her stop worrying.

James and Billy arrived at Joan’s at nine o’clock. By that time, Ann had managed to have the children in bed and asleep and had set Joan the task of  making a list of all the people she had already contacted and another list of anyone else she could think of that might know where her husband was. The tired and despondent expressions on the faces of the men as they entered the dining room sent Joan into a debilitating mixture of crying, sobbing, anxiety and panic. Billy hugged her until she had calmed a little and then held her face between his hands, looked her in the eye, and calmly said, “I think we should notify the police.”

Joan slumped to the floor and covered her face with her hands. She felt she had not a single drop of energy left, but she slowly nodded her head. “Could you do it please?”

The police had arrived shortly after Billy made the phone call. The rest of the night was a blur and the investigation that followed seemed never-ending, and in reality it was because they had never located her husband, his car, or any of his belongings. Nothing.

Joan’s husband had walked out of work, waved and shouted goodbye to his mates, just like he always did, and started driving down the road to his home – but he never arrived.

His bank account had never been accessed in the years that had passed, and despite endless hours of searching, a national broadcast of his photo and plea for help from the public to solve the case, the police received very few leads, and the ones they had were mostly hoaxes.

Joan had tried to stay strong for her children. She had almost taken her own life though when she had found out she was pregnant two weeks after her husband had disappeared. At the time she had felt angry that this child was coming into the world when the man whom she loved with every fibre of her being had been taken from her. She had felt she could not bear another child to bring up on her own as she already had three – two boys and a girl.

In the end, however, Joan had found Maisy to be a blessing. Maisy had taken her mind off of her missing husband enough to bear his loss. The pregnancy and Maisy’s birth had provided some positivity and happiness in an otherwise bleak and depressive period of Joan’s life. The other children had been wonderful. They were all too young to remember a lot of the details of the afternoon their father disappeared or the tough times their mother experienced in the weeks and months following.

These days they are all well-adjusted young adults building fantastic futures for themselves.

However, it was Maisy who asked all the questions and now it was just her and Joan at home, Maisy seemed relentless in her quest for answers but Joan was unable to supply the answers her youngest child required.

Sitting up and moving closer to her daughter, Joan put her arm around Maisy and said, “I don’t have the answers for you sweetheart. I don’t have the answers for myself. All I can do is be here for you, Maisy. Maybe one day the police will find out what happened, but maybe they won’t. In the meantime, I have enough love in my heart for you and your brothers and sister to compensate for a dozen parents and I will support you in anything you do.”

“I’m glad, Mum,” Maisy said, “because I will find out what happened to him. One day.”

The words arrive

It has been six months since my last post on this blog, in fact, it has been almost six months since I have written anything at all – no short stories, nothing on my novel, no journal writing, note-taking or even scribbles.  Two years ago I started a legal proceeding against my father and the last six months have almost completely been focused on trying to get through all of the legal hoops leading up to trial and retain at least a small thread of sanity.  This, combined with medication for anxiety, completely dissipated my desire to write.

A week ago the trial was set down for the District Court sittings commencing 3rd September, 2012. On Sunday, 1st July, 2012 my father took his own life.

Needless to say, the days since Sunday have been a bit of a blur.

But now, after a 3000 kilometre journey of closure, I am sitting in a motel room in the town where I was born, which I have not seen since my parents left here when I was six weeks old.

Driving into the small country town, it felt like the mountains were hugging me and welcoming me home. It has been an emotional return for a number of reasons and the urge to write has been overwhelming from the moment I saw the mountains in the distance.

I have no idea if the desire to write and the creativity that is enveloping me at the moment will last very long, but I am hoping the absence of fear and feelings of freedom that have resulted from my father’s passing will translate into many more words on the page in the coming weeks, months and years.