It’s raining and I am kneeling next to my father’s grave. The dirty water and mud swish all around me but I pay no mind. I have so many questions that need to be answered by a man that has been dead for so many years. Do I remember him or only the stories I have been told over the years? I was only three when he departed this world. As far back as I can remember my Stepfather had told me that I was just like him. My Father had been a violent drunk; my mother had endured a life of hell under what should have been his sheltering wing. Just over an hour ago I met my Grandfather for the first time that I can bring to mind. I had asked him the same questions that I was now asking of the man that should have been my protector. Why had he cared so little for his family? A story was relayed to me of a time he had nearly lost his life diving into the sea to rescue a dog, proving it seemed to my Grandfathers mind that there was evidence of good within him. This would beg the question; did we not matter as much? Should it not have been us that he would have risked his life for? It seemed not. Could I myself not render a reply? After all I’m just like him; this had been hit home hard for so many years. But I had spent so little time with him was it genetic? If so how could I alter it? I had been conditioned to expect the worst in any given situation I was evolved in. The rain is getting heavier running down my face mixing in with the tears I am unable to control. I sit back to alleviate the crapping pain in my legs, how do I come to terms with the legacy he left me? I am not sure how long I was sitting there while trying to make peace with my maker, asking of heaven to show me the route to my salvation. When I left there that day all those negative thoughts were banished from my mind. So maybe my questions had been answered. Many people out there have been affected by the same such scenario, I hear so many stories that could run alongside mine and fit right in. But the fact is who we are and how we treat others is of our own making. Although it may suit others to have us believe differently. The route we walk can alter immensely, just by taking hold of our lives at the scruff of the neck and giving it a shake. No one is born to be bad. If someone out there is making you feel that you are on the road to hell, that you deserve to be there. Maybe they are just looking in the mirror…..

Author's Bio: 

Teresa Joyce was born in 1958 the middle child of three. After losing her father at a very young age; it was to set the pattern for the rest of her life. Losing was something that she would have to get used to. Today she still has some memory of her father, but in truth it’s all a little hazy. Her mother through no fault of her own after that loss had no other alternative, then to return to her parent’s home with her children in tow. This family unit were to spend only a few years there, until the wind of change came around once more. Teresa still holds many happy memories from her time there as a child. Happy memories are something that Teresa holds in very short supply, and she has treasured them always. Her mother was set to meet the man that was to become her stepfather, and they moved on once more to a new city with the promise of a new life. Hopefully it would be a happy one for all concerned, but it became a place for Teresa that felt far more like a prison. One in which she would spend many days months and years hating. Teresa swore to herself that she would leave all this behind her at the first possible occasion. She can still clearly remember the day that she left that family home and joined the Royal Air Force. It was just two months off her sixteenth birthday. Her stepfather had informed her that to remain living in his house, she had to live by his rules. This was a big decision for her to take being so young, but she could no longer live by any rules that he imposed. Never really understanding at that time, what she was really running from. Memories of those years living by his rules were buried so deep, that previous years and events were only a burr to her. Teresa’s Time spent while in the Royal Air Force was very rewarding, and she involved herself in all and everything possible. After meeting her ex -husband whilst she was on leave, she then left this all behind her and married. It was greatly missed and in retrospect, it would be something that she would live to regret many years later. Life as a married woman changed many things for her; the biggest of all would be the arrival of her son. Teresa loved him even before he was born, and he is still able to pull on her heart strings daily.
Sadly after many years, she found herself unable to stay within that marriage. The onset of a set of circumstances beyond her control would stamp its seal, rendering the marriage unworkable. Engineered by the involvement of the one man Teresa had learnt to hate - her stepfather. The marriage was dissolved and there was no going back on her part, that door was firmly closed behind her. Some years later she would find herself in a long term lesbian relationship, firmly believing that anything touched by a man was tainted; bringing with it only pain and heartache. Teresa’s thoughts at that time were that the worst was surly now behind her, but her life was set to make another turn from her envisaged path. It was to arrive in the form of an accident, which once again would alter her life forever. After many months and many doctors reports she was ill health retired, unable to return to work in either one of her two loved occupations. Teresa was affected by this far more then she could have ever expected, she was left alone with nothing but time, and still within the mix of a completely insane situation; it was at this point that Teresa would enter into the mental health care system fully, to have any hope of dealing with everything going on around her. That care umbrella is still part of her everyday life. The loss of her mother through less than adequate health care, brought her pain like she had never thought possible. Teresa saw herself delving deeper and deeper into her own unconscious thoughts, revealing to her at that time memories which seemed so alien. Ultimately her mental health would prove to be a factor, in the disintegration of her then lesbian relationship.
It’s something that Teresa is still trying to come to terms with even now. She now lives alone with only a small dog for company, which in truth she is happy with. Firmly believing that she can’t hurt those she loves, if they are not there for her to do so; to her mind segregation is the answer. Teresa is still unable to work and in constant pain daily. Maybe today you could say that she has once more taken back control of her life, but only outwardly. The truth is she still carries the past along with her, like an uninvited guest at a party. The one that never seems to know when the party is over and it’s time to leave. Teresa is now trying to live her life as fully as possible, through her son and grandson; they have become her light at the end of the tunnel.