3/15/07

Flashes Of Memory

Before I start getting into the meat of this next post, I want to say that what is to follow is my heart and soul. It is seriously like ripping open my brain and exposing my beating heart to the harsh, refreshing open air. These are things I've shared with my old therapist and my husband. Possibly with my BFF. But not many beyond that. They are things that flow right below the surface. You can't always see them, but if I were to be scratched they would spill out all over the place.

When we moved to our house there are memories that go from seemingly good, straight to bad in a matter of milliseconds - to my 4 year-old memory, anyway. These images, these memories flash through my mind almost as if in a montage. They appear as if in a tunnel where the background is pitch black, but the image itself is in a bright spotlight.

Our House

The times spent in that house were my only recollection of being a "family". My dad continued to work days, my mom nights. This is where I fell in love with music. These are my earliest memories of music. This house - in the living room - is where I first heard Carly Simon on the radio singing "Jessie". Whereupon I said to my parents, "Jess. I like that name Jess. Just call me Jess." And they did.
And still do.

The three loves of my dad's life in '82

I remember sitting in the front seat of our Volare (or however you spell it), with the windows down, singing to the songs on the radio.
I remember swinging on the tire swing in our backyard.
I remember having a Christmas party at our house. My mom and I baked cookies. My dad had the wood stove going in the little addition/porch off the front of our house. Our house became full of people.

My dad & I in our front yard during our first winter at the new house.

(and the yellow is not in the snow, but a spot on the picture from age)

Like smoke that wafts up from an extinguished match, this was soon all gone.

I remember one day being home with my dad and I don't know what the precursor was, but he punched a hole in the wall. In front of me. I wasn't scared. I was sad that something made my dad that angry. Still to this day I don't know what it was all about. Probably just a stupid fight that escalated into something more.
I do know that at that very moment I realized that something was horribly wrong.
And I know I retreated.

I distinctly recall sitting on my bed, in my little girl room and looking around. I remember thinking to myself What if all of this isn't happening right now? What if all of this is just a memory? And really, I'm 16 sitting on this bed, in this room and this is just all a memory?
I also remember retreating to the spare room in our house while an argument raged on and someone was sitting with me. But no one else was there. Mom & Dad were in the other room raging, I was in the spare room....but there was a figure sitting next to me. It has always been one of the scariest, comforting memories that I have.

The memory that, to this day haunts me above all others though, is when it was all over. I don't remember what happened leading up to it. I don't remember anything after. All I remember is being loaded up in the car with my mom. Driving away from our house.
I turned around and looked out the rear window. And there standing in the driveway, all alone

was my dad.

The fear, the dread, the shame, the guilt washed over me in ways I still feel as I type this right now. I remember thinking inside This is wrong. I need to go back.
I couldn't say a damned thing. My voice may as well have been laying like a lump of glistening saliva on the driveway next to my dad's feet. I was limp. I had no words, no sounds. I had become momentarily mute.
I'm pretty sure that's the day I stopped being a little girl. That's the day the carefree attitude of a happy, well-adjusted little girl were lost and gone forever. That's the day I became so heavy.

I know that with that, there were battles in court to be lost or won.
Mom won.
I knew that was a mistake. But I had no way to say that. No one asked. And there was no one to listen.
After that, the two parties convened at my grandmother's house (my mom's mom). Another flash of memory and my dad is walking briskly - with me in his arms. We end up at the 7-11 near my grandmother's house. I think we get a soda or something. I look to my left, out the huge glass doors and there are more police cars in that one small parking lot than I had ever seen in my life.
And they were there for me.

8 ripples in the pond:

maigh said...

Aw honey. If there's any good in all that too-much-stuff-for-a-wee-princess tale it's this: you are so incredibily loved, they fought for you. That in itself should help heal.

Even if they didn't know what they were doing/think about what they were doing / think about the years and finances involved in therapy (tee hee)...they loved you. So much it hurt.

deb said...

I didn't know such small children could remember and feel in such detail. Sounds stupid I know, but I didn't. I wonder what my son remembers.

I remember being three, still wearing diapers at night, standing in the hall and my Mum is crying and saying "I just wish I could leave." , which stunned me because I thought, "Mums can't leave, can they?"

I guess I remember and feel in detail too, I just forgot.

It's so hard being a parent and your parents were so young. It's not an excuse but it is a fact. They had so little life experience to draw on. They didn't know. I still don't know. I think I'm living my own life and then I look down and see my kids and think "Oh crap, it's not just my life anymore." And I've been doing this for 23 years!

I'm slightly better at than when I was 21 but still find it hard to reconcile the fact that my life is also a huge part of my children's life.

Wow, you made me think hard this morning. Take care.

Tabba said...

Maigh: You are absolutely right. One thing I've had a hard time reconciling is the fact that my mom loved/loves me, but it wasn't necessarily the best place for me. However, as depressing as all of this is, it does get better. It just helps to write it out. I feel a bit lighter now that I have.

Deb: This has me reflecting on my kids too, especially Connor. He's very sensitive to what's going on around him. I wonder what memories he has already. it doesn't sound stupid about not realizing how much kids feel. It's true - we don't always give kids credit in that department.

Oh, The Joys said...

Oh, Tabba... I don't have the right words, but I am here reading and thinking of you.

jen said...

oh, honey. wow. the little girl view into all of this is astounding. anyone who thinks kids aren't paying attention are desperately wrong.

this is astounding. thank you.

Joker The Lurcher said...

oh my. i have missed such a lot of what you have written recently because i have been a bit wrapped up. sorry. i feel so much for you. you have reminded me of a police thing i remember. how tough it must be for police in these situations.

Joker The Lurcher said...

ps: i just read the comment i made and it sounds mad. i know the real thing is how tough it was for you - i didn't phrase what i meant very well at all. sorry. the police thing i mentioned was when i was a kid, not in my job. i think these things that are off the scale of scary when we are kids leave an indelible mark on us. growing up too fast leaves us still children in parts of our selves.

Mary-LUE said...

I've popped in here once or twice before and just came across these last couple of posts.

I think it is so great that you are sharing this. I know it must be a little scary letting yourself go to this vulnerable place. It is very brave.

I don't know if it is the same as what you are feeling, but I know that sometimes I feel a desire to explore and "talk" about my past, the things that happened to me when I was growing up. I've never explored it in depth online because there are people who might read it and be hurt.

I don't really know what else to say other than these posts are resonating with me although I doubt our stories are similar. I admire you for putting it out there.