Archive | July 2013

12 months….

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Dear dad,

It’s been just over twelve months since you left us. I knew there was a reason I stopped at the cemetery on the way home from Bendigo to see nan. I wonder what your mum would think if she knew the disgusting mess our family is in?

People not talking to others. Some talking to others but then continuing the conversation behind another’s back and some just being straight out liars and doing nothing but pretending that they were innocent in all of this.

She was a beautiful soul and all she wanted was for her family to stick together and despite the promises you all made to her, I guess it was just easier to lie. Am I right? I’m pretty sure I am.

I wish I had of been able to speak to you before you made your escape – scott free.

I wish I had of had the opportunity to ask you why you molested me as a child and why you let TWO of your brothers do it as well. What did I do dad? What did I do to you that you allowed it to happen and you didn’t defend me?

All my life people told me that I was daddy’s girl. That I was number one in your eyes and that none of your other children would ever mean as much to you as I did. Right now that makes me scoff. Because truly, I don’t believe it. A daddy who loved his child as much as you were supposed to love me? He wouldn’t have hurt me like you did. Number one in your eyes? You would have protected me from your brothers. You KNEW what they had done and how they had done the same thing to your nieces and you STILL left them alone with me. A child. An innocent child who you promised to love and protect.

But you didn’t.

Not unless I was prepared to stand up in front of our entire family and tell them all that I made it up. That’s unconditional love right there eh? Not!

I would rather walk through fire than let anyone hurt my little girls. Any of them. I’d fight to the death to make sure they were all okay and protected. Even if it meant that they were the only family I had left. I’d rather that then know in the back of my mind that they were being hurt and that I allowed it so that I could be accepted in that fucked up thing we called a family.

Yet I still miss you. I miss your stupid crooked grin and your dumb jokes. I miss the way we could talk and most of all I miss knowing that despite the fact that we were not talking I still had a daddy on this earth and that I could see him. Even though he told me he hated me and wanted nothing to do with me.

I never got to say goodbye to you. It might have been an angry goodbye, but it still would have given me some kind of peace and closure. Some way to move on without this gaping wound that I carry in my chest.

It could have been a sad goodbye. Because I had finally worked out a way to forgive what you had done to me. I might never have forgotten but I could have forgiven. And I know deep down inside that my heart is big enough to do that.

You weren’t perfect – but who is.

You weren’t the best father in the world – but who can be.

You had your faults but I know that deep inside you were capable of love.

I know that when you died I said that I was glad and that I was happy that you died in pain and agony – but that’s not true.

I hope, that despite it all, when you left us, you did so quietly and peacefully.

I said I’d never tell you I forgave you and that I loved you – but that’s changed.

It’s been a year daddy and I forgive you.

I love you and I miss you.

And I wish I had of had the chance to say goodbye.

So this is it dad.

This is the last time that I will write to you or about you. I can’t let you take up anymore of my precious emotions that I have so many people to share them with.

Goodbye dad.

I hope that you’ve finally found your peace.

Because I’ve found mine.

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For A Moment I Thought I Forgot To Remember

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Will you marry me? 
She agreed with all her heart - but couldn't understand why at the very moment she said
yes - Noah's face came to mind... 

The Notebook

That was what came to my mind this morning as I was packing to come back to Melbourne. Because if I tell the truth, it was what happened to me. My heart agreed to marry someone else, but all I could see in my mind was your face. Because it was supposed to be you. You and me.

Not Michael and I. Not David and I. Not me and anyone else that I had been a relationship with. But you and me and you weren’t there.

I scared myself this morning. I was filled with a fear I haven’t felt in a long time. As we were driving out of town, we went past what was left of our former place. And I looked away. Because I couldn’t for the life of me allow myself to cry in front of this person and give them a chance to ask what was wrong. Because I wouldn’t have been able to explain.

Why was I feeling that fear. Because as the title says for a moment I thought I forgot to remember. Your face pops into my memories at various times during my days. But this morning as we drove away I closed my eyes and I couldn’t see your face. And there was nothing but pure panic. And then I heard you. “don’t panic angel girl I’m still with you” and I started to breathe again. But then came the anger. Pure anger and I wished I could see you so that I could tell you everything I had been through the entire weekend.

But where are you? I don’t know do I? Or do I?

