I Want to Live: The Shadows of Gun Violence

dad & us at police camp

On a cold night in February, 1983, my life changed forever.

While I was watching Crystal & Alexis duke it out on Dynasty, I heard a knock on the door.

We weren’t expecting anyone, so I felt a sensation of fear.  That sensation grew as I saw my father’s face in the door window, surrounded by the dark shadow of night.

My parents were going through a nasty divorce at the time, and my father was mentally ill, angry, lonely, and had nothing to lose.

I was happy when he moved out.

I was happy when his gun went with him.

His gun was issued to him by the NYC Police Department.  It went with him everywhere.  It threatened me.  It tormented me.

And now on this dreadful night, I knew that it may be the last thing I saw.

I opened the door due to some kind of foolish daughterly duty, and he place the gun upon my temple.

There were no hugs and kisses.  He simply said “do you want to die first?”

These words have echoed in my head for decades.  These words will forever haunt my dreams.

Upon hearing them, I panicked.  My reaction was to run out of the room and try to hide.  I heard my father drunkenly shouting at everyone, including my aunt, sisters and mother.

I did not know what to do.  I was 13 years old and didn’t have any answers.

So I ran.

And I haven’t stopped running since.

I ran barefoot through the snow to my neighbors house.  My shadow appeared in the moonlight upon the snow.  “Do you want any socks?” they said as they stared at my bare, wet feet.

I mumbled something to them like “my dad’s there, he has his gun.”

My neighbor was also a cop, so he walked to our house with his gun.  His wife called the cops.  The good guys.

Why wasn’t my dad one of those good guys?  I thought to myself.

Though I did not hear any gunshots, I had no idea if my family was alive or dead.  I was frozen and out of it.  I felt ashamed of myself for running and abandoning them.  I still do.

Though my family & I were lucky enough to survive, the shadows of gun violence will always remain.

They are a dark presence in my life, and even though my father passed away almost 10 years ago, his words still haunt me.

Being a gun violence survivor in any capacity, affects you for the rest of your life.

It may cause fear, anxiety, shame, PTSD, etc.  It casts a shadow upon many of the things you do.

And though counseling and/or time may help, you are never truly free.

You are its prisoner, and the constant reminders of the gun violence plaguing our nation continually tighten its grasp.

You are the child at Sandy Hook.

You are the movie patron in Aurora.

You are a member of the bible group in Charleston.

You are the college student in Roseburg.

You are at the holiday party in San Bernardino.

You are a member of a growing number of gun violence survivors.

You are a part of the human race.

You know all too well that a gun is not love.

A gun is taking away many of those we love.

It is an instrument of death, especially in the wrong hands.

It must not be held up above humanity.

It must be regulated to protect humanity.

It does not love.

It does not breathe.

It is my foe.

My dad used to call me foe, as a joke from fe fi fo fum.

“Do you want to die first?”

No Daddy…………………..I want to live…………………………

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Advertisements

5 comments

  1. Susan Langer · June 30, 2015

    Such a powerfully sad and tragic story. It is your truth and it will always be a part of you as my history of sexual abuse as a child is part of me. We are forever changed as a result of what was done to us. I will reshare this on my social media sites. We can make a difference. Take care. Susan

    Liked by 2 people

  2. berta5130 · July 1, 2015

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure it was difficult to relive that . You are a very strong and loving person. Your children are very blessed to have you for their mom. I also hope you are feeling better. Thank you for the beautiful poems you write and share.
    Love,Roberta xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • poetologie · July 1, 2015

      thank you so much Roberta! It was actually harder to write that than I thought it would be. I am feeling better, let’s hope it continues 😉 Hope you are doing well, love to you ❤

      Like

  3. Suzanne · July 1, 2015

    My heart is hurting for you…it hurts for my home of Sandy Hook, CT ….. it hurts for my childhood home of Charleston SC….it hurts for everyone that goes through the pain…..thank you so much for sharing!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s