This book focuses on “daughters of narcissistic mothers”. I was a middle -aged adult when I found out that I wasn’t an isolated case, I wasn’t alone by far. So many of us remain silent because we don’t think anyone will believe us. Besides that, we internalize everything and blame ourselves. We spend years wondering what’s wrong with us. If you’ve never experienced what it’s like to be a daughter of a narcissistic mother or even a child of a narcissistic parent for that matter, you can’t understand and it’s even more difficult to explain. Sadly, child abuse runs rampant these days but speaking from experience, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother ranks very high as being one of th e worst forms of abuse. There’s physical, mental, verbal, emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse either directly or indirectly, all wrapped up in one. But what makes it so different and how this abuse earns its rank as being one of the worst forms of child abuse is the inability to tell anyone because everything she does is deniable. The image that’s portrayed to the public is mere fantasy and the reality behind closed doors is a nightmare. We have been seeing evidence of this played out in courtrooms and t he media for a long time now. Scott Peterson was found guilty of killing his wife and unborn son because they were in his way. More recently, we saw evidence of this in the Casey Anthony Trial, of course she was found not guilty of killing her little g irl because she was in the way. Some of us may disagree with each other on the verdict but one thing is for sure, narcissism was on display. In a nutshell, narcissism is simply “self-worship”. The characteristics of a narcissistic mother are as follows: Controlling, self-righteous, judgmental, self absorbed, cold and incapable of empathy. They can be very convincing, charming, outgoing and friendly. But make no mistake, everything is all about them. Their image is their prized possession. They must be seen in a good light at all times and at any cost. They are extremely jealous and competitive especially with their own daughters, competing with their daughters sexually is a sport. They will flirt and even seduce her daughter’s boyfriends and other younger men. A narcissistic mother doesn’t see her children as individuals but rather as extensions of herself. She doesn’t have children, she has sheep or goats. She has assigned roles for each child; she chooses one or more to be a “golden child” or “sheep” and one or more to be a “scapegoat”. The golden child can do no wrong and thinks their mother is wonderful. T he scapegoat can’t ever do anything right and knows their mother is not wonderful. The only differences between the two are the roles they play. They both suffer abuse. However, speaking from experience as a scapegoat, the scapegoat catches and endures the most abuse. She deliberately causes strife and division between her children. Showing favoritism toward one child in the presence of other children is deliberate. The scapegoat is blamed for everything. If Mother is sad, angry, or worried they blame the scapegoat. She teaches and trains the other children to hate and blame the scapegoat. The golden child or children see the scapegoat as the troublemaker and will physically abuse the scapegoat so the mother won’t have to. A narcissistic mother has an enormous sense of entitlement and i gnores all boundary lines. Make no mistake; she’s the exception to every rule. She must be adored and loved the most and she has zero tolerance for anything less. She uses people and everyone in her life is disposable , including her own children. A narcissistic mother uses her tongue as a human paper shredder and then simply dismisses you from her presence. She very rarely, if at all, sincerely compliments or encourages. You can depend on her to remind you of your inadequacies and put you in your place if she sees the smallest hint of self confidence. She wants her children to be totally dep endent on her for guidance and she sabotages her own children. If you confront her, she’ll minimize and downplay the situation. She’ll accuse you of being too sensitive and immature or she’ll act as though she has no idea what you’re talking about. As a result, you’ll question your own sense of reality and sanity. She’s never wrong and she’ll never sincerely apologize. It is amazing, mind-boggling and unbelievable how she can hurt, destroy, humiliate and abuse and then act like nothing ever happened. But yet when it comes to your wrongs and mistakes she never lets you forget. She’s very spiteful and revengeful. She exaggerates and lies even when it’s not necessary. She thrives on drama and she is always the victim, always. She’s very deceptive and nothing is as it appears with her. It’s important to know how dangerous it is to get in her way, it can even be fatal. She must have her way and she will go to any length to get what she wants. The end always justifies the means. Her marriage vows are meaningless. It’s an honor and a privilege just to be married to her and her husband’s role is to provide, protect and serve. She’s entitled to do as she pleases including living the single life and she often does. I lived most of my life trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Am I crazy? A freak of nature? An accident? Someone’s punishment? Adopted? Something was wrong; bad wrong. I didn’t feel like I fit in with my own family. No self -esteem, no self-confidence, a lot of shame and guilt, feeling worthless, severely flawed and undeserving of love. I hated myself, no I loathed myself. This brought on depression, rage, rebellion, suicide attempts and other self -destructive behavior. I was always searching for understanding, validation and approval. As I got older I grew weary of the way my life had been. I was tired of running and hiding. It was getting more and more difficult to suppress the lies, hurt an d pain. I was worn down by the fear of knowing what I knew, the dark secrets of truth. The laughter and the “I don’t care” act that I hid behind all of these years were fading away. I knew my life was about to change because I was changing. I had always been fearful of change and fought hard to avoid it. But this time, I wasn’t going to fight it; I didn’t have a lot of fight left in me. By this time in my life, I was more spiritual and I had a relationship with God. I had read the Bible all of my life but the Words began to come alive. I started really thinking about it. God made me, He has a purp ose for my life and He doesn’t make mistakes, He said. He died for me, He said. If I can believe He died for me then why can’t I believe that He came to give me life and life more abundantly? I didn’t even have a life much less life more abundantly. But I prayed and asked God for life, life more abundantly and freedom”. That was the mustard seed of faith that God said would move mountains. He took it and ran with it. Suddenly, there were mountains of change in my life and He’s still at work. That was approximately 4 years ago. My sister and I began to open up and talk to each other. Looking back I can see that we were trying to get answers from e ach other. We started discussing our Mother and I was surprised to know that we shared a lot of the same thoughts and feelings. She asked me the same questions that I had been asking for years. Then one day out of the blue, she called me and her voice was different. She sounded a little overwhelmed but relieved. She told me about a website and she told me to stop what I was doing and check it out. She wouldn’t give me any details other than you’ll see our Mother’s picture as you read it. I worked from home so I couldn’t do it right then and I don’t know how but I totally forgot about it. However, a few days later I did go to the website. It was about daughters of narcissistic mothers. When I started reading I couldn’t stop . I soaked up every word. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, my sister was right; every single word was a perfect description of our Mother. Before I realized it, I was saying out-loud, “I am not crazy”. This answers every question that’s haunted me since childhood. I was excited and so relieved. It was as though I had been set free from death row. The scripture, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” took on a whole new meaning and it came alive in my heart. What I had been through actually had a name. Not only that, I was not alone. How liberating. First off, I realized my sister was the daughter of a narcissistic mother too. Then as I continued to read I was overwhelmed by the enormous amount of people that was just like us. It was like I had finally found where I belonged. I want to share my story because it’s my heart’s desire to expose the truth and bring light to others just like me. I want every daughter of narcissistic mothers to experience the healing and freedom that the knowledge of the truth brings. I want them to know, “You are not crazy” . This is a journey that never ends. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. You’ve already proven how strong you are and in some cases the hardest part is over with. You’ll experience anger and hurt but don’t give up. You deserve healing and freedom. You matter. Even though, it may not feel like it at times, you are being set free. Keep in mind, the truth will change you; not your Mother. I’m happy to say that I’ve cut ties with my narcissistic mother and my siblings. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been easier than before I cut ties. Mother still hasn’t given up even though I actually sent her a letter of resignation to let her know I’ve resigned my role as her scapegoat. I’ve drawn boundary lines and she’s tried to ignore them but I pushed her back across. She’ll wait a little while and try again. True to for m, she’s relentless and determined to have her way. Unlike before, I’m even more relentless and determined. She no longer has the po wer to destroy me emotionally, mentally, verbally or physically but most of all, spiritually. At one time, I thought this was impossible, but I’m living proof that with God all things are possible. One last thing before I begin my story. It’s important to know that narcissism is a spiritual problem that manifests itself in the natural realm as a mental -health problem with no known cure. Narcissism isn’t a “new thing”; it’s been around for ages. I kept silent for years and allowed others, mainly my Mother, to tell my story. Deep down, I’ve always known I’d write a book, I’ve just been waiting for the ending. My childhood was horrific but it pales in comparison to what happened in the end. The beginning of my teenage years is when things started turning really bad and really ugly. By this time, I had so much rage inside of me and my rebellion equaled my rage. The only emotion I knew how to express was anger and eventually rages. Mother knew how to manipulate me and exactly what buttons to push. My behavior was out there for everyone to see . People saw my reactions but not what I was reacting to. I didn’t realize it at the time but my open display of rage and rebellion supported her lies and accusations. My behavior was the fuel that kept Mother’s torch burning and enabled her to maintain her most coveted role as a victim. Not only that, but she was able to hide her behavior and actions behind my behavior and reactions. I was the perfect scapegoat Now I know how powerful reactions are. I try to remember this so that I don’t allow the ever present truth to turn my ongoing healing and fr eedom into bondage. Sometimes, I miss the mark but I keep going. My Dad and I were very close, we had an unbreakable bond. Mother has gone to great lengths to destroy that relationship and she failed miserably. Everybody knew that I was my Dad’s heart and Mother was extremely jealous. Before I was born she had a plan and it backfired on her terribly. My mother is a daughter of a narcissistic mother. Mother has told me how her mother hated her and even told her so. She was real close to her daddy too. I use d to feel sorry for Mother because I knew how she was treated but at the same time, she could’ve chosen to break the cycle but she didn’t. There’s never an excuse to abuse a child. Mother got pregnant when she was 15 years old and the father didn’t want to marry her or have anything to do with his baby. Back then, it was a shame and disgrace to have a baby out of wedlock. So, she was sent to an unwed mother’s home. Her mother gave her an option to keep the baby or give her up for adoption. At first, she was going to go the adoption route but she changed her mind after she had the baby. When Mother met my Dad, he was in a serious relationship with another girl. But Mother wanted him and she chased after him relentlessly. It didn’t matter to her if he was already in a relationship, it wasn’t about him, it was about what she wanted. My Grandma, (paternal) told my Dad over and over, “You better leave that gal with that baby alone”. But Mother finally got what she wanted and she got pregnant with me. Dad broke up with his girlfriend and married my Mother. I was born a few months later and I stole my Dad’s heart. I still remember people saying to me, “You are your Daddy’s heart” when I was a young child. Even now, people will say, “You were Daddy’s little girl”. However, on the other hand, my Mother wasn’t as happy. In my Mother’s eyes, my pur pose had been served. I was the tool she used to get my Dad and I was no longer needed. When she saw how much Dad loved and adored me, I was no longer wanted. She knew that he didn’t choose her, she chose him. I was very close to my Grandma on my Dad’s sid e of the family. She loved me with an unconditional love. She had 12 children, and a lot of grandchildren. I often wondered why she picked me out of everybody. About a year before she passed away I found out. Grandma was in the hospital and I went to stay with her one night. She called me to her bedside. She told me that when I was a baby my Mother told her that she didn’t want me. She told her that she could drown me in the Bogue Homa Lake. Grandma said that she extended her arms and said, “Well, I want h er”. Grandma took me in her arms and I’ve belonged to her ever since. I kept this to myself for over 25 years. I finally confronted Mother about 3-4 years ago. Of course, you would’ve thought she was competing with Bette Davis in a leading role or something. She accused my Grandma of lying and she didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. She went on and on . Finally, she asked me, “You don’t believe your Grandma, do you?” I answered , “Of course, I do”. She hung up on me. I knew that wasn’t the end of it. Sure enough the next day she called me. She brought up the incident about my Grandma. I still remember her exact words. “Did your Grandma really tell y ou that?” I said, yes, she did.” She proceeded, “I can’t believe she’d lie like that and now I’m not so sure if she made it to heaven”. I didn’t say anything . She told me that she told Dad about it and he was mad. I doubt if she even mentioned it to him and if she did, he wasn’t mad. Dad never mentioned it to me, there was no need to because it was an established fact. Dad has always been honest with me. He told me when I was just a teenager that Mother didn’t care anything about me. Her actions b acked it up. Mother knows Dad has always told me that because I told her and so did he. She never denied it either. The only thing she said to me was, “Your dad shouldn’t have told you that”. I was in my early 20’s when my Grandma told me why she felt lik e I belonged to her. I knew she was telling me the truth. That lady wouldn’t have deliberately hurt me for anything in this world. I saw the pain in her eyes; it hurt her to tell me the truth. But I needed to know; I wanted to know. There was a big pecan tree in our front yard and Dad and I spent a lot of time sitting under that tree. That’s where we had most of our long talks. One day when I was about 15 years old, he called me out there for a talk. But something was different this time. He started with a question, “You know I love you very much, don’t you?” I said, “Yes sir”. Then he asked me, “You know I would never do or say anything to hurt you, don’t you?” Again, I said, “Yes sir”. I was getting scared especially when I saw tears in his eyes. He hesit ated a bit and then he said, “I don’t know why you try with your Mother because she’ll never care anything about you. The best thing you can do is leave this place and never look back”. I started crying because I thought I could somehow make her love me but yet, I knew he was telling me the truth. He continued, “You’re too smart and you have too much going for you to hang around here”. “I worry about you when I’m out on that road; I don’t worry about you when you’re sent away” . By this time so much had happened. I saw a broken man that day. Mother had beaten him down and he had no more fight left in him. I don’t know where Dad thought I could go. Grandma wanted me to live with her but Mother wouldn’t let me. They strongly disliked each other. Mother woul d not go up against Grandma; she’d lose control of me. It wasn’t because she wanted me; it was because she needed me. I was her scapegoat. Besides, allowing me to leave and live with Grandma would put her in a bad light; she had to protect her image. She didn’t mind if I left there in handcuffs and stayed in jail or the training school . I wasn’t like my siblings; I wasn’t