Find the courage
September 2, 2021
Visio Divina for women: Thursday, Sept 2
September 2, 2021

I Still Believe in Miracles Pt. 2

Sherisse Alexander is a 23-year-old parishioner of Tortuga RC and suffers from a rare nerve condition called Plexiform Neurofibroma. CLICK HERE to read Part 1 of her story

Four little girls and their helpless mother. That Independence Day of 1999 saw the girls huddling in what they called their playroom, crying over memories that now seemed to be slipping through their tiny, childlike fingers. Writing heartfelt sentiments on the backs of picture-perfect moments, pleading with their father not to leave them, not to walk away from his family and into the arms of another woman.

She was a victim whom he had counseled for the past year or so. They had grown close. Close enough for him to bring her into their home and introduce her to the family and closer still for him to choose her over them.

In the last few days, when the quarrels had become more frequent and mommy and daddy had begun wrestling with each other, the sisters had looked to the eldest of them all for answers, and now, in these final moments as they saw their father’s bags packed and ready for the road, they looked to her to express what their young minds were too immature to convey.

Mommy was just not capable of being there for them emotionally. She was too preoccupied with being distraught over daddy’s deception, over his nerve to lie to their kids, telling them that he was going away for a while on holidays. She would be on her own, jobless, with four kids, all under the age of 15. No wonder why the girls huddled for days at a time, crying on their own and comforting each other the best way they knew how.

The following weeks were the hardest they’d ever encountered. Having to return to their normal lives of school knowing that they’d left a puffy-eyed mommy at home and would return to a house drowning in hurt, blaring sad rhythm and blues and a meal that was more humble than they appreciated. Later, the girls would be treated to the smell of burning cigarettes as mommy tried to smoke her pain away, behind the curtains that separated her bedroom from theirs. If they were lucky enough, mommy would even let them have a puff or two, just so they wouldn’t have to go wandering on the outside about how it tasted.

Even though most of the family on their father’s side almost automatically distanced themselves from the awesome foursome and their incompetent, uneducated mother, there was hope for them still as their parents agreed to try counselling. Daddy still didn’t return home and all optimism was lost when mommy finally sat the four girls down and made them that one proposition that would change their young lives forever.

You all have the choice of either staying with me or going to live with your father. No matter what you choose, I want you to know that I would love you either way and my doors would always be open to you. The choice is yours.

It was no hard maths for the girls. They knew what they had to do and they knew what they wanted. They adored their father, he was the softer of the two parents. He was funny and more playful. He was understanding and approachable and they all could agree that he was a way better cook. But he had left them behind. He had chosen another woman and her son, over what was his own. He kept walking knowing that mommy had no money and no job. It was as if he didn’t care whether or not they’d lived.

None could picture themselves doing to mommy what daddy did to them. She needed them, she loved them, she didn’t walk away even with her back against the wall and went without food just so they would have enough. Even six-year-old Sherisse, who was too young to understand the extent of the damage and who needed the smell and body of her daddy to fall asleep at night, knew where she needed to be.

Things got worse before they got better, but indeed life did get easier. Mommy’s best friends stepped in like guardian angels, feeding, clothing, and looking out for them until she got her first of a series of jobs at a supermarket.

While she enjoyed the money and independence that came with having a job, it was all at the expense of her children who lost out on quality time with their only present parent. Margaret and Theresa ‘throw an eye on the kids as often as they could, but the duty of overseeing the little ones essentially rested on the shoulders of a 14-year-old Candice. It was quite a lot of responsibility for the eldest of the set, making sure chores and homework were done while mommy was not around.

As time passed and daddy gained renewed interest in the daughters he’d left behind, the girls were allowed to visit their father’s new home and meet their new mom and stepbrother. She was young.

Younger than their own mother and probably more beautiful in comparison to mommy’s more mature good looks. She was as friendly and welcoming as she needed to be on the very few occasions that the girls had met her, but she was a terrible cook. The girls didn’t trust her smiles, neither did they trust her food.

The feelings seemed to be mutual as daddy became more and more scarce. Eventually, there were no more visits, there were no more calls and soon there was no contact at all from daddy. For months, the children longed for their father and yearned for the answers that would explain his detachment. Answers did come when their Mama, his mother, passed away. Daddy had treated them like total strangers. It was as if he didn’t even see them at all as he comforted his new grieving lady, who barely knew their Mama, by the way. She had turned their father against them, and he had let her. What had they done to make him hate them so? What made him choose her over them again and again?

The feeling of being rejected and disowned by one’s own father was a difficult one to comprehend and accept and maybe this entire ordeal affected the girls more than they realised.

Their dad’s parting would leave them longing and search for something they once had and that only a father could give…a Father’s love.

 

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