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This is a question Dad stories

"Do anything good for your birthday?" one of your friendly B3TA moderator team asked in one of those father/son phone calls that last two minutes. "Yep," he said, "Your mum." Tell us about dads, lack of dad and being a dad.

Suggested by bROKEN aRROW

(, Thu 25 Nov 2010, 11:50)
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Do these have to be funny?
Like many navy personnel my dad was sent to the Falklands. Unlike many others he did a lot of killing. The information we got from him about his experiences came in small drunken tales told through held back tears throughout my childhood usually involving the consumption of alcohol. It's generally felt within the family that some of the things he had to do out there were not exactly above board.

Family life was fairly normal until 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. My dad went from being a guy that liked a drink to a full blown drunk. He was always bought up to show no signs of weakness. His father had been in the navy and had bought him up hard. He was terrified of being sent to the Gulf and rather than show his weakness he drank and took it out on my mother, my sister and me. My sister was 7 and I was 9, my brother was only 2 so avoided it. We were all beaten for the tiniest thing. I was kicked across rooms, in to shelves and up and down stairs. My sister received similar treatment. My mother lost teeth, had her head put through internal walls and was beaten regularly. He didn't want to see us afterwards and for weeks at a time we would eat meals in separate rooms and only see him in passing in our own house.

My sister and I were scared of him but I cannot imagine how scared my mum was as she wouldn't leave him. 5 years later he was sent to America for 3 months. I was 14 by then and told my mum that it was time to go. She refused. I phoned around, arranged a house viewing, explained the situation to the letting agent and paid the deposit with the savings account my great granddad had set up for me before he died. I then told mum we were leaving and we did.

She never told him she was leaving and never told him where she had gone. She started to seem stronger, started to stand up for herself. She allowed him visitation but never told him where we lived. I hated the visitation, all he talked about was mum and how she had no reason to leave. He claimed he had never hit her, even when I screamed at him that he had hit us all and I had seen all the things he did to mum he would deny it. It amazing how people can lie to themselves and believe it. Mum lost all her friends, they were all navy wives and basically thought that if she put up with it for 5 years it can't have been that bad. Even her family stayed friends with him and he regularly visited my mums sister in London. He turned her whole family against her.

Then he was arrested for assault. A serious assault. I won't go in to details but it was the kind of assault that means jail time. Suddenly all the people that had thought we were lying for years were apologising, not bad only took 9 years. He was out on bail awaiting trail and I had moved to London ready to start my first week at university.

Then I got a call, it was 11pm the day before a big bomb scare near Clapham Junction in 2000. They had found him in his car, in his garage, hose attached to the exhaust. He had boxed up his whole life, hung up his uniform instructing us that he was to be cremated in it. He had made his last meal and gone to the garage with it. He was found with half a plate of food and a glass of wine. There were several notes left ranging from sober instructions to drunken scrawls blaming everyone he could think of as long as it wasn't him.

I started university two days later, I didn't go home for the funeral.

It was ten years this September since the suicide and though what he did to us for years was terrible I am starting to forgive him. I honestly believe that going to war and the fear of going back turned him in to the person he became. Perhaps if Iraq didn't invade Kuwait things would have been different and my mum would have more real teeth. Its made my brother in to quite an angry person who isn't scared of a confrontation, to me its done the opposite, I hate the idea of a fight, I hate the idea of war, I can't understand how in this age of technology we are still reduced to killing each other to sort out a problem.

If my dad wasn't sent to war, he would probably be alive today. There are more casualties than those who die on the battle field.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 10:02, 7 replies)
Well written.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 10:07, closed)
You are a helluva strong person to live through that and get your mum sorted when you were so young. Sorry, but the war probably saved your mum's life - if he hadn't of gone your mum would be so much worse off.

May you live happy.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 10:10, closed)
Wey done fo' sharin
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 10:14, closed)
My life has creepy parallels with yours
Forces child, violence, wars, even down to the brother who loves a bit of confrontation where as I hate it. Strangely enough I've fogiven mine too.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 11:25, closed)
Well done, that took real guts to write.
A violent alcoholic as a father is a heavy load to carry, I'm happy for you that you are starting to forgive him.
Have a hug'n'aclick!
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 11:42, closed)
Thanks all
I really don't feel like it tooks guts write though, There are many people that went through a lot worse than me and I am just glad I didn't have their childhood.

If it taught me one thing its that my kids want an awesome dad and I am bloody well going to be one.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 13:15, closed)

same thing has happened to my mrs dad. He lives with us and is a chronic alcoholic and has been for a long time he also took part in a few wars.

Even my wife's mother (who walked out on my father in law) says that he stopped being her husband when he returned from his first conflict.

I genuinely cant stand the father in law but i also feel sorry for him too
his stories aren't something anyone sane should go through.
(, Fri 26 Nov 2010, 15:13, closed)

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