one of her sheep. I was her goat. Simply put, Mother loathed me. I have one older sister and two younger brothers . When I was about 6 years old we lived in a small town in a block house on the highway . The town was on one side of the road and railroad tracks on the other side. My Dad was a truck driver and he was rarely at home so it was M other, my three siblings and me the majority of the time. I started the first grade at the local elementary school and I had a lot of friends. My Grandma lived a few miles away and for the most part, I loved living there. But I missed my Dad a lot. One night the fun stopped and sheer horror took stepped in. I shared a bedroom with my sister and my two brothers shared a bedroom. My youngest brother was still sleeping in a baby bed; he was only a few mont hs old. One night at bedtime, Mother was standing at the kitchen sink and a man’s face appeared in the window. I can’t remember which sibling saw him too but when one started screaming we all screamed. Mother downplayed it as though it was a practical joke played by a neighborhood teenager. A few nights later as we were getting ready for bed, I saw a man’s shadow run past our bedroom window. I started screaming and we all ran to mother screaming. Again, she downplayed it and my siblings calmed down. I played along as though I was just as calm but on the on the inside I was anything but calm. I kept thinking to myself, “Something just isn’t right” and I was terrified. We relived this same nightmare a few nights later. As we were getting ready for bed one of my siblings saw a man’s shadow run past the bedroom window. Here we go again, screaming and running to Mother. But this time, her reaction was different. She said she wanted to tell us the truth. Mother told us that this man was angry with Dad and he was trying to kidnap my yo ungest brother to get revenge. His baby bed was under a window in his bedroom and he was in his baby bed asleep. I jumped up to go get him and Mother stopped me. She explained to me that she had placed glass bottles in the window seals so we could hear the man if he tried to break in. Her explanation alone wasn’t working this time so s he stepped up her game and called the local town cop. I could see the police officer’s flashlight as he walked around the house. Then I heard him tell Mother that he saw a man’s footprints but the man was gone. I went from terrified to sheer horror in a matter of seconds. My siblings joined me in begging Mother to call Dad and tell him about this so he could come home. She told us that Dad already knew about it and he didn’t care enough about us to come home. I don’t know about my siblings but I knew witho ut a doubt that she was lying about Dad. I didn’t know what to do, I was horrified, angry and confused. I wanted to go to my Grandma’s house but I was too afraid that something would happen to my brother if I left. So I slept in the room with my brothers that night to protect my youngest brother. I tried so hard to stay awake but I was crying for my Dad and cried myself to sleep. We didn’t see the man’s shadow run around our house anymore but we slept on the floor in Mother’s room for a few nights longer, w ith the exception of my youngest brother, he stayed in his baby bed. I was so afraid and the least amount of noise would wake me up even after we started sleeping in our own beds. One night I woke up and heard noises coming from my Mother’s bedroom. I thought it was my Dad and I jumped up to go see him. When I opened the bedroom door it was dark but I could still see. I didn’t know what was going on then but now I know they were having sex. Mother yelled at me to shut the door and go back to bed. When morning came I was excited because I thought my Dad was home. I expected to see him sitting at the dining room table drinking coffee but he wasn’t there. I asked Mother if Dad was still asleep and she told me that he wa sn’t home. I reminded her that I saw a man in the bed with her. She told me that I was dreaming and I insisted that I was not dreaming . She became very angry and accused me of being a liar and a troublemaker. She told me that if I mentioned it again to her or anyone else I couldn’t live at home anymore. I was stunned and I kept thinking to myself, “Something isn’t right here.” I knew she was lying; I knew what I saw and heard. Even back then, she could be so convincing. I was a six year old child doubting my own reality. The neighborhood children played in everyone’s yard, we’d play chase and hide and go seek. One evening we were playing in our next door neighbor’s yard when the lady came out and yelled, “Get out of my yard and stay out!” Mother was inside but came out and told us to get back in our own yard. I didn’t know what was going on because they had been real good friends. Not long after that happened, we went outside one morning and noticed that they had packed up and moved out in the middle of th e night. I remember Mother telling us that they moved because bill collectors were after them. That didn’t make sense to me at all. I had never forgotten those horrifying and confusing events that happened while we lived in Sandersville. After I became an adult I asked one of my close relatives if he knew who the man was that kept running around our house years earlier. He told me that all he knew was that Mother was having an affair with the man next door and he called the man’s name. About 3-4 years ago, I went to a big family cook out and I got to see a lot of relatives that I hadn’t seen in years. I had a chance to talk to one of my cousins who’s several years older than I am. I took the opportunity to ask her about the man who ran around our house. She told me the same thing that my cousin had told me several years earlier but she had additional information. She said it was the man next door and he would come to our windows trying to locate Mother in the house to see if it was okay for him to come i nside. I had finally learned the truth and it all made sense t o me now. I remembered the night I caught Mother in the bed with a man, how she lied to us about my Dad not caring about us and I remembered the terror we went through. I had instant flashbacks of that period of time. She started accusing me of being a liar and a troublemaker when I was 6 years old and she still does to this day. Over the years I asked Mother about the events in Sandersville and she gave me a different lie every time. When I learned the truth, I’ve never mentioned it to her. What’s the point? Besides, the most important thing, my reality was being validated, finally. I had spent years searching for some type of validation. Eventually, my Dad was transferred to Louisiana and we bought a mobile home and moved there. I was a long way from Grandma and I didn’ t know where Dad was and I wondered if they knew where we were. I’d lay in bed at night with a lot of questions going through my head. “Does Grandma and Dad know where we are?” “Would I ever see them again?” “What is Mother up to?” “If we moved because of Dad’s job then why isn’t he here?” I was so scared, very insecure and I didn’t trust Mother at all. I cried myself to sleep every night. To make matters worse, the people there talked “funny” and the kids at school made fun of the way we talked. It was like being in a foreign country. One day I decided I was going to walk to Grandma’s house. I didn’t care how long it took me. I thought if I could find the interstate that brough t me here, it would take me right back. I found it and I was on my way to Grandma’s house. It wasn’t long before a police officer stopped and asked me, “Where are you going”? I told him, “Grandma’s house”. He smiled and asked me, “Where does she live?” I t old him, “Mississippi”. He laughed and then asked, “How old are you?” I said, “Nine”. He told me that it was too far for me to walk and if I’d get in his car he’d take me. I was one happy child as I got into that police car . But of course, I wasn’t happy when I realized we were pulling into the police station. They called Mother but I couldn’t go home because I had to be “taught a lesson”. I spent the night at the police station. The next morning Mother picked me up and she was angry. She fussed at me all the way back home. I went straight to my room. A little while later Mother came in and told me that Grandma was on a Greyhound Bus and she’d be there the following day. I was so happy and excited. Mother wouldn’t let me go with her to the bus station. I stayed at the window looking for them to drive up in the driveway. When I saw her, I ran to her and w rapped my arms and legs around her. I was her shadow the whole time she was ther e. She was my security. I cried and cried the day she left. She promised me that we wouldn’t live there long and if we did, she’d be back. She was right but then again, she always was. We moved the mobile home back to Mississippi to live on my favorite aunt and uncle’s farm. We had a lot of fun with our cousins and other kids in the area. We played outside all day long. We had open pastures to play kick ball, softball, chase, and we’d make up games to play. The butane gas tank was our horse and we’d play cowboys and Indians. The picnic table was our stage and a stick was our microphone. We’d play “Hollywood.” I’d stand on top of the table and sing Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Donna Fargo songs while my cousins and siblings clapped and gave me standing o vations. We didn’t have toys but we had our imaginations. Our time was short there but that place holds my best childhood memories. In fact, it was the only time I felt like a child, I felt safe and secure. But it ended much too soon. Nannie (maternal grandmother) got sick with cancer and we had to move the mobile home to her house. I don’t know why we had to move because she and my Pawpaw only lived 5 miles away. We parked the mobile home in their front yard. Our front yard was their drivewa y our backyard was the road that led to the county garbage dump and our next door neighbor was a big manufacturing plant. We lived on a very busy 2 lane highway. I didn’t know my grandparents very well. We spent the night with them a couple of times. I remember sitting on the couch watching Lawrence Welk and listening to Nannie and Pawpaw argue over money. She was very hateful to him. On Sunday morning we had to watch the gospel show, “Jubilee” and then go to church. They were nice to us but not to each other. Nannie was a nurse and worked at the hospital in the next town over. It was common knowledge amongst the family that she was addicted to pills. It got so bad that she would steal pills and other types of medication from the hospital. Sometimes Pawpaw would wake up in the middle of the night and Nannie would be walking or I should say, stumbling down the highway and he’d have to go get her and bring her back. W hen she died, they found massive amounts of needles and syringes in her house. I remember her complaining because someone was stealing her pain pills. Nannie blamed Mother. Mother blamed her brother. I’ll have to go with Nannie on this one because he r son was rarely there. It was my job to sit with Nannie every day while Pawpaw worked. Mother said that she couldn’t because she had too much to do, but she didn’t do anything other than stay in the bed which is another reason why I believed it was Mother who stole Nannie’s medicine. Another thing, I didn’t understand why my sister wasn’t sitting with Nannie because she was Nannie and Pawpaw’s chosen favorite. At first, I didn’t mind but I didn’t know this would be day in and day out for the summer. I was only 10 years old and it got old quickly. She threw up a lot and it was my job to empty her “puke bucket”, and be at her beckoned call. She wasn’t supposed to walk by h erself because she was too weak and on powerful medications. But sometimes she wouldn’t let me help her and she’d fall. I wouldn’t know whether she just fell or fell dead and I’d run screaming to Mother. She’d run back to Nannie’s house with me and they would usually end up in a big argument. Nannie had her funeral dress picked out and hanging in her closet with the broach pinned to it. She’d make me take her funeral dress out just to look at it. Even though I’d cry and tell her that I didn’t want to , she made me and said I was being silly. She already had her funeral song picked out too. I’d have to play it almost on a daily basis. I still remember the name of the song, “At the Crossing” by the Crusaders and I still remember the words to that song. It was slow and very depressing. Her house was depressing, cold, dark and clammy even in the summer time. Her bedroom was next to the living room and when she needed me she’d knock on the wall. One day when I was sitting with Nannie I heard a lot of kids out in the yard. I ran outside and they were all getting ready to go swimming. So I ran over to the mobile home and asked Mother if I could go swimming with them. She wouldn’t let me go because Nannie couldn’t be left alone, she said. Mother was actually folding clothes and I promised I would fold the clothes and clean up the house when I got back if she’s let me go. Still, the answer was no. I was crying as I walked back over to Nannie’s house. I wondered if Nannie would let me go if I promised not to be gone too long. Surely, she’d be fair if I told her that my sister was getting to go. I asked her and her response was cruel, cold and very hurtful. She informed me that I didn’t need to go where my sister went. I needed to get some friends of my own and leave her alone. Further, she told me that my sister was pretty and had class and I was born on the wrong side of the tracks. Of course, my feelings were hurt and I cried even more. I spoke up and asked her, “You don’t think I’m pretty?” She glanced at the mirror and said, “You can see”. I was just a 10 year old child. I guess I was chosen to sit with her because my sister was too good for such a lowly task. Nannie’s cousins came to visit her one day and when they got there I was washing dishes. They couldn’t believe I knew how to wash dishes and clean the kitchen. They were all Pentecostal church goers and I heard them talking to Nannie in the bedroom. They were telling her how this cancer was her “cross to bear” in order for her to get to heaven. They went on to tell her how we all have to suffer and if God had not put cancer on her then she probably wouldn’t make heaven. They said this was God’s way of givin g her time to repent. For a 10 year old child, that scared the fire out of me. I went to the kitchen sink and looked out the window toward heaven and I said, “God, let’s make a deal, You leave me alone and I’ll leave You alone”. I was very confused when it came to God as I was growing up. Nannie’s religion had me convinced that God was a mean and angry God. He was waiting for any excuse to send people to hell and if we made heaven we had to suffer badly. On the other hand, Grandma’s religion talked about G od’s love for us and how He sent His only Son to die on the cross for our sins and all we had to do was accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Our sins would be forgiven if we asked God to forgive us and we’d go to heaven. My Da d never went to church. For a wh ile, Mother would be a Pentecostal believer, she wouldn’t wear make -up and she’d wear dresses all the time, no pants at all, she’d quit smoking , quit cursing and we’d all go to church. Then, at the drop of a hat, she’d go back to wearing pants, make -up, smoking and cursing. She’d send us to church or drop us off at church. Nannie’s cancer progressed rapidly and she had to go to the hospital. I’d go to school every day and after school I had to help with the household chores and eat supper. Then Mother would take me to the hospital to spend the night with Nannie and I’d do my homework there. The next morning I got dressed for school at the hospital and Mother would pick me up and take me home just in time to catch the school bus. I didn’t do that very long because the cancer escalated and I wasn’t allowed to see her. She passed away not long after my 11 t h birthday. I was sad when she died but not as sad as I should’ve been and I felt guilty about it. But it was a relief, not just for us but for Nannie as well . Mother was sad but not for a long time because she stayed doped up and in bed a lot. I thought we’d move back to my aunt and uncle’s farm but I was highly disappointed. I was even more surprised at how quickly Mother started wanting to move in Pawpaw’s house after Nannie died. Her brother wanted the house too and it created a lot of tension between them. Even though I was only 11 years old, I wondered if this was Mother’s motive all along. We moved there to help take care of Nannie but she spent very little time taking care of her. It was always something; always drama. Nannie’s medication caused a lot of it . Did Mother steal them? Did her brother steal them? Did Nannie take them and blame someone else ? Now it was over the house. I thought it was going to be a never-ending ordeal. Pawpaw’s favorite was Mother and Nannie’s favorite was her brother. Pawpaw was still living in the house and Mother was trying to get him to move out. Of course, she didn’t stop until she got her way and it was at the expense o f her relationship with her brother. I didn’t see him for a long time after that. Pawpaw moved out and we moved into his house. Not long after we moved in m y Dad stopped driving over the road and he got a job where he could be home every