Becoming the protector
I guess I can start with where it all began for me. I was a little girl watching my father scream and beat up my mother for every little thing. She has always been a wonderful mother to my older brother and I. Always taking great care of us. We were never neglected of any affection or love from her… now our father was a different story.
My mother was such a tough woman, always holding down a job and keeping up with whatever responsibilities she had. She had a rough childhood also, being raised by two alcoholics and forced to be the parent to 4 siblings while her parents drank themselves to a belligerent mess everyday and night.
She would make sure they were fed properly every day and made it to school and back safely and everything else that a young teenage girl should not of had to deal with. I don’t remember anything but hugs and kisses from her parents. They loved my older brother and I very much.
Now this part I am about to tell you are one of the things I experienced that really broke my heart and I still think about to this day. My grandma was a beautiful woman with long black hair. She was almost full-blooded Indian (only a pinch of Irish). She was connected to my brother and I in ways nobody ever understood. She was a spiritual woman that would just sense things when they were wrong. She would call my mother randomly and tell her to check on us.
My mother would say “OK Mom…” and just blow it off thinking she was just being paranoid or whatever. Then a few minutes later would be proved otherwise when one of us would come running in crying or screaming. After a few times of that happening…she never doubted my grandma again. She was the only person that seemed to know I was sad and something was going on.
Well during this time my grandma was diagnosed with Cancer and her health was fading fast. Everyone was going nuts in our family. My Aunt was the youngest of my mother’s sibling’s. She was under ten I believe and needed a lot of care and attention that she could not get from my grandma.
I would be there almost every day, playing with her hair and jewelry. She was a big woman and would let me just lay on her chest while she would sing to me or tell me stories. That right there is the one memory that brings me to tears to this day. My aunt spent every minute with us she could. Not only because my mother had to care for her like her own, but also because she loved my father so much.
To her he was the coolest man on earth. He was the Good looking Italian boy who went against the Italian ways and was dating my mother a girl that came from a troubled family and they were NOT Italian… So at first he rebelled and stood his ground. He loved my mother and she loved him. Everyone fell in love with them as a couple.
My mother was so beautiful with long brown hair and a body to kill for. Then the day came…my grandma had passed. I don’t remember much except my uncles went crazy, they stayed drunk or messed up in some way. They were all so cool and fun, then after her death everything changed.
My grandpa drove a bus for the city most his life outside of the army. His drinking went from bad to worse. The love of his life and best friend and soul mate was gone. I am convinced he died inside the day she passed. So now everything I knew and came to love was turned upside down and inside out. I would never to be the same again. She was the heart and soul of our family. She was always checking on us, because she was always getting her “intuitive feelings”.
I no longer had her to keep me safe. My father was secretly beating us behind our perfect door. He had everyone in town thinking he was this perfect guy with his perfect, beautiful family. Behind that “perfect” door of our home, things were quite the opposite. My father was a full blood Italian, 6’2, solid muscle, well respected and feared man. Nobody would stand up to him, even if they did know.
So what happened next is the second event that almost broke my spirit. I would spend time with my uncles from my mother’s side of the family sometimes. They were so cool to my brother and I because they were bikers and dressed cool and listened to rock and roll. We would go hang out with our younger uncle a lot at his apartment. He had cool posters all over his walls and was always being goofy and making us laugh. We loved him, and loved hanging out there.
During one of our visits to his apartments, things were very different. He was acting very strange, almost like he was drunk. We were only 5 and 6 years old at this time. Even though we were young we were no stranger to drugs or alcohol. We knew when people were intoxicated with out any confusion. This time we had no idea what it was about him, but he was not sober.
Later I come to find out he was on heroin that day, and he was completely out of his mind. I remember thinking he looked like he was possessed or something. Everything innocent in us that day died. He started molesting me. I remember looking at my brother to escape our reality, like I did when the beatings occurred.
This time it would not work.
I tried like hell to go to our safe place in my mind, but when I would open my eyes and see his posters all over the walls and realize I was still there. I had seen this look of fear and panic in my brother’s eyes. Then he screamed out loud like I had only heard one other time in my life. This time we were outside playing in our back yard, and the neighbor kid was teasing me and was getting angry because I did not respond to his remarks. I had gone to my safe place again that day, ignoring his hurtful words.
Then I felt this piercing pain in the back of my head and felt the warmth of my blood running down the back of my neck. That is when I heard my brother scream like he did this day at my uncle’s apartment. It sounded like a wild animal that alone scared me to my core. My brother jumped our fence that day and started beating the shit out of this kid. He was screaming, “leave my sister alone”, over and over again.
So now that you understand what I meant by the scream, let me continue where I left off. So I hear my brother scream and it startles our uncle. He pushes me to the side and gets up and walks over to my brother. That day my brother protected me; he gave his innocence up to protect me. This was a pain I will always have to live with.
From that day on this new part of “Erin” came to life. The “protector of evil” so to speak. I would no longer escape to my safe place again. I would stand tall and brave and face anyone or anything. My dad would stand over us, looking like a giant monster.
After that day, even that would not scare me into my safe place. In the situations where my brother and I would normally go to our closet and hide, I would stand there. I would scream “LEAVE MY MOM ALONE”! My brother would try to pull me away into our closet. It would never work again. I would stand up to anyone or anything to protect the people I love.
That would never change about me after that day in the apartment. This was just the start of my journey…