Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Journey of Forgiveness - Part One

It’s strange how the details of my surroundings at that moment are seared into my memory. The sun shone through the upstairs bedroom window of our tall yellow house, its warmth spreading across the quilt covered bed that Daddy told us kids to sit down on. He sat on the other twin bed facing us. The paint on the bedroom wall behind him was flat, minty green, scuffed. The closet door was ajar, the interior was dark. What I don’t remember is even more strange. I don’t remember the words he used to tell us he was leaving Mama and us. I don’t remember the expression on his face, or if he cried. Stranger still, I don’t remember my own emotions. I don’t remember if I said anything in response or if I cried. I think something inside my nine year old heart just went numb and shut down.

In a large family like ours, spending money wasn’t just handed out willy nilly. But that day, Daddy handed us kids some spending money and told us to walk the couple blocks to the variety store on the main street of our little town and buy ourselves something. I guess that he didn’t want us kids to see him filling up cardboard boxes with his belongings or driving away in our big, old Oldsmobile station wagon.

I remember the details of the sidewalk as we walked to the store, so I guess my head was hanging. The sun was warm on my neck and back. I felt like I should be more excited about getting to buy something and numbly picked out some modeling clay. I remember the smell of the clay and the way it stained my hands reddish brown when I played with it. But I don’t remember if I cried myself to sleep that night or not.

The next couple of years, the memories are all foggy with only a few clear memories bobbing up to the surface of my mind, rather like those red and white floats Daddy tied to our fishing line when he took my little brother and I fishing in the nearby river. Sometimes we’d spend the night camping by the river, me, my little brother and Daddy, sleeping in the back of the old station wagon snuggled together. I remember another overnight stay at a little apartment Daddy must have rented. One cold, rainy night, I was in the very same upstairs bedroom that Daddy had sat us in to tell us he was leaving. Unable to sleep, I leaned my head against the cold windowpane and stood there crying, straining my eyes as I looked out into the dark night in the direction that I thought Daddy’s apartment was. I cried and prayed for him to come home. I remember my youngest brother and I sitting together on the old wood floor of our enclosed back porch, talking together about if there was some way we could get Mama and Daddy back together. And I remember Mama standing in the dining room of the tall yellow house, talking on the black dial rotary phone with the curly cue cord that always got hopelessly tangled up, and telling whoever she was talking to that she’d take him back if he’d just come home.

The day Daddy drove up in the station wagon to pick us kids up for our Sunday afternoon visit with a lady in the front seat next to him, the weather was dark and gray. He told us that this was his new wife. I had seen her before. She and her husband had been friends with Mama and Daddy. So this was who he had traded my Mama for, I thought. (to be continued…)

Still following,



  1. oh my ...
    waiting to read more
    and thankful how God
    reaches in to massage
    a sore heart.

  2. Reading this is heartbreaking..but remembering who you are now is inspiring!

  3. I, whose parents will celebrate 50 years next week, have never experienced that kind of pain. I can't even begin to imagine it. I'm waiting on the next part.

  4. You're making me feel this, Elizabeth. :-( I didn't know this pain as a child. But I did know it when my ex-husband said the words to me. I'll look forward to hearing the rest of your story. I didn't know.

  5. Oh. My.

    My heart aches for you. When will you post the rest of this story, Elizabeth?

  6. i'm weeping.

    i only have tears for you, my sweet elizabeth. and anger towards your father, but only because i want you and your mother and your siblings to know how precious you all are.

    oh friend.

    what a beautiful woman you've become.

  7. This is my story too friend. Weeping. Remembering. The deep pain of being left behind. Begging him to stay. Begging him to come back. Begging him to love me enough. Then he remarried and the dream shattered. A part of me broke then too. That part that believed that Daddies never leave. That part that believed he loved us most and best.

  8. my heart is wrung out for you as a little girl...the pain of it...waiting to hear the rest of your story...

  9. I am glad you are writing this story, Elizabeth. Glad you are writing the details about the sidewalk and the modeling clay. Those contemplating walking away need to hear, see, and feel what it looks like from inside the heart of a nine year-old girl.

  10. oh...I am so of my friends i high school...her parents and another couple...youth group leaders...and all of a sudden...divorce...and one husband...married the others wife...tragic...I will be back for the rest of the story. I love seeing into others lives...where they have come from...what molded them. blessings to you~

  11. This story is part of who you are so it is important to write it. I didn't live it but could feel it through your words. This gives everyone hope of Christ's redemption and power to forgive and live an abundant life as your life testifies. :)

  12. I will be waiting for the rest, too. Elizabeth, it is beautifully told. An important story.

  13. You're a beautiful writer. I'm sorry for your pain but glad for your sharing...


The best thing about blogging is hearing from you!
I'd love for you to leave a comment! Click subscribe by email if you want me to be able to reply to you.