night. I loved him being at home more often. I can still see him walking up the sidewalk every evening and he would be so tired. When he'd put his hand on the door knob, I'd swing it open and give him a big hug. He’d start laughing and give me a big hug right back. Unfortunately, as time went by, not everyone was as glad as I was over Dad being at home more and it became more and more obvious. One morning I woke up and immediately knew something wasn't right . I hesitated a few minutes before getting out of bed. I got up and went through the house calling out everyone's name but no one answered me. Finally, I found my sister in our parent's bedroom lying across the bed. I asked her what was going on and she wouldn't tell me. I thought my Grandma di ed and began naming off different things. Finally, she told me that Mother would tell me when she got back home but she wouldn't tell me where Mother was at the time. I was scared and anxious as I walked the floor and kept looking out the windows waiting for Mother to come home. When she finally got home, she called my sister into the room because they wanted to tell me together. As I sat there shaking, they argued back and forth over who was going to tell me. Their behavior was very suspicious and childish. Finally, my sister told me that my Dad had tried to "go with her". I knew immediately she was lying, it was so very obvious. She told me that it happened when we lived in the mobile home. I asked her , “Why have you waited so long to say something about it?” She said, “Because you’re getting to the age that I was when it happened to me and I didn't want it to happen to you” She was lying and she knew I knew she was lying. I flew into a rage! I knew without a doubt what they were up to. I tried to run out of the house but they wouldn't let me and Mother told me that they were not finished. After I calmed down, Mother told me that Dad was going to jail and I'd never see him again. I started crying, screaming and hollering. I told them both that they were lying on Dad bec ause they didn't like him being a t home so much because they couldn’t do what they wanted to do anymore. I ran to my bedroom and locked the door. A little while later, I heard Mother talking to the sheriff on the phone. It was obvious that he refused to ar rest my Dad and Mother was furious. I could tell from her side of the conversation that he called her a liar and that he wasn't going to allow her to use his office to ruin a good man's name. Mother was livid. I was happy about that but I knew it was far from over. Later that day my brothers came home and she sat us down in the living room t o talk to us. But she didn’t tell my brothers what she told about Dad. She just said that Dad wasn't coming ba ck home because they were getting a divorce. She told us that if Dad came to the school we couldn’t talk to him. My brothers agreed without further explanation but I didn’t agree at all. I was so angry because I knew what she was doing, as usual; she was protecting her made up lies. Sure enough, a couple of days later, the school office got on the intercom and asked for my brother and me to come to the office. I knew my Dad was there and I ran down the hall. My brother and I got to the office about the same time and he refused to talk to him but I didn't. He just wanted to come by and check on us and we talked for a little while. My Grandma and my favorite Aunt was sitting out in the car and I walked out to see them. When they got re ady to leave I cried. I was so torn, hurt and angry. That evening when we got home from school my brother couldn’t wait to tell Mother that I talked to Dad when he came to the school . She was livid and told me to pack my clothes because she was taking me to my Aunt's house where Dad was staying. I went to my room and started packing my clothes. But Mother came in my room and told me that I wasn't going anywhere. The anxiety, uncertainty, anger and fear were more than I could handle and I was admitted to the mental health center for treatment. I stayed in the mental health center for 2 weeks. One day my doctor told me that my parents were picking me up that evening and I was going home. I was shocked and so confused. I was scared and I didn't want to leave because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I tried to get the doctor to keep me but he couldn't, he had no choice but to release me. Mother and Dad was there to pick me up around 6:00 that evening. They were back together and they were acting as though nothing had ever happened. I remember sitting in the backseat so scared and confused as they were in the front seat laughing and talking. To this day, they never said another word about it. However, later on someone did confirm what I already knew. My sister had lied on Dad because he was home more often and she couldn’t do what s he wanted to do anymore. But I won’t let my sister take all of the blame. Mother knew she was lying and supported her. It’s even fair to say that Mother put my sister up to it. She’s a notorious manipulator and instigator. I was enraged at my Mother and sister for what they tried to do. They’ve never had a mother and daughter relationship, they were more like sisters. The y found ways to get around my Dad, but I remained a problem for them, especially for my Mother. I was ashamed and humiliated by her “loose behavior.” One time when Dad and I were sitting under that big pecan tree having one of our long talks I said something to Dad that I just knew he’d backhand me for saying it but at the time I didn’t really care. I told him, “Dad, you won’t ever hav e a minutes peace until that whore wife of yours is 6 feet under”. I tensed up and waited for my head to get knocked off of my shoulders but it didn’t happen. He just dropped his head a little and never said a word. I know that it’s common knowledge in my hometown that I was in jail a lot when I was a teenager. I’d take the family car and a check for gas to go joy riding whi le everyone slept. Mother would call the sheriff and I’d go to jail. But I spent more time in jail for things I didn’t do just to cove r her or to get me out of the way. She refused to let me live with my Grandma where I’d be loved and accepted. B ut she enjoyed sending me away to group homes, detention centers, mental health clinics, jail and the training school. She did so for several reasons. She could play her all-time favorite role “the victim”; it put me in a bad light and her in a good light. She could get sympathy and attention as she commenced to telling people how she had tried and tried to love me and be good to me. The truth is, she had me out of the way and my Dad worked the majority of the time. I ran away from home a lot. I’d get punished for it and then get sent right back home. The juvenile judge, whom I loved, used to ask me why I kept running away. My probation officer used to ask me too but I couldn’t explain it, I didn’t even understand it myself. This is so indicative of having a narcissistic mother. My Mother befriended my probation officer so I couldn't talk her because I didn't trust her. I couldn't understand why my probation officer couldn't see what Mother was up to but then again, I knew Mother and I knew how convincing she could be. When it came to my Mother, it was all about control and power. Looking back, it's scary when I see how cold and cruel my Mother could be and how she enjoyed it. I went to the training school the first time for running away from home. Back then, non-violent juveniles could go home for 2 weeks during the Christmas holidays and if they stayed on good behavior they didn't have to return. I was one of the ones allowed to go home that year and my juvenile jud ge had already told the training school I didn't have to go back if I did well. Mother picked me up from the training school and we went straight home. But a couple of hours later she took me to my Grandma's house to visit and she was coming back to get me on Christmas Eve. So on that day I packed my clothes and waited on Mother to arrive. It was getting late and I called her and she told me that she was on her way. But I knew something wasn't right because of her attitude and tone. When she got there she handed my Grandma her Christmas present and then she handed me one. I was surprised but I thought she was letting me open one early. It was a watch that I had asked for but it wasn't a "Christmas Eve" gift, this was a "big gift". I was happy to get it and I put it on. When we got ready to leave, I kissed and hugged my Grandma and we drove away. I wasn't paying any attention to the route we were taking until we rode down the interstate for a couple of minutes. I looked out and I realized we were not heading in the right direction to go home. I asked Mother where we were going and to my surprise she told me that she was taking me back to the training school. I started crying and asking her what I had done. She told me that she wasn't going to allow me to talk to her like I did. I had no idea what she was talking about. I was confused but I started apologizing anyway. I was scared, crying and begging her to take me back to Grandma's house. She told me that I didn't have a choice because I was going back and tha t was final. When we got there it was already dark and the "on call person" met us at the gate. I started crying and begging Mother not to leave me there but she turned around and walked off without a word. As I was being escorted back to the cottage I tried to tell them that I didn't do anything to be sent back and I asked them to call my juvenile judge so I could talk to him but of course, that was out of the question. I was hurt, confused and so humiliated. This wasn't the first time and it certainly wasn't the last time that my Mother tricked me, falsely accused me and greatly abused her power and control over me. I can remember how Mother use to start on my Dad the moment he walked in the house from working 12 or 13 hours and he would be so tired. She would get furious if he didn't punish me like she thought he would. But day after day she'd start on him when he walked in the door and if he still wouldn't punish me she'd give my Dad and everyone in the hous e the silent treatment. We use to say that Mother was "on a spell". If that didn't work, she'd throw a fit. She would provoke him until he got so mad that he'd lose control and go into a blind rage. One particular time when this happened, he took me to the backyard and whipped me so long and so hard that I stopped screaming. I didn't have the energy to scream anymore and I thought he was going to beat me to death, literally. When I stopped screaming, he stopped whipping me. I had to climb up the back steps and crawl inside the house and to my bedroom. Mother stood there watching me as I slowly crawled past her. I had to slowly peel my jeans off as well as my other clothes. But the worst part of all is how Mother stood at the kitchen window watching everything and she knew I was taking her punishment. The next day I had to go to school and it was painful just to walk. Everybody at school asked me what was wrong and I made up some lie, I can't remember what I said but it wasn't the truth. I didn't feel the physical pain too much because the shame and humiliation was greater. Believe it or not, this has always been one of my Mother's favorite stories to tell and she would jump on every opportunity to tell this story. It didn't matter who she told it to but she seemed to be so proud of it. I knew she was enjoying every minute as she watched my Dad lose control of his anger and beat me until I had to crawl inside of the house. But she tells it her way to make herself look good. The truth of the matter is that I was taking her punishment and she knew it. She always had to keep the spotlight on me to cover what she was doing. Later on my Dad apologized to me several times and he even said to me that he should put his foot up her behind. Mother would deliberately p rovoke me to make me react, just as she would my Dad to get him to punish me. He rarely got mad but when he did, he’d go into a blind rage. Now that I've got a daughter, I can honestly say that I couldn't ever standby and watch her Dad beat her as my Mother watched it happen to me. She knew what she had done and she was proud of it . She never mentioned it to anyone in front of my Dad. When I became an adult , she still bragged about it to anyone who would listen. Finally I asked her to stop doing that and she promised that she would. But she didn't and she seemed to take even greater joy in repeating it. The physical pain had been over but she wanted to make sure the shame and humiliation never ended. In all fairness, she would tell embarrassing things about my youngest sibling too. He became one of her favorite targets after he got married. I used to feel so sorry for him, sometimes I’d leave the room and so would he. When we became adults, Mother would intentionally tell things about my youngest brother just to embarrass him. He called me one day and asked me to please talk to Mother about it because she had gotten worse. I did talk to her and again she promised she wouldn’t do it anymore. But at the next famil y gathering, she made a point to do exactly what we’d ask her not to do. I left the room I was so furious. It got to the point where he and I would read a book while everyone else talked. The neighbors up the highway had 3 children about the same age as my siblings. They all hung out together and I’d go to their house and play a game called “Trouble” with their Mother. One day after school, I went to their house. We were in the kitchen when Mother drove up with my sister and my brothers. They busted through the door, grabbed me and started dragging me out of the house while beating on me at the same time. My youngest brother didn’t participate; he just stood back and watched. I grabbed on to Mrs. ******* as she was standing at the kitchen sink and begged her to help me. She was supposed to be like a “Momma” to me but all she did was close her e yes and never even turned around. They continued to drag me to the car and forced me inside. We rode home where they continued to drag me and hit on me. When we got inside, they threw me down on the couch. My sister and brother held me down while my Mother beat me with a belt. When they finished I went to my room and waited on Dad to come in from work. I didn’t understand why Mrs. ******* didn’t d o anything to help me. She always talked about how much she loved me and she spent a lot of time with me. But I couldn’t think about that right now because I knew Mother would meet my Dad at the door and start in on him about me and I was right. A little while later I was sitting on my bed when he opened my bedroom door and walked in taking off his belt. I started crying and I told him, “Dad, I’ve been whipped for this one time already”. He stopped taking off his belt and said, “I didn’t know that, she didn’t tell me that”. He shook his head and turned around and left the room. I had bruises and belt marks on my legs, arms and back. To this day, I’ m not sure what happened other than Mother said that I left the house without permission and without doing what I was told to do. But I d idn’t even see her when we got in from school. I guess she was angry when she finally got out of bed and the house wasn’t cleaned up, clothes were still on the c lothes line, nothing was set out to thaw for supper and supper needed to be cooked. I usually cooked supper. By the age of 14 years old, I could put a full course meal on the table. I used to ask my sister, “What does Mo ther do all day”? The household chores would be finished by the time Dad came in and I often wondered if he thought Mother was doing it. In reality, it was me doing it. Mother stayed in the bed and if she wasn’t in the bed she was riding the roads. After we moved into my grandparent’s house, they added an extra bedroom and bath onto the house. The carpenters got the measurements wrong and it took a long time to build it because Mother starting having an affair with one of the carpenters. The man’s wife found out and she wouldn’t let him finish the job. He was under a contract so he had to finish it but his wife tagged along every day. Originally it was built for my Pawpaw and he did live there for a while but he didn’t like it and moved. It ended up being my Mother and Dad’s bedroom. The addition had its own private entrance. But it turned out to be not so private and a swinging door would’ve been more sufficient and quieter. My Dad left for work long before daylight and sometimes his job required him to haul mud at night and he’d have to work all night. On those nights, I’d hear the door opening and closing late at night. I’d hear a man’s voice and som etimes I’d hear several voices and sexual noises. One time I heard a man saying how pretty my sister was and how she took after her Mother. Then he wanted to know what happened to me. My Mother laughed and said that I took af ter my Daddy. They laughed. What he said next turned my stomach. He said, “My sister (of course he called her name) was as good in bed as her Mother.” There was even more laughter. As time went by, Mother got bolder and bolder. One morning I woke up before the alarm clock sounded. I got up to go to the bathroom and my sister’s boyfriend or I should say, ex -boyfriend came out of my parent’s bedroom and he was walking up the hallway. I said, “My sister isn’t here so what are you doing here?” He sneered and kept walking. A