Born 2/11/1950, my father was a hard person, when my father was 5 years old his father passed, growing up in a family of 16 siblings was not only hard for him but also hard on his mother, at now 16 he dropped out of school in the 8th grade. At 16 he lied about his age and enlisted in the military, Stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado, fighting in Vietnam, when I was born in 1972. In 1974, we returned to Grand, Rapids Mi., In 1976 he remarried. Now already having two children of his own he took on her 5 children. He then became a long haul truck driver, going all over the U.S., sometimes being gone for weeks at a time, so when he was home, he either slept, was busy catching up on the events that took place while he was gone and/or punishing me, for things that I was accused of doing. He spent alot of time punishing me for things that my older siblings would accuse me of doing, just so they wouldn’t get into trouble and also to see how much trouble I would get into. In 1978 my half brother was born, now we had with both parents and 8 children in a 4 bedroom house, then the two attics were converted into bedrooms. The abuse continued until I was 13 and after being bounced back and forth between foster homes and both my parents homes I couldn’t take it no more, ending up in a foster home at 13, I stayed until 14 at which time I went back at my fathers house, by then I was already diagnosed with epilepsy. In 1986 by the time I was 15 I had moved in with my mother who was now married to another man, and living in Sparta Mi. In 1986 my father had another child, a daughter, whom because I lived in Sparta with My mom I had no knowledge of this until she was 4 years old. Now at 17 and married to my first wife I had a chance to talk to my father about all the abuse I had received as a child and all he could tell me was he knew who it was, but he couldn’t get my step mother to believe him and he lacked the proof and all I had to do was hold out a little longer and he would have been able to get that proof, in response, I asked him how many more beatings would I have had to get before he had that proof, and he truthfully answered I don’t know. Once I got to old to beat on he turned his abusive attitude towards another family member who is now in a state prison in upstate Mi., not so much for the abuse at the hands of my father, but for the same reason I received all the abuse when I was a child, the main person who caused it all for me, caused it for him, His mother abuse and mistreatment towards him and being married to a drunk, and although you can’t blame others for your actions that you make, (which put you in places such as prison), I feel as well as other people such as my wife, if he had been removed from the home, before it got to far out of control he wouldn’t be as bad mentally. July 4th 2003 at 53 my father had a major heart attack while at a drop in Chicago Ill. He was in the hospital for almost two weeks, once back here the doctors took him of work indefinitely, it was then that he had started, to calm down with his abusive attitude, after having a few more minor attacks, he has slowed down even more. He started showing more affection, and then in 2008, his wife of 32 years passed away and he began to become more and more sentimental, he began to give hugs to his children, loved visits from his children and very often called to see if my wife could bring me over for a visit, it soon became a regular routine that when my wife and I had a doctors appointment downtown we would stop in for a visit, and he to this day still tears up when anything is mentioned about his wife of 32 years. It came to the point that there were numerous times he has expressed to my wife and I that he felt like giving up and ending it all. Numerous times after expressing these feelings to use we talked to him about those feelings, and he told us that although he fought in Vietnam, he was a big chicken and couldn’t bring himself to do such a thing, and with that being said, he was such a chicken for a long time he couldn’t even give himself shots to keep his sugar diabetes in check. Now he gives himself his own shots, his mind pretty much intact, although in 2001 – 2002 he requested I go through his check register and when I did I found the register to be all messed up being down as much as $600.00 back to the positive and back and fourth to the point that I had to give up half way through the register he was in the black by around $1000.00. With that being said in late 2004 -2005 he tried to start his own trucking business, and asked if I would be his accountant, because I always always good with numbers, I told him I had no schooling and had no degree for that he said you now to add, subtract, multiply and divide, don’t you I replied yes, he said that is all you need to know, I figured, well if that is what he requires then I will try to take on the task, so I told him I would but on one condition, I had have my own computer at my home because I wasn’t going to have people getting into the computer and have them changing my work when I wasn’t at his house, he told me no that is why you have the business side of the computer locked, I then said hat about if the computer crashes because my sister mistreats it because she had