In a lot of ways, I could be considered lucky. There are some great memories I have with my father. Going fishing together, walks down dusty gravel roads, even getting ice cream and going on a drive.
Then one day, everything changed. Instead of happy, fun-filled memories, all I can think about are the things I don’t want to remember. The yelling, fighting, the violence. I remember screaming at him one night while he was drunk and mad that our dogs broke something. He hauled them off and shot them. I remember the day that started off so perfectly, but will forever be remembered as the day I snapped. The day that my heart finally broke beyond repair. He shot my dog repeatedly as she tried to run away, he had gotten upset because she wasn’t minding perfectly – she was just a puppy, under a year old. Even sitting here typing this, I can hear the cries coming from her. It will haunt me forever. Sometimes I wonder how my life would’ve been if I would’ve pulled the trigger. Before it even happened I started crying and screaming. It’s like I saw it coming but couldn’t stop it. Listening to her suffer, my first reaction was to point my shotgun at my father. I sat there for a moment, without him even noticing, and something in me caught myself and I discharged the gun right over his head.
I’ve spent so much time reflecting on this day. If I made the right choice, or what would’ve happened if I had done the unspeakable. How many lives would be better off? How many innocent pets would have been saved? Would my family ever have forgiven me?
This was the day that everything changed. This day that I could not forgive him for. This day, that no matter how many years of therapy I go through, it will always haunt me. For the first time in my life, his violence broke me. I had grown up around the mental and physical abuse between him and my mother. But for the most part it had never directly hurt me. It was always towards each other, or towards my sister.
As much as I have struggled, I still have never forgiven him for this. Through all the years of seeing his anger I had managed to still look up to him, to believe that he could be good, that he could still be my father. Until that day, when I said goodbye to the dad I thought I could have and hello to a future without him.