As I said in My Life With An Abuser – The Beginning , My Life With An Abuser – The Courtship, and My Life With An Abuser – The Marriage – Years 1 and 2, and My Life With An Abuser – The Marriage – The End Of The ‘Honeymoon’ Period, this is my story of meeting a predator; marrying the predator; living with the predator turned abuser; and my escape from the abuser.
In June 1988, my grandmother passed away. I remember the morning I received the phone call. I had just walked out of our bathroom. It was almost 0700, so I was rushing around trying to finish the last minute things getting ready for work. The phone rang. I remember looking at the phone and thinking, “Who in the hell is calling this early?” I remember as I reached for the phone, my body started shaking. No identifiable reason . . . Yet.
On the other end of the phone is my mom. (Staff Sergeant Potato Head had picked up the extension in the Dining Room.) She tells me my grandmother (her mother) had a heart attack and was on life support. They were not sure if she was going to survive. MoM said they were thinking about removing her from life support. She wanted me to come home. I told her I didn’t think I would. She asked me to please think about it.
I talked it over with Staff Sergeant Potato Head. He was encouraging me to do it. He said we should go. I still did not want to. I remember going into work. I was on auto-pilot. I explained to my Admin Chief (my boss) what was going on. He, too, recommended I go.
See, my grandparents helped to raise us. My MoM did most of it, but her parents stepped in when things got really rough for her. There is not anything we would not have done for our grandmother. She was one tough ol’ Belgian lady!
As the morning wore on, I realized it was something I really needed to be there for. My MoMma needed me. My siblings needed me. For once, Mr Potato Head was being wonderful. So, we flew out the next morning.
I have to admit, traveling internationally with an eight-month-old is interesting. I am so grateful she was an awesome baby! She slept. When she wasn’t sleeping, she was busy entertaining people. We were complimented on the fact most people did not even realize she was on board. 🙂
I remember landing in LA. I called MoM to let her know we were in the States and Staff Sergeant Potato Head was working on getting us our tickets back to the Midwest. She asked to speak to him. I told her he was at the counter. Whatever she had to say to him, she could tell me and I would just relay it. She was insistent on speaking to him. I asked her why. She said, “No reason. I just want to talk to him and make sure he is OK, too.” Whatever. I was not in the mood to remind her we were talking about my grandmother. Not his.
He eventually comes over to the phone. (Back then, there were these things called payphones.) I hand him the phone. He hands me the baby. When they finally are off the phone, I asked what that was all about. He came up with some bullshit reason which was plausible. I let it go. In all honesty, I was too stressed to even think there was anything strange about the way my mother sounded and how he was acting.
We get on the plane.We are taxiing down the runway. I had even started dozing a little. All of the sudden, I sit up right and screamed, “Who in the hell is the son-of-bitch that pulled the plug?!” Staff Sergeant Potato Head tries to calm me down. It was then I knew. I just knew my MoM had told him my grandmother had passed. He did not have any details other then she had passed. I had never wanted to get off a plane so badly in my entire life as I did that day.
When we landed at the local airport, instead of greeting my mom with a hug and a kiss, I greeted her with, “Who in the hell is the son-of-bitch that pulled the plug?!” She told me no one had. My grandmother had passed on her own. She took the decision as to whether or not to remove her from life support from everyone’s hands.
We had her funeral a few days after she passed. I remember at the funeral home not being able to go in and view her casket or her in it. I sat outside with my cousins. I remember them trying to get me to go in. I could not. Grandpa came out. He said, “Come on, Stinky. Let’s go see Grandma.” I told him no. He said, “She wants to see you.” I said, “No, Grandpa. Grandma is gone.” Grandpa said, “Yes she does. She told me.” Me: “Grandpa, Grandma is dead. She did not tell you anything.” He walked away after that.
I remember not being able to look when they brought her out to the hearse to take her to the church for the Mass. I remember being in the Cry Room with all the little kids. I nominated myself as care giver for them while the adults attended the Mass. (I could still hear everything going on because of the speakers.) Then, I had to get through the trip to the cemetery.
I made Staff Sergeant Potato Head stop the vehicle outside the cemetery. I could not go in. I remember counting the vehicles and then stopping at 35. They just seemed to keep coming. The funeral was over. Next up was the luncheon/dinner.
I had to explain over and over why I refused to view Grandma while she was lying in state. I wanted to remember her MY way . . . as I last saw her and as I last spoke to her. I remember the very last conversation my grandmother was about the trip to Japan they intended to make in October and who could possibly be my cousin’s daughter’s father since her husband was allegedly sterile. My grandmother pulled no punches. Man, I miss that woman!
I wish I could say the Emergency Leave went without incident. I really do. Unfortunately, I cannot. After my grandmother’s funeral, he decides we would travel to New England to visit his side of the family. OK. We might as well. So, we did.
We returned to the Midwest. My MoM wanted to have family portraits done while we were in town. The day of the portraits found Staff Sergeant Potato Head with a wild hair up his ass. He was in rare form. He and I get into a pissing contest. We are in the car getting ready to head to the Mall. He had the baby. He jumps out of the moving vehicle with my daughter in his arms. Yes. He jumped out of a moving vehicle with an eight-month-old baby.
We were near the Middle School. He runs through the parking lot. We follow. I am driving. I am screaming out the window for him to get back in the car and to stop fucking around. We had an appointment. My siblings are trying to diffuse the situation. I’ve got my foot on the brake. My legs are shaking. My hands are shaking. My whole body is shaking. I just watched this man jump out of a moving vehicle with my baby in his arms. I was scared shitless because I had no clue what was coming next.
I quickly found out. He dangled my daughter in front of him. Yes. You read that correctly. He held my eight-month-old daughter out in front of him. Remember how I said I was shaking? My foot shook right on off the brake. As fast as it slipped off is as fast as I put it back on. What does he do? Holding the baby just under her armpits, he swings her side-to-side. He said, “Oh, that’s it! You don’t just want to kill me! You want to kill your daughter, too!”
“No, Asshole! YOU are the one who jumped out of a moving vehicle with an infant in your arms! If that is not bad enough, you want to use her as a human shield!”
Somehow, my family was able to diffuse the situation. We were able to have the portraits done. The remainder of the the trip was quiet. We returned to Japan.