crashed two computers prior to this. He told me that’s way you make hard copies every night before you leave, well needless to say he didn’t like the stipulations I asked so I didn’t take on the task, and so he asked two other people due the accounting and both of them messed up so bad as well as he did, but not to the extent as the first two that the trucking business didn’t even last 1 year, one of them took money from the company and the other person took money from the company as well as taking out loans and using the company and my fathers home as collateral to the extent that he not only lost the business and the trucks because they weren’t bringing in the the income from the hauls, but the loans in which he used the house for collateral for fixing up the house that my dad owned and getting personal vehicles all with loans at which the business and home where used as collateral, so the city took the house because my father couldn’t pay those loans, and my father allowed this to happen and signed the paper work receive the loans, so he is at fault as well. Now my father is drawing Social Security, Veterans Benefits, and is payee for two other people, and asked me to keep track of those three accounts, then we went to four when he received a lump sum from the V A for the AGENT ORANGE he received while in Vietnam, which he used to move out to the country where he has always wanted to be, but my step mother didn’t want to move, and until receiving the extra benefits from V A he couldn’t afford it. Now that he is in the country when he is in town it is usually for appointments and I do hardly see him but I talk to him often, if not to update him about his balances from the three accounts that he still holds but the one thing that has changed that now makes him a father I wish I have always wanted, some children want and still want and some people have and have always had is long talks, the other day my wife said I talked to him on the phone for almost an hour and I told her when I got of the phone, the other day when she was at the store grocery shopping, I had spent almost an hour and a half talking on the phone with him. SO in the end I was angry with my father for all the abuse I suffered at his hands, mostly because of lies and although I can’t quit forget something so terrible I have forgave him and look at the past as a reason why I am so close to him, sure I would like to do things such as hunt, fish, ect, but due to my medical situations it wouldn’t be safe and he understands this. I am in no way saying that it was easy to get this far nor am I it is over. But that fact is no matter how long it takes, “The Harder They Are The Farther They Fall” and sooner or later THEY DO.
Example: 2-18-11 my father stopped by and we had a nice talk about some situations that he was going through with some of the older siblings, and he had told me the biggest problems with them, is they don’t want to listen, they think they know it all. I told him I used to be that way for along time, and sometimes I still feel that way but alot of times I am put in place. He also told me sometimes because of his heath conditions, he feels like laying down and giving up, he can hardly walk, has a hard time breathing, can’t work, and he cant sit in one spot to long or stand for long periods as well, so he feels useless. I told him that he had much knowledge that he could give, people just had to open up there ears and listen to him. The problem was they don’t want to because they don’t want to be put in their place they don’t want to be proven wrong or learn new things or easier ways to deal with things they already know, so they argue about it until the conversation is no longer worth discussing. One thing I have learned from my father taught me in later years and my older son continues to catch me on is you have to know which things are worth fighting about. I told my father also in response to him saying he doesn’t know if it is worth continuing, I told him that because of my brain surgery, I have lost alot of things I have learned over they years, alot of the things he has taught me come back and most of of the time it is refreshed when my older son brings it up because it was something his father taught him. I also told my father I was always looking for advice, his reply was ” all I know is truck driving and machinery I told him “even as a truck driver he picked up alot of every day life experiences that I learned and could use in my life and pass on to my children. My ears are always open and want to gain more knowledge so there is something you have to look forward to. And the long talks that we have had on the phone the past year or so without his knowledge I have pickup on things that he has said that I have turned in to knowledge that I use . Over the past 18 years my oldest son has even taught me things that his father has taught him, that my father hasn’t taught me. And maybe someday I can pass that knowledge from my father and my oldest son on to my son. At this point it is hard passing that knowledge on to my son with him being 11 years old he has the I know it all attitude. So for the time being I am reminding myself and sometimes I have to remind others “is it really worth the argument, in time he will learn” just as we had to do.