Friday, April 30, 2010

My Childhood Introduction to PTSD: Part 2

O My Soul:

When it was time to go, I swore I wouldn't forget this day. Boy is that an understatement. Plus, I was high from all the sugar in that free Root Beer.

What I didn't know was that dad was pretty high from all that free beer.

I said good-bye to the cute girl and dad took my brother and me to grandpa's restaurant. I loved that restaurant. Not only was it a great place to eat, it was also a great place for hide and seek. Lots of place to hide.

I remember I was sitting at a table with grandma. Only a few customers that evening. I was helping grandma fold napkins. I was waiting for mom to finish her shift. She was in the kitchen with her black and white waitress uniform. Then I heard it...

A crash of dishes in the kitchen and a blood curdling scream.

What in the world?!?!?!

I raced into the kitchen. First I saw all the broken dishes on the floor.

Then I saw the worst sight I had ever seen.

Dad took mom by the hair and started dragging her down the long aisle-way of the kitchen to the back door. Dad was screaming at her to get out. Mom was just screaming.

Mom was on her knees, hands on dad's hands, and being dragged by her hair.

I somehow managed to get myself between them and started punching dad in the stomach screaming at him to let go. We continued that way until we reached the other end of the kitchen.

Then dad looked me in the eyes. With a moment of fright in the midst of rage - he let go of mom.

The restaurant had great hiding places. One of them was the long hallway on the other side of the kitchen. It was usually dark and full of stuff. Extra tables, kitchen equipment, racks, and table cloths. When the lights were on you couldn't see much. When the lights were off you couldn't see anything.

I ran to the end of that dark hallway - and froze. No lights.

I was so scared. I wanted to runaway but didn't know where to go. I wanted to check on mom but didn't want to look for her. I just froze - alone - at the end of that dark hallway.

I don't know how long I stood there before grandpa quietly came around the corner. He stood at the light end of the hallway. He gently called my name and asked "Are you there." I came forward and he took me by the hand.

Then dad swooped around the corner, grabbed my other hand, and told his dad we were leaving. No! said grandpa and he held on to me.

There I stood during their brief shouting match. Arms extended while crucified on the hands of two people I loved dearly. Dad let go. Head down he walked away down the long dark hallway. Grandpa continued to hold my hand and walked me back through the kitchen to grandma, my little brother, and mom.

Chunks of hair had been pulled out. Bruises? I don't remember much but Jackie-O sunglasses for awhile and scraped knees. I don't know how much of a beating she took before I entered the kitchen that night. I only saw the end of it.

I now know I was traumatized from that event. My parents divorced. I thought it was my fault. I shouldn't have internalized that but I did. The topic, to this day, has never been discussed.

The cute girl at the picnic continued to go to my school until we graduated together. However, I never thought she was that cute again. Not her fault. It's just that whenever I saw her and thought about that great day at the picnic with the root beer and games, I could only remember that that was the day dad beat the crap out of mom and my life was never quite the same after that.

If you are interested in learning a little more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children(PTSD) you might want to check out this video.

Hope in Christ &
God bless you,


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