I have your address and I have had for the last five years. Why do you think I moved to this suburb? Because I know that your house or at least what used to be your house is a mere fifteen minutes drive from my house. I know this because I’ve been there many, many times. I don’t ever knock on the door. I just sit there in my car, just a short distance from your front door and I hold my breathe and hope and pray that you’ll open the door and walk out. At least then my curiosity would be satisfied and perhaps, just perhaps I could continue on with my life. With my wedding plans and my ability to live a life without you consuming all of my thoughts.

But what if your not there? What if your not here anymore. What if you’ve gone and I never got to say goodbye. I wouldn’t know where to go to say goodbye. If you are gone? Where is your body resting? Where would the place be that I could go and sit with you and talk to you. Because I know that you’d hear me.

You would. Wouldn’t you?

I remember, so clearly, that feeling in my stomach on the day you sent me to find out just what you had done. I was stunned. I don’t think there is anything in the world that could make me feel that kind of stomach churning shock, pain and heartbreak. All I knew is that I still felt the same about you and I still wanted the rest of my life to be with you. I was sitting in the State Library of Victoria and I must have turned a horrible shade of grey because I remember the librarian asking me did I need some water. I didn’t. I needed some air.

I left everything where it was and I don’t know how I managed to get outside. I know I told the librarian that I would be back. When I got outside I just started to breathe. I just breathed through the absolute shock and amazement at what I had read and I prepared myself to go back in there and read the rest like I promised you I would do.

Newspaper after newspaper. From Queensland where the incident happened. To Victoria where your trial took place. The first thing that hit me was the headline “Jury Handed Gloves In Trial To Examine Murder Weapon “. I truly thought as I read that it would change the way I felt about you but it didn’t. And thats when I knew that what I felt for you was real.

I hugged you when I visited you that weekend and you looked at me with those stunning blue eyes and you asked me why I was there. I couldn’t give you any answer other than that things had not changed. Nobody knew. Not in my world. Just you and me. And I didn’t care. I knew that my feelings for you had made me into a less judgemental person.

I wanted to hear your side of the story. Why you had taken someone’s life. I know what the prosecution had said and what the newspapers had reported but I needed to hear the truth from you. My John.

We sat at that table and watched my little girl sleep in her pram while I held your hands and we talked. It felt like our own little family because god knows you adored her as much as I did. It was almost like she was your own. It was quite cute to see the big burly prison guard’s pushing around this little baby in a pram. Those were the days of minimum security prisons in the country.

There was so much information to process and we talked for hours. You told me your story, most of which was what was reported by the newspapers. And then we got to the elephant in the room. WHY the jury was given gloves to wear to examine the weapon that you gave to the police when they arrested you.

It’s still a little bewildering to me that my gentle invisible baker could be capable of such violence. But I knew in my heart that it would never happen again. Your life had been changed forever and not only by spending so many years in jail but the sentence that you would suffer for the rest of your life by constantly waiting to see how much of your life outside you would see.

You had stabbed someone. Not once. But many times. You had stabbed him so hard that the boning knife had pierced
right through him that it was poking out the other side. You were covered in his blood when you handed yourself into the police and told them what you had done.

You’d been at the beach. A normal every day thing for you and you’d met some people who were having a party and you were hanging with them. The party went back to a house, I can’t remember who and truthfully its irrelevant. After lots of drinking and partying you’d decided to stay there and sleep and a guy had hit on you. More than once. You’d told him you were not interested at all. When you slept, he made his move. You woke up and something inside you snapped. The first thing you grabbed was that damn knife and you stabbed him to death.

He had HIV.

You were covered in his blood.

And now the life that you had taken was forever linked with yours because you didn’t know if you’d contracted it.

I think you were stunned when I told you that it didn’t matter to me. That I loved you just the same and time after time when they took you to the hospital to be tested I met you there and I always managed to get a few minutes with you and each and every time your results came back as negative.

But now I don’t know if they are still negative and you are alive and well and living in the next suburb.

Now I don’t know if they came back positive and you are alive and sick.

I don’t know if you are healthy and married.

Or if you are back in jail.

Or if you are – dead.

I know nothing except what we went thru together for all of those years.

I know nothing but what your letters say and your picture shows and what my red box of memories contains.

Your sister was the one who told me your address. I found her on Facebook. But when I look for her now I can’t find her. If I could then at least I would know something.

But for now – all I can do and will continue to do is sit down the road from your house and pray to whatever God there is that you will walk out the door. Or I can get out of my car, walk to the door, knock on it and hope that you answer.

The question remains – what would you say to me if you did answer the door?

Would you say the same eight words that you said in your letter?

Would you even know it was me?

Would you even care?

Would I?

Of course I would.