few minutes later I heard a truck crank up and I looked out of the window and it was him. He had graduated from high school by this time and now driving a log truck. A few minutes later the alarm clock went off and my siblings woke up. I wondered if Mother was coming out of her bedroom after being up most of the night. Sure enough, I heard her walking up the hallway and she went into the kitchen. She was making coffee when I walked in and asked her, “What was **** doing here?” She never turned around when she answered, “Oh he thought he was supposed to drive the school bus for me this morning and he came to get the keys”. I a sked, “Well, why was he in the log truck?” She quickly said, “Oh, because he was going to haul a load before it was time for the bus route”. I didn’t say anything, I just stood there. She turned around and looked at me with pure hatred in her eyes. I just walked out of the room. I was so disgusted. My Dad wasn’t a saint but in comparison to her, he was close. He worked a lot and he was a hard worker. But it wasn’t good enough for her. She’d write bad checks and when the sheriff’s office came to the house t o arrest her, she’d beg them to give her time to get the money and pay it off. They’d leave and then she’d run down to the Sawmill where Pawpaw worked and beg him for money. Most of the time, he’d give it to her. I remember a couple of times when he wouldn’t and she’d get mad and have to beg someone else. She wouldn’t go back home until she had the money in hand. She never had to suffer her own consequences and the more she got away with things, the more brazen she became. When I first started running away from home, the juvenile judge signed a court order for me to be hospitalized to have a host of tests ran on me. He had the doctors send the results to him and another hearing date was set. I had a team of 5 doctors that ran tests around the clock. I didn't know the results until we went back to court. The judge started off by saying that the test results didn't surprise him one bit and the doctors confirmed what he already knew. I'll never forget what he said to me, "There's nothing wrong with y ou other than you are a genius and you have no outlet”. After a few moments of silence he said, "There's a problem here but it's not you". He didn't know what else to do so he sent me home. Mother’s version is that it was her idea but it wasn’t, the juvenile ju dge court ordered my hospitalization. I appeared before him many times during my teenage years. He sent me to group homes trying very hard not to send me to the training school. The first time he had to send me he called me into his chambers. He repeated what he had said before, "There's a problem here but it's not you and I don't know what else to do". He looked down to sign his name on the court order and then he looked up again and he said, "This is killing me". I was in the training school when I got t he news that Mother was in jail for k illing a man. All they told me was some man broke in on Mother and she shot and killed him. (I would find out later that it didn’t happen that way at all). I was worried, scared and traumatized. I was so relieved when my Dad called me. He asked the juvenile judge to let me come home and he declined. He said that I was "safer" where I was for the time being. Of course, I didn't understand what he meant by "safer" but I would find that out later. I was released to go home from the training school not long before my Mother's murder trial started. I believed what I had been told until I got home. Mother acted like she was so glad to have me home and I wanted to believe so badly that things had changed and I relished every m oment of it. But it ended for me the day Mother sat me down to tell me her version "the truth" about what happened. Below is a portion of that conversation. I can remember it so clearly because I've lived with it for all of these years. I've tried to forge t it and do away with it but I've never been able to shake it. It's always "haunted" me. Many people have said to me, "I wish I knew what you know". Most of t he time, I'd smile and think to myself, "No hell, you don't". Mother: I want to tell you something but you've got to promise you won't get mad. If you get mad and say anything it could hurt me real bad. Me: I promise, I won't get mad and I won't say anything. Mother: We just found out that the sheriff is paying some woman to testify in court that she saw me at the man's (murder victim) house several times. Me: How will she say she saw you? Mother: She lives across the street from the man. Me: Why would she lie for the sheriff in court? Mother: She's one of his girlfriends. Me: Well, your attorney will be able to prove her a liar, that's so stupid and I look forward to seeing him tear her to pieces on that stand. Mother: You can't go to the trial because my attorney told me you'd make me look bad because you stay in so much trouble with the law. Me: Am I the only one who can't go? Mother: No, none of you get to go. It wouldn't look right if the others went and you weren’t there so none of you can go. It's all a bunch of lies and the truth will come out in court. Me: (crying) Are you sure? Are you all the way sure? Mother: Yes. The phone company has records of him making a lot of harassing, threatening phone calls to me. Me: They caught him? Mother: No, just a record of the calls. (Her answer raised even more questions and more doubt and I' ll explain why. A couple of years prior, we were getting numerous obscene phone calls. The phone company put a trace on our phone and we were told by the sheriff's department not to hang up the phone when he called again or the trace would be lost. So when we received another call, we did as instructed and the sheriff had the man in custody within 30 minutes) Me: They didn't put a trace on the phone calls like they did the boy who made the obscene phone calls that time? Mother: No. Me: Why not? All of this could have been avoided. Mother: Because the sheriff and **** was behind all of it. Me: Why? Mother: The sheriff was mad because I wouldn't go with him and ***** is jealous of me. She was going with the sheriff and the man who he put up to kill me. It was a set up. The "man" threatened to rape me and cut me up in little pieces and no one would recognize me” Me: He had a knife or something on him? Mother: Yes, but the sheriff is lying and saying the man didn't have one. Mother: The morning it happened I saw the man riding by real slow on the side road. Then he called me and told me he'd be here in 15 minutes to rape me and cut me up in pieces. Me: How did he know Dad wasn’t here or someone else? Mother: It didn’t matter because I had a gun. Me: (Horrified) Oh my God! Weren’t you scared? Why didn't you just leave? Mother: No, I wasn't scared, I had a gun and no one was going to run me out of my home. I called the sheriff's office and I told them if he got here before they did I would kill him. Me: As fast as the sheriff drives the man got here before he did? Mother: The sheriff was on the other side of the county. They said when my call went out over the radio he drove at a high rate of speed to get here. Me: He drives like that all the time, M omma. If he put the man up to killing you then why was he on the other side of the county? Mother: Because he was looking out for himself, it wouldn't look right if he was right up the road when it happened. Me: Well, that doesn't make sense because he's the sheriff and he can be anywhere in this county he wants to be at any time without question. It makes more sense that he'd be closer by in case something went wrong. Did he make it here first? Mother: No, the deputy did. Me: Did he see the knife? Mother: Yes, and he's going to tell the truth in court. Me: He's going against the sheriff? He's going to make the sheriff a liar in court? Mother: Yes, he's going to do the right thing. Me: That's scary because he could end up dead too so he'll be in hiding for the rest of his life. Me: How did the man get inside of the house? Mother: Through the front door. Me: You didn't lock it? Why didn't you lock it? Mother: I was getting ready to vacuum and I took the rugs out and I forgot to lock the door. Me: What?? You were about to vacuum??? Mother: Yeah! A minute later and I'd be dead because I would’ve had the vacuum cleaner on and I couldn’t have heard him. Mother: It's a miracle I'm alive. Me: Where was the gun? Mother: On the dining room table and I just happened to be walking by it to go into the living room to vacuum. Me: Thank God you didn’t have the vacuum cleaner on. When we finished talking I went to my bedroom, I wanted to be alone for a while. I had questions swirling around in my head. I wasn’t there on that fatal morning, only God, Mother and the victim knows exactly what happened. However, I can honestly say that it didn’t happen the way she said it did. According to Mother, some unknown man had been calling her threatening to rape her, cut her up in pieces where no one would be able to even recognize her. That morning she saw this man driving slowly by the house and several minutes later he calls her to tell her that he’s on his way to rape her, cut her up in pieces and no one would even recognize her. She hangs up the phone and calls the sheriff’s office to report it and tells the dispatcher that if the man gets there before they do, she would kill him. Then, she starts doing household chores. She goes outside to the shed where the washer and dryer were located, and then she went back into the house. She gathered up the rugs and placed them out on the front porch so she could vacuum. She failed to lock the front door; she said that she had forgotten to lock it. Obviously, she was not afraid of her safety at all. I have to wonder if maybe someone else was with her in the house that morning. I know an uncle stopped by to visit with her that morning and she sent him home. My Dad wasn’t there and my Pawpaw wasn’t there either. It just seems very, very strange how she could carry on with her household chores, not locking the door and about to turn on a vacuum cleaner. We lived on a very busy highway beside a large manufacturing plant. Accordin g to Mother, around mid-morning, this man drove to our house, parked in the driveway, walked up the side walk and entered through the unlocked front door for the purpose of raping her, cutting her up in pieces where no one would recognize her. Mother said that when she walked into the living room the man was squatted down behind the couch. She said that she fired 3 shots and 2 of them were “warning” shots. The third shot killed him and when he fell his body was partially laying on the front porch. The location of the bullet to his head showed that he was trying to get out of the door and not coming toward her. I have to wonder if the man squatted down behind the couch when he walked in the door and saw a gun pointed at him. Mother was offered a plea deal and she refused it. She was convinced that she would never be indicted for murder. I remember when the indictment was handed down; there was shock, surprise and panic. When she realized she was going to have to go to court, she was convinced that she would never be convicted. The trial ended late one night when the jury came back with "justifiable homicide”. But the story doesn’t end there. A few days after the trial was over Mother told me that she wanted me to know that I helped save her life. She began by telling me that t he woman who testified that she saw Mother at the man’s house several times was caught lying. According to Mother, her attorney asked her to give 3 different dates and times when she saw Mother at the man’s house. One of the dates and time she testified to was on my birthday, it was a Saturday and she saw Mother there between 12:00 and 2:00 pm that day. Of course, the woman had no idea the date she gave was on my birthday. Mother reminded me that I was in the detention center on my birthday and she gave me a birthday party so there was no way it could've been her. Further, she told me that the woman described what she was wearing. She testified that Mother wa s dressed in all black. Then Mother went on and on about how she hated black and how she never wore that color, it was like she was trying to convince me, no it was more like she was trying to brainwash me. Mother was right; I was in the detention center that year on my birthday. She did bring a cake but it was hardly a party. She arr ived around 10:30-11:00 a.m. with my probation officer. I was shocked and embarrassed by the way she was dressed. Again, Mother was right; I had never seen her wear black, that is, until that day. She wore a black long sleeve turtle neck shirt (she always hated turtle necks too), black pants with dark colored boot s. Her hair was styled differently and she had on so much make-up that you could write your name on her face. She was dressed like she was going out bar-hopping, not to a child's birthday party. It was still summer time and still very hot which is another reason why her attire was/is so easily remembered. I was wondering how she left the house looking like that because it was a Saturday and my Dad was at home. So, I asked her where was Dad. She told me he was watching football games. That made sense because he loved football. He'd be glued to the TV and sometimes 2 radios listening and watching the games. I wondered where my sister was and I asked her that too. She said that she was at work. I wondered if she left home in jeans and then changed into her "all black costume" when she got to my probation officer's house. Mother didn't stay long at all; she left before 12:00 noon because she was already gone when they served lunch. She was not there practically all day as she claimed to be. The woman testified that she saw Mother at the man's house between 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m. That woman did not lie on that stand in court. Within the past couple of years, I found out one of my close relatives used to date this woman’s son and she knew the family. I asked her to tell the woman that I know she wasn’t lying in court about my Mother because I saw her the same day she did and Mother was dressed in all black. My relative got the chance to tell her and the woman raised her hands to the Lord and said, “Praise God, I’ve been waiting on this for years and years. She went on to tell my relative how her life was a living hell after that murder trial and how people treated her because she was “proven to be a liar”. That’s not true, she was telling the truth. Mother had another thing she wanted to tell me. She said that my probation officer testified on her behalf and validated her “alibi”. Me: What did she say? Mother: She said that she was with me at the detention center with you most of the day. They asked her what I was wearing that day too. Me: What did she say? Mother: (smiling) she testified that couldn’t remember. You know she wasn’t going to say anything against me. Me: (disgusted and angry) Yeah, I know. My probation officer was an officer of the court . According to Mother, she lied in court under oath. Her close friendship with my Mother was in itself unethical, irresponsible and greatly interfered with her ability to do her job effective ly. But in all fairness, I knew how Mother was and she was an expert at what she did. My probation officer was used and manipulated. Mother had to stay in co ntrol. I heard from several people in the legal system that my probation officer and my Mother were intimately involved. Within the past 5 or 6 years, Mother actually bragged to me that it didn't matter how many people testified against her or how many lied or told the truth because the jury was rigged. A female juror was having an affair with one of Mother's close relatives and they were both married. A "guilty verdict" was out of the question from the start. I wanted so badly to believe th e jury got it right but they didn’t get it right. It wasn’t justifiable homicide, it wasn’t self -defense and it wasn’t murder either. It was premeditated murder. They had been having an affair and I believe she set him up. It didn’t happen the way she said it did. I don’t know what happened but something went bad wrong. I don’t doubt that he could’ve been angry with her about something or vice versa or they could’ve both been angry at each other Mother's attorney went to great lengths for her , including but not limited to intervening and stopping a state attorney’s subpoena from being served on a potentially damaging witness against his client, my Mother. H e didn't charge her a dime. He represented her free of charge, money -wise anyway. They were seen together by more than one person. They had been caught at a hotel by at least one person that I know of. Her attorney had several partners in his law firm and I know of at least one other attorney she had an affair with. A short time after the trial, I came home earlier than Mother expected. I didn’t see Mother when I got home and she didn’t answer when I called her name. I went to her bedroom to see if she was in there and I walked in on her and my sister’s boyfriend. I took off running when I saw them and I could hear Mother yelling, “Catch her because she’ll tell her daddy and he’ll kill us”. I ran until I got tired and gave up. By the time I got back to the house Mother had called the law and falsely accused me of being incorrigible . The deputy had no choice but to take me to jail. He was very angry; he saw the boy pulling me by the