My “step-dad” story…
“My mom met him when I was 14. He came to her as her knight in shining armor. He was kind and sweet. We went on vacations and had fun. He played music and was a “good guy” fast forward 2 years. My mother got cancer. Fast moving life changing, kill you in 1.5 years cancer. While she was sick he began to drink. He would bring the woman home from his band and they would “talk” on the couch while my mother lay in her bed mere feet away. One night I guess the friend did not want to “talk” I don’t know. I do know I woke up with him sitting on the edge of my bed with his hand under the blanket. When I woke up it startled him. He said he was just checking on me to make sure I was sleeping ok. He got up and left. I remember laying there wondering what had just happened. Every night after that I moved my bed so the door couldn’t be opened. Let’s hit the fast forward button to 3 months. My mother is now dead. His drinking is out of control. I come home to the house where I grew up to find him and his girlfriend in my mother’s kitchen. I was 16 and in a horrible state. He beat the crap out of me that night. He hit me so hard in the face I saw stars. When I yelled if he was just pissed I blocked the door to my room so he couldn’t get in he hit me harder. He picked me up off the floor and slammed me into the counter. I ran for the back door. I left that night. Barefoot in the snow. I slept in my mom’s car. The next few days I packed all I could and moved into an apartment. He told me I would never be anything. Today I am strong. Today I own my own home. Today I help people live the best lives they can.
Today I am something.
Today I am me.
Today I am a survivor.”
Thank you, Becky for sharing your story. Becky’s story reminds me that you never know what someone is holding on to. The memories stay with us, long after the events take place. When you look at someone walking down the street, you never know what they have been through, or what they will go through.
Imagine meeting this sixteen year old girl, who just lost her mom, and wasn’t given time to grieve, but forced to become an adult, almost overnight. You might have seen her, and thought she had no place having her own apartment, or her strong-will might have made you think she was just a difficult teenager. Without taking the time to put yourself in her shoes, you would not have been able to offer the compassion or love that she needed. We all have the choice to be kind, no matter what we have been through.
Becky’s story reminds us to treat people with compassion, and illustrates again, that everyone has a story. Our stories make a difference. As our words are shared, they lose some of the power they hold when we hang on to them. We should all strive to be the kind of person that builds people up, and not tear them down.