I’m so glad that today I didn’t forget to remember.

I just hope you still do.

I wish you were here.

The Invisible Baker

Where My Heart Lives....

I keep thinking the things I never told you… I keep thinking the things I didn’t say….

Wonder if I’ll see you tomorrow?…. I’ll wonder if I’ll forget today?….

No. No is the answer to the last two questions.

That door. In the picture is what kept you from me for all of those years. And in a way it still keeps you from me now. Even though all that resides there are memories and ghosts. Ghosts of years past. Ghosts of letters past. Ghosts of visits come and gone. Ghosts of promises made but not kept. Ghosts of – you.

I drive around here and every corner I turn down I am assaulted by memories. Of you. Of me. Of us. They come out of nowhere and I find it hard to drive when my eyes are full of tears. And you put them there. With eight tiny words YOU sentenced ME to a life sentence and now, all these years later I may as well be prison because my heart feels like its there. And it has every day since you said those words to me. I’m supposed to be getting married. My plans are at a standstill. My relationship with Michael? Destroyed and in pieces and even though your not physically here you may as well have been. My relationship with David? At a complete and utter standstill. And I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

I could make the decision to lock you in the deepest recesses of my mind but I know that you’ll make your way back to the forefront. You always do. The day he put that ring on my finger, all I could think of were the words you said to me and everything that we went thru day after day, week after week, year after year.

At 3.30am this morning while I was driving back to my hotel after a night out, I found myself back at the gates of the prison and I sat there. And I cried because I knew that slowly slowly as they tear that place down I won’t have our memories anymore except in my head. And its not enough. I want more. I need more. Because I don’t even know if your alive anymore. I have no way of finding out. When you left. You did it well.

The other place that we had. Also gone. Closed and destroyed. Yet another prison. Yet another set of memories. All the times we laughed about the tree wrapped in a doona jumping the fence. You – the invisible baker and your run of the prison. Memories of my complete and utter bewilderment when you called me and told me you were taking a job in the prison bakery. Memories of you laughing at me when you told me that it meant you could call me at anytime of the night because you had access to the phones working in there. So you became my invisible baker.

I’m sitting here typing this and I can hear your voice in my head. I can hear you telling me about your crazy plan to be moved closer to me. You created a drama to have yourself moved to a maximum security prison to be closer to me. To save me eight hours of driving after they took you from Bendigo to Yarram. I remember being at the prison in Bendigo the day they moved you. I remember you smiling. I remember your hug and your kiss. And I remember you looking at me, looking straight into my eyes with your blue ones and telling me “smile pretty girl, I’m doing this for us”. Then you let go of me and they took you away.

Now its just me and my red box of memories. Eight hundred and seventy two letters. Are all I have left. And a photo. That’s faded and old. And the memory of your smile in my mind. But what wipes that way a little more each day is when I read those eight words in the 872nd letter. The very last one you wrote to me. Eight tiny words that replay in my head over and over and over. And it never gets any easier to read. I’ve tried. I’ve read it constantly and told myself that you did it for me. But you didn’t. You did it for you because you couldn’t handle what you knew was coming. And I’m sorry that my love for you wasn’t enough. I wonder if maybe something I said or did made you think it wasn’t enough.

Do you remember the first time we met? I do. Its burned into my memory. I remember it was totally by chance. My bloody insane need to help people. All those years at Uni so that one day I could work with people like you. A chance visit to Bendigo prison to interview two people. Someone that had spent their entire life in prison and then someone who had made a horrible mistake and had a chance at rehabilitation. You being the later.

I never knew that day just what it was you were in prison for. Part of the interview process was that I wasn’t allowed to ask you what you had been sentenced for. It was that instant bond that we formed that day that finally allowed you to open up to me in your letters and tell me what you were there for.

I remember talking to you on the phone after I had read your letter and telling you that it didn’t matter. You very quietly said it did. And you asked me to do something for you. You asked me to research the newspapers, to go to the courts and get the details of why you did what you did. So I granted your wish. I spent hours pouring over newspaper reports from five years before I met you and although I was shocked – it never changed how I felt for you and I told you that. On the phone, in a letter and in a prison garden where I visited you. You’d taken someone’s life to protect your own.

You’d taken someone’s life to protect your own. I can’t understand how you felt but I knew you took someone else’s life to save your own.

We talked forever and ever about it and then you dropped the bombshell.

Although you still had ten years left to go in prison, what you had done had left you with a life sentence.

And me too.

 

This entry was posted on July 27, 2013. 2 Comments