arm and told him to take his hands off of me. When we were riding to the jail, we met my Dad on the highway in his company truck. I told the deputy who it was and I asked him t o turn around and turn on his lights so he would stop. I told Dad that Mother was having me sent to jail because I caught her and my sister’s boyfriend together and she was scared I’d tell him. My Dad looked at the deputy and asked him if I was telling the truth. He responded by shaking his head “yes” and then he told my Dad that the boy was there when he arrived to pick me up. I saw fury in my Dad’s eyes and he told me that he’d get me out of jail. When we got back in the car the deputy asked me if I thought he’d really get me out of jail and I shook my head, “No”. I explained to him that by the time Mother got th rough with him with her lies, manipulation and drama queen performance, she’d have him convinced that she was the vic tim. The deputy got so angry that he cursed a blue streak. I stayed in that jail for approximately 6 months for nothing; I didn’t do anything to be put in jail. I remember it was still summer time when this happened and that jail was smothering hot. I had to wet my bed sheets and wrap them around myself and it was even hard to breathe. They served breakfast around 6 or 7 every day and it consisted of hard toast, cold grits, a scrambled egg and a small coffee. I ate everything on my plate because I w ouldn’t get fed again until that even ing around 6:00pm.The supper meal was leftovers from the café across the street from the jail. I ate everything on my plate whether I liked it or not and I’d still be hungry. Sometimes a city police officer would sneak a hamburger to me. No one was allowed to talk to me; even the other ja il inmates couldn’t talk to me. I sat there day in and day out staring at gray dingy walls. So many times I thought I was going to lose my mind. The jail had the type of windows where I could see out but no one could see i n. Sometimes to keep from going crazy and to have a little fun, I’d yell out to people as they walked by. Sometimes I’d yell, “Watch it!” to startle them and it worked. I’d be laughing as they looked around trying to figure out where I was. There were times when some would stop and talk to me. Other times I ’d swing from the jail bars and make real loud monkey sounds or I’d sing real loud. But one of my favorite things to do was climb the bars and pretend to be a “Pentecostal preacher”. I’d yell out such things as “Repent!” and they would always jump and start looking around. If a lady walked by wearing pants and makeup, I’d yell, “You’re going to hell wearing that war paint and dressing like a man!” Needless to say, I had become desperate for human interact ion. Eventually, I didn’t even feel human. I felt more like a caged animal. One morning I was just looking out the window and I saw a man get out of a nice truck and walking toward the sheriff’s office. He looked just like Willie Nelson so I yelled out, "Hey Willie". He stopped and we talked for a little while and one of his first questions to me were, "Why are you in jail?" I told him the truth, “Because I caught my Mother with my sister's boyf riend and she called the law to take me to jail so I couldn't tell my Dad". But on the book, it states that I'm incorrigible. He didn't believe me so I told him to just ask them in the sheriff's office and they'd tell him. He said okay and walked on insid e. A little later he came back out and stopped at my window. I asked him if he thinks I was still lying and he said, "No" but I still can’t believe it”. He went on to tell me that he was in the oil business and he was on his way back to Texas. I told him that I wanted to go because I'd always wanted to go to Texas. He said that he would let me go with him if he could. Then I gave him my Mother's name and phone number and told him to ask her if I could go and I promised she wouldn't hesitate to say it was okay. He left shaking his head and I thought I'd never see him again. Several days later, the sheriff told me that I was being released and that somebody named Willie would be there to pick me up around 6:00 am. I was shocked and excited to be getting out of that cage. Honestly, I really didn't believe Mother would actually let me go to Texas with a stranger and I knew my Daddy wouldn't let it happen. But by the time 6:00 a.m. rolled around, I was excited to be getting out of jail but I was scared too. I was released from my jail cell and I waited for them to pick me up. At 7:00, they still were not there so I went inside and called Mother. She informed me that her world didn't revolve around me and they'd be there when they got there and she hung up the phone. I waited till 8:00, and I tried to call Mother again but she had taken the phone off of the hook. So I went back outside and I saw a relative going into the courthouse and I asked her if she'd take me home and she said she would. As we were riding down the highway, we met "Willie" in his truck and no one else was with him and that was puzzling to me. Anyway, when I got home Mother was furious when I walked in the door because "Willie" had just left to go pick me up and I should've waited. I went on to my room and started slowly packing my clothes. I was still packing them when I heard "Willie" in the living room. About that time Mother busted through the door and told me that it was time for me to go now. When I told her I was almost through packing she said something that would later chill me to the core. She told me that I didn't need to take any clothes and I could get some more when I got to where I was going. When I realized that she was truly going to let this happen, I got scared and started crying and begging her not to make with go with him. She informed me that I could go back to jail or go with him. Further, she made me promise that I'd forget I had a family. She made me promise that she would never see me again. I tried to hug her and she kep t her arms down by her side. I wouldn’t take my eyes off of her as we pulled out of the driveway. “Willie” and I didn’t talk at all. But a s we were coming into the city, I couldn't hold back my tears any longer and I busted out crying. "Willie" tried to console me and get me to stop crying but I couldn' t. He became very angry with me. He grabbed me from the back of my head and shoved my face into the dashboard while telling me that my Mother was nothing but a whore . He said that Mother gave me to him and she wanted him to leave me in the woods with my th roat cut somewhere along the Texas highway. The more I cried the more he hollered and cursed. My nose was bleeding and every time I blinked my eyes my head pounded with pain. My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest and I knew I had to get out of that truck. Finally, I noticed he was slowing down, I looked up and he had to stop at a red-light. I waited until the truck slowed down more and I jumped out of the truck, rolled to the curb and started running. I ran to a phone booth and made an emergency call to Mother, surely she'd come and get me when she finds out what he had done and said to me. But instead she told me to get back in that truck because if I came bac k home I'd go straight to jail and she hung on me. I could see Willie circling the blocks trying to find me so I ran and hid behind a building. I was praying for a police car when I saw one pulling up to the red-light on the other side of the street. He saw me trying to flag him down so he turned on his blue lights to get across the street. I was frantic when I jumped in his car. As I was trying to tell him what was going on I saw "Willie's" truck turn the corner and I started screaming, "There he is!" “There he is!” over and over. The police got on his radio, gave a description and the location of the truck. We waited until they pulled him over and then we went to the police station. I was bleeding from my nose, head, elbows and knees. I went to the bathroom to get cleaned up; there was blood everywhere. The police wanted to take me to the hospital but I wouldn’t go. The police asked me questions and I told him everything that happened. I was so humiliated and ashamed. I didn’t want to tell him that my Mother was behind it. What would they think of me? What kind of person am I that even my own Mother didn’t want me? When we were finished, the officer got up and told me that he'd be right back. I sat there for a pretty g ood while before he came back in the office. I remember the first thing I said to him, "I know you don't believe me". He responded, "I didn't until I went in the other room where "Willie" is being questioned and he's telling the same story you just told me ". But the officer was still having a difficult time believing my own Mother was involved. He told me that he was going to call Mother and tell her about this. I told him to go ahead and call if he wanted to but it wasn't going to do any good because she doesn't care. He called her and I heard him identify himself and then he told her the call was about her daughter. I saw a shocked expression on his face and the call was over. I asked him what she said to him . He said the moment he told her who he was and who he was calling about she asked him, "Is she dead?" He started shaking his head. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, “I didn’t sign up for this”. “You’re just a child, how could a Momma treat their own child like this?” “Your Momma needs to be in jail”. I actually laughed and said, “Well, you can forget that because she shot a man in the back of the head and her Perry Mason lawyer got the jury to believe it was justifiable homicide”. He asked for the lawyer’s name and Mother’s name. I tol d him and he said, “That’s your Momma?” Once again, they didn't know what to do with me. I told him that I wasn't going back home because she would have me locked up again. They asked me if I wanted to press charges against "Willie" and /or my Mother and I declined. I knew it wouldn’t do any good; she’d get away with it if I did press charges. Besides that, back then it was unheard of to put your parents in jail. They released “Willie” with a warning, “If we see you again in this town, you’ll go straight to jail”. They kept me at the police station to give them time to escort him out of town. I had nowhere to go and the police didn’t know what to do with me. They ended up taking me to the county line and droppi ng me off. I walked down the highway trying to figure out what had just happened. Am I going crazy? Would Mother really do this? I knew without a doubt that my Dad didn't know about it. I don't know if “Willie” would've actually left me in the woods dead but then again, I didn't know this ma n, I didn't even know his real name. However, I did know my Mother and "I knew too much". As far ba ck as I can remember, people always told me that I knew too much. I had nowhere to go, no money, no car, no clothes and afraid of going back to jail , So I hitch-hiked all over the country with truck drivers. I chose drivers who were my Dad's age or older because they usually had a daughter or kids my age and I felt safer. I rode with a lot of truck drivers across this country and only one driver was mean to me. He wanted me to have sex with him for giving me a ride. I refused and told him to let me out, he pulled over and I got out. I was in Georgia and it was very cold with light rain and I didn’t have a coat. I remember thinking that I’d be better off if some psycho picked me up and killed me. I was so tired of my life and I didn’t see a way out. I finally got a ride with a truck driver. The first thing he asked me, “What in the world are you doing out here like this?” I just shrugge d my shoulders. He asked me if I was hungry and he stopped at the next truck stop and fed me. When we got back to the truck, I got warm with a full stomach and I got so sleepy. The driver told me that he had 8 hours of driving ahead of him and he told me t o get in that sleeper and go to sleep. He was an older man with a daughter about my age and I knew I could trust him. This is just another example of God’s provision and protection for me. I've had truck drivers stop at Wal-Mart and buy clothes for me or anything else I needed. Most of all, I always got fed, a warm place to sleep and I stayed out of the weather. Drivers even got bus tickets for me. Several times a driver would go to a truck stop and get on his CB to find me a ride. They'd even meet with the driver who agreed to let me ride with them to make sure I'd be safe. I watch shows such as Dateline, 48 Hours, Forensic Files and other similar shows and I always think of God and thank Him for His goodness and faithfulness to me. I shouldn’t be alive. I should be just another statistic. He took care of me. I realize now that Mother was hoping something would happen to me out on that road hitchhiking with total strangers but God has the final say. When I was 17 years old, I went to jail for stealing a car and I got out on bond. While out on bond I stole another car and went back to jail. They took me before a judge to get me certified as an adult so I could be tried as an adult and go to prison. I never dreamed I’d go to prison. The judge ruled in their favor and in the eyes of the law, I was now a 21 year old adult. I went to court for the first car I had stolen and I was found guilty. The day I went before the judge for sentencing , he started saying things to me that blew me away. He accused me of being a whore and he went on and on about how badly I treated my parents and what an awful and sorry human being I had been. I didn't understand this, I knew I was guilty and wrong for stealing a car but why was he belittling and humiliating me? I couldn't beli eve what he was saying to me. Then, I saw her, Mother was there. She was staring at me with a familiar look, a look of pure hatred in her eyes for me. She had not attended my trial, she wasn't there for support or because she cared about me. Of course, I knew then why the judge was speaking to me like this. I wasn't in my home county and these people did not know me. As soon as the judge said, "I have no regret in sentencing you to 4 years in the state penitentiary" my Mother left the court room. I was very afraid, in shock and angry. The deputy walked up to me, got me by the arm and escorted me out of the court room and into the elevator. When the elevator doors closed, I lost it. I started screaming and beating the deputy in the chest. He threw his hands up and backed up against the wall to let me get it out. When the elevator doors opened, he tried to calm me down. When I looked up at him I saw tears in his eyes. I calmed down , buried my head in his chest and just cried. He took me to his office and I heard him tell the jailor to leave me alone. I sat in his office for a while and he came back in and handed me a cup of coffee. He sat down across the table from me and we didn't say anything for a few minutes. Then, he spoke up and said, "My job is to put away criminals; not children". We talked for a while and then he took me back to my cell. There was a somber mood throughout the department for a while. A few days later I left to go to my home county because I had stolen a car from one of my Dad's co-workers. It really didn't matter what happened because I had already been sentenced to the penitentiary. But we had to go through the motions anyway. It took longer than expected to pick a jury. My attorney asked potential jurors if they knew about my Mother's murder trial . If they did, he asked if they had a problem being a juror in my trial. Of course, they all said they knew about the murder trial. Most of them said that they would have a problem being a juror. I was a little taken aback when I saw how angry people still were when they were asked about Mother's murder trial. They finally got enough jurors. My trial started and no one from my family attended. During my trial, the man I stole the car from testified that he did not want me going to jail for stealing his car. He said that he and his wife had talked about it and they were going to give me the car as soon as court was over. He testified that he was more concerned about my safety than his car when he reported it to the sheriff's department. He never intended for me to go to jail. The state attorney asked him if he had given me permission to take the car and he said he had not and that's all that mattered. My attorney made sure the jury knew I was 17 years old, he repeated it several times before the jury left the court room to deliberate. It was a very casual atmosphere, during the breaks the state attorney would invite me outside to smoke a cigarette with him. This is certainly not your typical court room behavior. Of course, the jury wasn't out long at all and they came back with a "guil ty" verdict. The judge called me to stand before him and he sentenced me to 4 years in the state penitentiary to run concurrent with the original sentence. He apologized for having to do this. I was escorted down to the sheriff’s office. When we got back to the sheriff's office, I asked to use the phone before they put me back in the jail cell. He told me to sit at a table and use that phone which was right beside the door and then he walked out. A jail trustee walked by and I told him to swing the door wide open when he opened it. He asked me if I was going to run and I said, yes. He laughed and done exactly as I asked him and I took off running. I was caught about 30 minutes later and they brought me back to the sheriff's office. The sheriff was so mad and he was hollering and cussing. He told the deputy to get ready because he was taking me to the penitentiary right then. I really could not believe this was happening and even though I didn't show it, I was terrified. My favorite deputy was taking me so that helped a little. As we were walking out the door the sheriff got angry because the deputy had not handcuffed me. He was putting the handcuffs on me and he told me not to worry about it because he'd take them off when we got up the road. As soon as we made the county line, he pulled over, took the handcuffs off of me and told me to get in the front seat. We didn't talk at all for a while and then he told me that he had a close friend in the hospital that he wanted to stop and vis it for a few minutes. He asked me if I minded sitting in the car for a little bit while he visited with him. Of course, I said that I didn't mind at all. I didn't run. I had given up and accepted my fate. I had nowhere to run anyway, where would I go? Besi des that, this was my favorite deputy and it was pointless to get him in trouble. As we drove down the road, I started crying. The deputy looked over at me and I'll never forget what he said to me. "I'm taking the wrong person on this trip". I was actually relieved when he said that. When we got to the gate at the prison, the guard looked in the car and then asked, "How old is that girl"? That was everybody's reaction and not just from the prison officials either, the other inmates reacted the same way. The worst part about being there was the feeling of abandonment. I can count the visits on one hand and still have fingers left over. When you don't have a support system while being locked up, it makes fo r an even more miserable existence. I hated visiting days because I had to sit alone and watch everybody else as they visited with their family and friends. Back then, it didn't matter what you were in prison for, all of the women were in one large camp. I was in there with murderers, child molesters, drug dealers, prostitutes, homosexuals and armed robbers. I saw things and I heard things that blew my mind. I was 17 years old when I got to prison and I was 22 years old when I flat -timed. I got out on work release and parole but I got sent back for violatio ns. I'd be sent home every time and it never lasted. So with nowhere to go and no job skills I really didn't have much chance at making it without being sent back. The first time I was released I was sent home but I didn't stay long at all. My parole officer helped me get an apartment and I was looking for a job. One night I walked down the street to a festival the city had every year. As I was walking, a car stopped to ask me for directions. I walked over to the car and as I was telling him the route to take he grabbed and forced me into his car. He took me to the stockyard, raped me and then he threw me out of the car on the side of the interstate. I was crying “I want my Daddy” and terrified but glad to be alive when a car pulled over. It was a man and I wouldn't get in the car with him until he pulled out his police badge; he was an undercover cop. I told him what had happened and he actually discouraged me about pressing charges. He said that he had seen girls get raped all over again in court. I wouldn 't have pressed charges anyway because the man's tag was an Alabama tag and I didn't get the numbers. The undercover officer took me to a phone booth and I called my Mother. I was crying so hard that she couldn't understand me. Finally, she told me that i f I didn't stop crying she was going to hang up on me. I finally stopped crying enough for her to understand me. I said to her, "I got raped". She responded, "Oh shit" like I was lying and hung up on me. I was angry with myself for calling her to begin with. The officer took me back to my apartment. After that, I really didn't care what happened to me. A month or so later I was back at the prison. When I was 19 years old I got out of prison on parole and ended up pregnant. I was standing at the bus station to go to New Orleans where my boyfriend was waiting for me when a cop pulled in and ran a check on me. My parole was violated because I was trying to leave town without permission and I was locked up. Mother knew I was pregnant and she had been on me to ge t an abortion and I wouldn't do it. So I was pregnant when I went back to prison. I was seeing the prison psychiatrist and one day when I went in for a visit he started talking to me about getting an abortion. He explained to me that it was the best thing I could do for myself and the baby. I was about 3 months pregnant and I didn't want to get an abortion. He went on to explain to me that it wasn't a baby yet, it was just a "glob" but if I waited much longer it would be too late. I finally gave in and an appointment was made for me in Jackson. When I got to the clinic I had to complete a lot of paperwork and then they called me to the back for the procedure. The pain was horrendous and I was screaming to the top of my lungs. Twice the doctor got angry with me for screaming and moving and he told me the second time that if moved one more time he'd stop in the middle of the procedure and send me back. I asked if they could give me something for the pain and I was told that the prison didn't pay for me to have medication. I have never seen so much blood in my life and it was horrifying. I saw it all, even the bucket at the end of the table. At some point I must have went into shock because I couldn't scream or move. I was treated worse than a yard dog. I wanted the baby and so did my boyfriend; all of this was so uncalled for. I went back to the prison where I had to stay in bed for several days. I had just turned 22 years old w hen I was notified that I was being released from prison, it came as a surprise. I called Mother but she wouldn't accept the charges until I told the operator it was an eme rgency. When she accepted, I told her that I was being released and she responded with a question, "What's the emergency?" I told her I was getting out and I needed her to come and get me. To make a long story short she let me know that she couldn't drop e verything she was doing just to come and get me. When I told her I didn't have a way home, she let me know that she didn't take me up there and she wasn't coming to get me. She let me know that I couldn't come home and she hung up on me. I was humiliated a nd ashamed when I hung up the phone. Now what was I going to do? I didn’t want to be released. I had nothing and nowhere to go. I stayed with one of the prison officials for a few days and then I took a bus to Jackson. I was downtown, it was very cold, alm ost dark and I only had the clothes on my back. Desperate, I called Mother and I explained my desperation and I asked her to please let me come home and she hung up on me. I sat down in that phone booth and cried. I was scared, alone, no car, no money, no clothes and nowhere to go. As I sat in that phone booth, I looked up and saw a street sign, I was on the corner of Capitol and Farish Street, the red light district. I remembered the pimps who used to visit their “working girls” in prison and to check out potential “working girls” I remembered a pimp who came to the prison to visit one of his “girls” and he told me the name of the apartments he lived in on Capitol Street so I started walking down Capitol until I came to the apartments. I had to do what I h ad to do if I was going to survive. It was about 2-3 months later when I found out that I was pregnant but I kept working until I started showing. I didn't know what to do, I didn't know who the father was but I did know I was not going to have an abortio n. One evening I was in a hotel room and I was sick, hungry, and pregnant and out of money. I lay there on the bed crying out to God for help. The phone book was open to the yellow pages where I had been looking for places to call. I saw a listing for a place called "Beginning Again in Christ" and I didn't have a clue who they were or what they offered. But suddenly, a peace came over and I called the number. It was a ministry designed to help people who had just gotten out of prison. They asked me to come in and talk to them the next morning. I walked until I found the building. The people were super friendly and so willing to help me. They gave me a place to lie down and rest while they found me a place to go. A few hours later they told me t hat they had talked to a pastor and his wife and they agreed to take me in and they came and picked me up. They took me to their home which was a 2 story ranch style home and it was beautiful. Ii was located in the woods surrounded by beautiful trees, shrubs and flowe rs. I remember thinking later that night that one day I was crying out to God for help in a rundown hotel room and the next day I'm in a nice 2 story home with real Christian people. The y accepted me without judgment and they were truly interested in my we ll-being. My past was my past, they were concerned with my present and my future. A couple of months before the baby’s due date, I called Dad and my youngest brother answered the phone. He told me that they were in town and he had a basketball championship playoff that night and he asked me to come watch him play. I asked him if he really wanted me to and he said yes. He told me to tell the people at the door that I was his sister and I could get in free of charge. I was excited! A friend agreed to take me. When I got there I did just as my brother told me to do. They told me to hold on and they ’d go check with him about it. A few minutes later the boy came back and told me that my brother said he didn't have a sister named Lecia. I thought he was joking so I laughed and asked him to tell my brother to come to the door. The boy left and he came back a minute later and he told me the very same thing. I realized then that this was no joke. Humiliated and hurt, I didn't know what to do; I was standing there with people looking at me. My friend that brought me had already left going back home. I went ahead and paid my way in because I knew Mother and Dad would be there. They were there but they were mad at me for being there. They were embarrassed and ashamed of me for being pregnant and I didn't understand that until later that night. A little while later my oldest brother showed up and he was mad too. I couldn't figure out why they were acting the way they were, after all, my brother himself invited me and want ed me to be there or so he said. As I watched the game, I felt like everyone in that gym was looking at me like I was some kind of freak show or something. At one point, I went to the concession stand to get some hot chocolate and when I went back Mother and Dad had moved to a higher seat. They knew I was deathly afraid of heights. So I sat down on the 3rd bleacher and after a while this lady came over to me and told me there was a sign on my back and she couldn't let me walk around with it any longer. She took the sign off of my back and it said, "Please don't feed the monkey". She described the person that put it on my back and I knew it was my oldest brother. I laughed it off like a joke but we both knew better. That's when I figured out why they were al l so mad about me showing up at the game. They had told everyone that I was having a black baby. I guess they assumed that because I was giving her up for adoption. When the game was over, Mother told me that they were in the truck and didn't have room for me because they had my brother's stuff in there too. She said that my oldest brother had gone to the store and that he was coming back by to pick me up. I was still standing there waiting on him long after everyone was gone. Finally he came by and stopped but when I was about to open the car door he took off. He did this several times until I just didn't go to the car anymore. He drove away and left me. I was walking down the road on my way to my parent's house about 20 miles away. As I was walking down t he road the local town police officer stopped and asked me where I was going. He said that he could take me because he wasn't going to leave me out there by myself. He took me to Mother and Dad's house, waited until someone answered the door and then left. They were not happy at all to see me. I explained to them what happened and they told me I should've gotten in the car with my brother. He wasn't home yet, no one was there except my parents. When my youngest brother got home I heard him telling my Mother how I had embarrassed him and if I stayed there that night he was leaving. That's all it took, they made me leave even though it was close to midnight. I slept in their truck that night and hitchhiked back home. Of course, I realized that my brother invited me hoping I wouldn't accept his offer. The baby was due in November and my pastor and his wife had some real close friends who pastored a church in Florida and there was a couple who wanted to adopt her. So everything was in order when the baby was bor n. I had to have a Csection because the baby was turned wrong. After I woke up from the surgery, I called Mother and Dad and told them that I had a little girl; it was a very short conversation. But the following morning, about 5 minutes after they brought the baby to me, Mother and Dad came in and I didn't even know they were coming. Mother held the baby first and then she handed her to Dad. The moment he held her he started crying, not just tears running down his face, but really crying. He looked up at me and he asked me if I wanted to bring the baby home and let them help me with her until I got on my feet. This shocked me; I wasn't expecting that at all. I told Dad that I had already made the arrangements for her to be adopted but that I would think a bout it. Later that night my sister called me. She was telling me how Mother was bragging on the baby about how pretty she was and she wanted to come and see her too. So the next morning they came to see me but when they got there the nurse had already taken the baby back to the nursery. They wanted to go and see her so I called the nursery and told them that they had permission to see her. I couldn't go with them because I couldn't even get out of bed yet due to the C section. They left the room and then came back about 15 minutes later. I was excited about them coming because I was seriously thinking about taking Dad up on his offer. The moment they walked back into my room I could tell something was wrong. As they stood by my bedside, Mother was very ha teful when she asked me, "Is that a nigger baby?" I answered, "I'm giving her up for adoption so what diffe rence does it make"? My sister slapped me across the face and said, “Don’t you dare talk to my Mother like that”. I was helpless; I couldn't even raise myself up to go to the bathroom. They left the room without saying another word. I was devastated. Later that evening I wanted to talk to my Dad so I called home. Mother answered the phone and when I asked to speak to Dad she refuse d to let me. She kept asking me what I wanted to talk to him about. Then she told me that she didn't care what Dad had said and if I thought for one minute that I was going to bring that nigger baby home I had another think coming. She went on to tell me t hat I had brought enough shame to the family and they couldn't even hold their head up because of me. She hung up on me. But later that evening she called me back and told me that my oldest brother was coming to Jackson and he wanted to come by and see me. I questioned her about it and she assured me that I'd be glad he did so I said okay. The next morning he showed up and he was very hateful. He pulled out his check book and he asked me how much would it take for me to just disappear. Before I could say anything he said he’d pay for me to go anywhere I wanted to and I could never contact my family again. Hurt and stunned, I told him I didn't need any money because I had a place to live. He got very angry and he told me that I was not bringing that nigger baby home and he'd kill me if I did. I told him to leave. He spit in my face and walked out. Mother knew all about this when she called to tell me that he wanted to come and see me. I gave the baby up for adoption and when they came to pick her up I knew I had made the right decision and I was at total peace. The adoptive mother and I communicate over Facebook and I'll be forever grateful to her for taking care of our baby girl who is on my friend's list on Facebook as well. For what it's worth, her race is not black and it wouldn't matter to me if she was because she is a beautiful lady now. Now she has 5 children, 2 of them are twins. I met and spent the day with all of them a few days go. God is so good. The following January after the baby was born, my Mother called me and told me that my sister and oldest brother were coming to Jackson and they wanted to take me out to eat. I asked her if they were still mad at me and why they wanted to do that. I told her that I only had a part time job and I couldn't afford to eat out. She assured me that everybody wanted to let bygones be bygones and they wanted to buy me lunch. She finally convinced me to accept the invitation, against my better judgment. The next morning as I waited on them to pick me up Mother cal led me and wanted me to have my brother call her when he got there. They were running late so Mother called me back to see if they were there yet and about that time I saw them driving up the driveway. I had answered the phone in my pastor’s office so I laid the phone down to go get my brother. When he came inside he went to the office and answered the phone and I picked up the phone in the dining room. It was a strange conversation. Mother was telling my brother to make sure he wouldn't get caught because it wasn't worth it. I didn't know what all of that meant but it concerned me, deeply. I started not to go but I thought I was letting my imagination run away with me. When I got in the car my sister and a friend of my brother's was in the back seat. Everyone was nice to me, my brother included. We had to take my sister to the airport and then we went to Burger King. We went to the drive thru and my brother ordered for himself and his friend. When the girl asked if that was the entire order, my brother said there was another order but put it on a separate ticket. He looked at me and asked me what I wanted and I told him just a glass of water. He kind of laughed and asked me if I was broke. He ordered the glass of water and when he gave it to me he told me to get out and sit there at Burger King while he went to pick up his new uniforms for work. As I was sitting in Burger King waiting for them to get back I started to call someone to come and get me but I was too embarrassed, I didn't want anyone to know how I was being treated. When they got back I started to get in the car and his uniforms were lying in the front seat passenger side so I got in the back where his friend was sitting. As we were going down the road my brother told me to get up fr ont with him because he didn't like me being behind him, I thought he was joking and I continued talking to his friend. All of a sudden, my brother slapped me and grabbed me by the hair of the head and pulled me up front. Then he started hitting me and it got so bad that his friend told him that he wasn't going to be a part of this and he made my brother stop and put him out on the side of the road. I was getting scared. Then when my brother didn't turn on the road to take me home, I was beyond scared. He took me a long way back into the woods and pulled over on the side of the road so he could go to the bathroom. I had to go too but he went first. When he came out of the woods I went to go to the bathroom and I went further into the woods than I would have under ordinary circumstances. Suddenly, I heard someone walking toward me and I looked up and it was my brother with a gun in his hand. I saw him before he saw me and I took off running as fast as I could back to the road. I was running down the road when I saw a pick up trucking coming and flagged him down. I told him someone was trying to kill me and he took off as fast he could. He took me home and no one was there. I ran inside, locked all of the doors and called the police. Before the police got there my pastor came home and I told him what was going on. In the middle of me telling him, my brother drove up. My pastor went outside and my brother handed him my purse and drove off. When the police got there we didn't make a report but we should have. Ther e were bruises and marks on my neck where my brother had attacked me in the car. It was a nightmare. I knew then what the telephone conversation between my Mother and brother had been about earlier that morning. Why? Why were they doing this? I was doing well and I was leaving them alone. But that wasn't enough for Mother, she wanted me gone permanently. But I couldn't prove anything because everything she does is deniable. The whole matter was so farfetched that I questioned my own sanity. A few months later my pastor and his wife decided they were going to another country to live and minister. They talked to me about possibly moving back with my parents until I could get a job. I knew it would never work and I tried to tell him how my Mother was toward m e. He told me that he had already talked to my Dad about it and he assured him that it would be okay for me to come home for a while. Even though deep down I knew it wasn't going to work out I thought if I showed Mother how I had changed she would be diffe rent toward me. They took me to my parent's house, Mother was there but Dad was working. I knew when I walked in the door she was mad but I still kept thinking that when she saw I had changed she'd be okay. When Dad got home he was glad to see me and gave me a big hug. I looked at Mother and she had that loathing look in her eyes for me, a look I'd seen many times before. Mother was working at the hospital at that time and the next day she came home early before my Dad got home. When she got there she told me to sit down because she needed to talk to me about rules. The rules were as follows: I couldn't use the phone at al l, I couldn't even answer it. I couldn't use the washer and dryer. I couldn't eat anything in the kitchen; I had to buy my own food. Keep the house spotless Do the laundry; wash, dry, fold and iron. Get a job Bedtime was 9:00 pm I’d have a chore list ev ery morning. She gave me permission to walk across the street to the convenience store so I could buy something to eat. I had enough money for a loaf of bread, small package of lunchmeat and a 2 liter Coke. My oldest brother worked off shore and it was time for him to go back to work, but he didn’t. He took great pride in telling me that Mother asked him to stay home so he could run me off. He almost succeeded but I wanted to show them that I wasn’t the same person as I used to be. One day I was in the dining room area ironing clothes. My brother opened the refrigerator and drank some my 2 liter Coke. I told him that I couldn’t buy any more and I needed it. He smirked and poured some out of the floor and then made me clean it up. I called Mother at work a nd asked her to tell him that I didn’t have anything else to drink. She let me know that he could eat and drink anything he wanted to and then chewed me out for using the phone. One day, Mother, my oldest brother and I were sitting in the living room when he told me to get him a glass of tea. I didn’t jump fast enough for Mother so she asked me, “Didn’t you hear him tell you to get him some tea?” I did as I was told to do. He was very abusive toward me. One time I was standing at the kitchen sink and for some reason he hit me just as hard as he could in the back. Then he got a wet towel, twisted it up and hit me with it several times. The verbal abuse was just as bad. I can’t remember how I got a job but I did. It was a part time job at one of the convenience stores in town. I was excited to start because it had a deli. When I told Mother, she said, “As long as it doesn’t interfere with the rules. ” When I told my Dad he was proud of me. One afternoon my oldest brother called the store and asked me to bring him home a carton of cigarettes and he'd pay me when I got home. Against my better judgment I carried him a carton. The next day as I started to work I asked him for the money and he told me that he had already been to the store and paid for them. When I got to work, my boss said he needed to talk to me before I clocked in. He told me that my brother came to the store earlier that day and brought back a carton of cigarettes claiming I stole them. I couldn't believe it and I started crying because I thought I was going to get fired. When I started to tell him what happened, he told me that the cook had already told him. She also told him how my family treated me. He didn't fi re me but I couldn't run the cash register anymore. It was freezing cold and sleeting one day and I had to go to work but I didn't have any clean clothes to wear. I was home alone for a while so I was going to hurry and wash and dry some clothes. I got my work clothes dried and I put the second load in the washing machine. I got busy getting ready for work and forgot about the clothes in the washing machine. A couple of hours after I got to work my brother came to the store and said it was an emergency and I needed to come home. I rode with him and he wouldn't tell me what was going on. When I got home, Mother was there and she was angry about me using the washer and dryer. She had filled the washing machine with water with my clean clothes still in there. She made me get a garbage bag and I had to wring all of the water out of my clothes and put them in a garbage bag. Then I had to take them to hang them on the clothes line outside. It was so cold that they were almost freezing as I hung them out. When I finished I had to go back to work but I ha d to walk, they wouldn't give me a ride. The next day was pay day, I was getting my first check and the store cashed it for me. I was happy to finally have some money of my own. When I got home I was telling Dad about it and he was proud of me. However, w hen Dad left the room, Mother told me that I owed her some money for living there so I gave her almost all of my money. When I handed it to her, she asked me if that was all I had made. She knew how much my check was because she heard me tell Dad. I had to give her all of my money except for maybe $10.00. One evening, on my day off I was sitting in the living room while my 2 brothers, Mother and Dad were eating supper. My Dad called for me and told me to come and eat some supper and I told him that I wasn' t hungry and I'd eat later. He insisted that I come to the table and eat with them, so I got a plate out of the cabinet and sat down at the table. As I reached for a piece of chicken Mother picked up the plate and asked my 2 brothers if they wanted anymore and they said no. Then I reached for something else and she did the same thing. My Dad pushed back from the table and asked, "What in the hell is going on here?" No one said a word. He was very angry and he told Mother that I was his flesh and blood and he was sick of me being mistreated. I started crying and everyone but Dad left the table. I knew my time was extremely limited now. Dad had no idea about the rules Mother had given me, he didn't know about her taking my money and I didn't tell him hardly anything. I knew Mother and I was at her mercy. The next evening when I got off of work I rode to Waynesboro. I called my Dad and told him where I was going and I'd be a little late get ting home. He was fine with it, he just told me to knock on the door and he’d let me in. The following morning after Dad left for work, Mother started hollering at me to get out of bed and come into the kitchen where she was sitting. When I walked into the room, she told me to tell her where I wanted to go and she'd take me because I couldn't live there anymore. I asked her what I had done wrong and she said that I didn't go home straight from work the night before. I told her that I had called Dad and he said that it was okay for me to ride to Waynesboro and she responded, "Well, your Daddy isn't here, is he?" I told her that I didn't have anywhere to go and I begged her not to do this. I even got down on my hands and knees and was pleading and begging with her and she told my brother, "Come get her out of my sight". They were beating on me and pushing me out of the back door and threw me in the car. It was freezing cold outside and I only had on a nightgown and panties. Mother drove me to Laurel, she took the Chantilly Street exit and pulled into a Texaco station and told me to get out. I started crying and pleading with her again but she reached over, open the door, turned sideways and started kicking me out of the car. I was laying on the ground in a nightgown still begging her not to leave me there when she drove off and neve r looked back. I never told my Dad about this and I've often wondered what story she made up to explain to him why I wasn't there when he came in from work. A couple of years later my Dad wanted me to come home for Christmas. I told him to make sure everyone was in agreement and he got angry. He said, “You’re just as welcome here as the rest of them, if not more so”. I was working full time and doing well. I bought everyone a Christmas gift and rode a bus home. My oldest brother picked me up at the station. My brother stopped at a gas station and I had to pay for the gas. I had $20.00 for a bus ticket back home and I gave it to him. I didn’t think he’d get the whole amount but he did. As we were riding down the road I started a conversation: Me: I’m glad you’re not mad at me anymore. Brother: Nothing has changed. Me: Why did you pick me up then? Brother: So Mother and Daddy wouldn’t have to. Me: Dad invited me. Brother: No, you invited yourself and what was Dad supposed to say? No one wants you here. Now shut up you’re getting on my nerves. Me: Well, I’m sorry…… He cut me off and started hollering and cussing at me. Then he pulled ov er on the side of the road and beat on me. By the time we got home I had pulled myself together. I knew Dad wanted me there and I blocked everything else out of my mind. We ate dinner and Dad went to shower and everyone else went to the living room. I foll owed them and Mother told me to get back in the kitchen and clean it up. By the time Dad got out of the shower, I was almost finished with the dishes. He told me to join them and I did. We opened presents and I got one present. It was a beautiful red sweat er and I really liked it. As I held it up I saw a snag on it and Mother said, “I bought that sweater at a garage sale for twenty-five cents and everyone laughed. My Dad thought it was a joke but everyone else knew better. When we finished cleaning up the wrapping paper my siblings were getting ready to leave and Mother asked me, “When is your ride getting here?” I told her that I was going to spend Christmas there. She said that Christmas was over and I needed to call someone to pick me up. I had only been there a few hours and I lived over 2 hours away. I didn’t have anyone to call. My brother spent all of my money in gas and after buying everyone Christmas gifts, I didn’t even have money for a bus ticket. I knew Mother was giving Dad hell becau se he came to me and asked if I had someone to call. I knew I had to go so I told him yes and that I would walk to the payphone and wait for them there. It was dark and cold walking down the highway. My sister and her husband passed by and they wouldn’t stop. I was about to get into an area that was pitch dark and I got scared. So I went back and slept in Dad’s truck until daylight. I walked to the highway and hitch-hiked back home. Dad asked me to call him when I got home and I did. My oldest brother answe red the phone and he told me that Dad was asleep. I was about to hang up when he asked me, “Did you like what I put in your bag”? I told him that I had not unpacked yet and I’d go look and call him back. I opened my bag and found my favorite fruit, a bundle of bananas. I called him back and I asked him, “How did you know how much I love bananas?” He said, “I didn’t, those are for your little nigger baby, I’ve always wanted a maid so I need to take care of her”. I hung up the phone crying. It had been over a year since I gave my baby up for adoption and her race was not black. I know it’s hard to understand why I kept going back. It’s simple, I loved them and I blamed myself for the way I was being treated. I don’t think anyone can understand unless they’ve experienced the same thing and then we really don’t understand it ourselves. There’s so much that my Dad didn’t know because I wouldn’t tell him for more than one reason. I didn’t want to hurt him, I knew he’ d confront Mother and she’s so convincing in her lies that he wouldn’t know who or what to believe. Even if she convinced him that I was lying, he’d still pay the price just for confronting her. I was about 24 years old when I got married. He was very abusive man. We stayed together about 8 years before I filed for a divorce. He had been diagnosed with a rare lung disease before we married. His sickness and abuse grew worse over the years and I couldn’t take the abuse any longer. He died about 2 y ears after we were divorced. My Grandma passed away about the same time I got married. I was able to be with her when she passed away. I remember her lying on her hospital bed with an oxygen mask on and she wouldn’t take her eyes off of me. Through her ox ygen mask, I read her lips when she said, “I love you”. I smiled and told her that I loved her too. The love I saw in her eyes touched me deeply. Sadly, she passed away about 10 minutes later. After all of these years, I still miss her terribly. I was 32 years old when I had my daughter. She was born premature and she was very small. But she was beautiful. The hospital staff said that they had never seen a baby with her color of hair. My Dad named her and they were very close. As a matter of fact, she is just like him. She had colic and cried a lot when she was a baby. My Dad was the only one who could ease her pain and stop her from crying. He would sit her on his knee, hold her head with 2 fingers under her chin and bounce her. We all tried the same thin g but it only worked for Dad. On my 40 t h birthday an old friend called and wanted to take me out. So we went out and one thing led to another and I got pregnant. When I found out I was pregnant I went into a deep and dark depression. I remember lying on my couch and thinking to myself, “Now what are you going to do O enlightened one?” I hated myself. Suicide was a strong thought but not a possibility. Abortion was out of the question. Again, I cried out to God and suddenly His peace and comfort consumed the entire room. In my heart, I heard His small still voice say, “Right now, just forgive yourself as I have forgiven you”. I was already a single parent struggling to raise my daughter who meant the world to me. At first, I decided to keep the baby. I had gathered all kinds of newborn baby things preparing for her arrival even though I didn’t have peace about it in my heart. I had to take my emotions and desires out of the equation. The only 2 people who were important were my daughter and my unborn daughter. I had to do what was best for those two. Ultimately, I chose to give her up for adoption. It was a very heart wrenching experience for my daughter and for me. I know without a doubt that I did what God wanted me to do. How do I know that? Without God, I couldn’t have gone through with it. I realize that a mother giving their child up for adoption has a certain stigma to it. But I can tell you, it’s one of the most self -less acts of love a mother could ever do for her child. When people understand the tr uth about abortion, they will better understand the truth about adoption. I swore I’d never live in my home town again. But, “Never say never”. I had planned to stay where I was until my daughter graduated from high school. But due to circumstances beyond my control, we had to move. It was extremely difficult on my daughter because my hometown was over 2 hours away. She had gone to the same school for years and she had a very active social life. She hated leaving her friends and boyfriend behind. It took her awhile to adjust but she finally did. I knew we were back for a reason but I had no idea that this journey was leading me into the most horrific time of my life. The things that happened in the past paled in comparison to what I ha d in store. I had lived away from my family for years. I called and visited but that’s not the same as living there. I knew our family was dysfunctional but it didn’t take long for me to realize after living there for a little while that it was much worse than I thought. We were dysfunctional at being dysfunctional. We moved about 2 miles from my parents and my plans were to move away when my daughter graduated a year later. The best part about living there was my Dad. He would come over to visit me almost every day and when he didn’t come over, he’d called me. I miss hearing the doorbell ring and opening the door to him standing there with a grin on his face. Most of the time, I’d ask him, “Okay , who’s the flavor of the day?” He’d laughed because he knew what I meant. Before I moved back, Mother had convinced me that my Dad was obsessed with their first great grandchild. She used to call me every day complaining about the baby staying at their house so much but there was nothing she could do because Dad wanted the baby there all of the time. But, after I moved back, it became very clear very quickly that Mother was the one obsessed with the child. If the baby wasn’t with her, she cried all the time and when she wasn’t crying she was “sick” and stayed in the bed. Many times my Dad would visit me to get away from Mother and the baby because his nerves couldn’t handle it. I could see his health deteriorating as a result of trying to deal with a new baby there constantly. If Mother didn’t get her way with keeping the baby she’d call child protective services and make up reports on the baby’s parents. I finally got a call from them and they threatened to have me locked up for making false reports. Come to find out, Mother was calling them and using my name. They checked and every time Mother called them, she’d use my name but her phone number showed up on their caller ID. Ooops, I guess she didn’t think about *67. I’ve always known Mother abused prescription drugs but I didn’t realize the severity of her drug abuse until after I moved back. Dad called me one day and asked me to come over because he needed to talk to me. When I got there, he told me to be quiet because Mother was asleep and he didn’t want her to know I was there. We sat down at the dining room table so we could talk softly. Dad was in a good mood and he started off by telling me that Mother had flushed all of her pills down the commode and she wasn’t taking anymore. He went on to tell me that she had even cancelled her doctor’s appoin tment that day. I didn’t say anything but he read my expression and told me to look in the garbage can and see all of the empty pill bottles. I did and I was furious. I showed Dad the empty pill bottles and what kind of pills she had flushed down the toile t. It was medicine for things like indigestion, antibiotics, etc. none of the pill bottles were controlled substances. My Dad’s countenance fell and I wanted to cry. In addition, Mother had not cancelled her doctor’s appointment; the doctor she was seeing called her and told her that she had to find an other doctor because he wasn’t going to see her anymore. I didn’t tell Dad that because I wasn’t supposed to know about it. I didn’t call the doctor and talk to him but I know who did and I’ll never reveal their name. It didn’t matter anyway because she just got another doctor. Another day Dad called me and asked me to come over because he needed to talk to me. This time he wasn’t in a good mood. When he answered the door I knew he was disgusted. Like before, he told me to be quiet because Mother was asleep and he didn’t want her to know I was there. Again, we sat at the dining room table so we could talk softly. He started by telling me how strangely Mother was acting and described her behavior to me. He said that he didn’t know what she was taking but it was something real bad and he had never seen her like that before. I said, “Dad, she is taking Oxytocin, a very powerful and addictive pain killer”. He asked me, “Who gave her that?” I reminded him that he had just been to the doctor because of his severe pain with gout and the doctor prescribed him Oxytocin. He didn’t even know it. Before he could say anything, Mother came up the hallway and when she saw me she turned around. She was so high her eyes were glassy and she had to hold on to the walls to walk. Thank God that my Dad didn’t see her. Later that night my Dad called me and told me how Mother threw a fit because I was over there. I told him that I wouldn’t call him or go back over there so he could have a little peace. We both knew why she didn’t want me involved, as always, I knew too much. Every now and then I’d go check on my Dad. I’d walk in the door and I’d always find the house very quiet, Dad would be sitting in his recliner just looking out of the window and Mother would be in the bed. It didn’t matter what time of day I visited, it was almost always the same scenario. One day he told me, “The phone doesn’t even ring anymore and we never see anyone anymore either”. I felt so sorry for him; he had been stripped of everything and everybody that meant the most to him. He was miserable and his desire to live was fading away. The last Christmas before Dad passed away, my daughter and I were not invited to attend. Mother changed the name of Christmas to “Happy Birthday Jesus Party” and Dad hated it. Dad wanted his entire family together at Chri stmas. I’ve seen pictures of that Christmas and misery is written across his face and he wasn’t the only one. Several years ago I told Mother about a ministry that held a “Happy Birthday Jesus Party” for inner city homeless children. From then on, she took ownership of it as though she came up with the name and I was excluded. I mentioned to her where the name came from and she argued me down and swore she doesn’t remember me telling her. This is very typical of a narcissistic mother. The following February, I got a phone call one night informing me that my Dad had a major heart attack and he was in the hospital. Immediately I called Mother on her cell phone. She actually tried to minimize Dad’s condition, she said that Dad was doing better and they were pumping the fluid out of his lungs. I asked her what his doctor was saying and she told me that he’d be by the f ollowing morning and we’d know more then. She assured me that Dad was going to be okay. Then she said that the bigger problem was that Dad had lost his will to live. I told her that my daughter and I were on our way, I thought it had just happened but I found out that Dad had been in the hospital for hours. Mother tried her best to convince me to wait until the following morning to visit him. We went back and forth about it and I decided just to agree with her and wait until morning, As soon as I hung up the phone, I told my daughter, “Get dressed , we’re going to see Dad and Hurry Up”. In less than 5 minutes we were in the car and on our way. I was so focused on getting to my Dad that I drove through a road block. My daughter hollered at me and I backed up and explained to the officer what was going on and we were on our way again. When we got to the hospital we practically ran to his room. My daughter went to Dad’s bedside first while I asked Mother for more information. She said that they were concerned about her financially if something happened to him. I thought to myself, “What?!” Then she said that she “saved Dad’s life” because the emergency going to send him back home to die but she threw a fit and they admitted him. I shouldn’t talk so I told him I just needed for him to listen to me. He shook his head up and down. I’ll never forget the words I said to him. “Dad, I prayed and asked God to let you live and if He wou ld, we’d be the kind of family he always wanted us to be but you’ve got to do your part. Fight Daddy! We love you, we need you and we want you in our lives. Don’t give up, fight Daddy, please! God will give us another chance. I promise if you’ll fight and not give up things will be different. (I glanced over at Mother and asked her, “Won’t we, Mom? She had a look of disdain in her eyes as she barely shook her head up and down.) I’m just glad Dad didn’t see it. I asked Dad if he’d fight to live, please” Right before my eyes I saw his countenance change; he smiled a little smile and whispered, “Yes.” I have never felt so desperate and helpless in my life. But suddenly I had peace and I knew Dad was going to be okay. I kissed him on the forehead and told him that we’d see him the next morning. When we walked out of his room and I heard the door shut behind me, I fell to pieces and so did my daughter. We didn’t talk on our way back home. But I knew something wasn’t right. We were all supposed to meet at the hospita l the next morning to talk to his doctor. I tossed and turned all night because I couldn’t shake the feeling that something just wasn’t right. We all met at the hospital the following morning, everyone was there except Mother. She went home before we got t here and she had no intentions of coming back at all. But the greatest thing of all is how much Dad’s condition had improved. We took turns going into his room and he was laughing and talking. We were shocked at his improvement. I told my youngest brother about the talk I had with Dad the night before and he said, “No one but you would think to do something like that and that explains his improvement”. Then he thanked God and me. We waited at the hospital for hours until Dad’s doctor’s RN . The first thing she said caused my knees to buckle; I had to hold my brother’s arm. She said, “First off, your Daddy is a miracle, we didn’t expect him to live through the night.” There had been 2 gallons of fluid pumped out of his lungs and there’s no way he should still be living. Her report was encouraging. She said that Dad would need stents, he’d have to follow a diet and exercise and he should be just fine.” We all praised and thanked God for His miracle. We were happy and relieved at the great news but furious at Mo ther. She never showed up and she didn’t call either. Daddy was hurt deeply. Mother would make a showing just long enough to say she visited him until he was released. We tried to get Mother to request a home health nurse but she wouldn’t allow it. We didn ’t want Dad staying at the hospital alone but Mother forbid us to stay with him. I sat all night in a chair outside of his room. When Dad got out of the hospital he was doing well and continued to improve. He stayed on his diet and exercised daily. We knew God had come through for us and him. A few days later Mother had to be admitted to the hospital to have a boil lanced , a very minor procedure but she actually requested for a home health nurse to come and check on her after she was released. It wasn’t long before I noticed Dad’s health starting to decline. One evening I went to see him and they were eating supper. Mother had cooked fried green tomatoes, fried chicken and there were all kinds of sweets in the kitchen. Everything that he wasn’t supposed to eat was there for the taking and he loved sweets. Mother had done everything she could to alienate him too. She wouldn’t go to the doctor with him either. About a month before he died he knew I was getting ready to move. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes or the tone in his voice when he said to me, “If you move away I’ll never see or talk to you again”. He knew I knew what he meant. He knew he didn’t have long to live. My blood ran cold when he said that to me. I didn’t tell anyone about our conver sation. I was behind on my rent and I started looking for a cheaper place to live. When I’d find one my Mother and/or sister would call the new landlord and talk about me like a dog. They would tell me about them calling and what they’d say. They were hara ssing my current landlord trying to get him to evict me. It got so bad that he called me one day and told me to tell them to leave him alone about me. Of course, I did the unthinkable; I confronted Mother and told her to stop trying to get me evicted. She denied it profusely. She asked me, “Who are you going to believe, your family or the landlord?” I said, “The landlord”. She slammed the phone down. Then she sent me an email an email and told me that if I called or pulled up in her driveway she’d have me arrested. Further, she told me that she and Dad both were sick of me. I had to laugh because she couldn’t tell me that on the phone because Dad would’ve heard her. Around about this time, Dad had a doctor’s appointment and she lied about the report to everyone but my sister. She told my brothers and me that Dad got a very good report which was a downright lie but my sister knew the truth. Two weeks later we found out that she lied and we had no idea he was scheduled for a pacemaker and defibrillator procedure. He was supposed to stay overnight in the hospital and be released. But I knew Dad wasn’t coming home. The morning he was to be released, my phone ra ng and I saw Mother’s number pop up on my caller ID and I froze. I had not heard from her since she threatened to have me arrested if I called or went to their house. She was calling me to tell me that they were keeping Dad one more night to get his new me dicine regulated. I asked her to put the phone to his ear so I could tell him I loved him and she refused. I could tell her voice was muffled and I could hear Dad talking in the background and she wasn’t close to him. I pleaded with her to please let me te ll I love him. She kept saying, “No”. I asked her who he was talking to and it was my sister. I kept asking her why she wouldn’t just put the phone to his ear because I could hear him talking and she said, “So”. I was down on my hands and kn ees in my living room crying, pleading and begging her to let me just tell him I loved him and she was enjoying every second. Later, I tried to call his room and the phone was unplugged. I tried to call the nurse and she couldn’t give me any information without the code. I was in hysterics because I KNEW without a doubt that my Dad wasn’t coming home. I didn’t have the gas money to get to him either. Later that day I finally sold my TV to get gas money and I was on my way to see him when he was coded. He passed away before I could get there. Within a few hours after he was buried a lot of people were at the house and she came up to me in front of everyone and told me that she wasn’t trying to keep me from my Dad, he just didn’t want to talk to me. She accuse d me of putting him in his grave. I sincerely believe that when Dad had his heart attack in February she thought she waited too late to take him to the hospital. She waited 2 -3 days to get him to the hospital, she knew he was smothering and could barely breathe. Mother has told me and at least one other sibling that she hated him and wished he would die. When he started losing control of his bodily functions, she wouldn’t help him. Instead of washing his clothes, she threw them away. She told me that she wasn’t going to take care of him. She’d tell me stuff like this knowing it tormented me and she thought no one would believe me if I said anything. Mother is very narcissistic but it goes deeper than that, for lack of a better word, she’s evil personified. I moved out of the state because s he’s made death threats against me and I know what she’s capable of. I pray for her salvation every day. She’s addicted to pills badly and I pray for her deliverance. I still love her and my siblings but it will never be okay again. Spiritually, witchcraft and Jezebel rule her life. I’ve already started a follow up book because there’s more truth that needs to be uncovered. I love and miss my Dad every second of every day. I always will.
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