From the book A Prisoner by No Crime of My Own,
Chapter 8 – Prophecy
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me.”– Charlotte Brontë
As my family of origin struggled to move past our disclosures of abuse, my father fell ill. He, of course, maintained that we were all liars and had no idea what we were talking about. By this time my mother had moved back in with him, after a short stint of living on her own. She said, “I was lonely. None of you kids ever came to see me.”
I can’t image why.
Dad was put in the hospital. My mother was stricken with a fear that she may lose him. She was a blubbering mess, clutching her purse as if holding onto my father’s soul. She could not lose him, that was clear. She had us go to the hospital chapel and pray for him. She wouldn’t hold up well without his dark strength. Who would she fight with? Who would she love? Who would protect her hidden evil?
Eventually, the doctor came out and informed my mother about a procedure he was planning to run, and she literally collapsed to the floor. In truth, it made me sick. I hated watching how much she loved this sick, miserable man. I was still close to my siblings at this time and told everyone I would keep watch through the night on Dad’s condition, that they needed to take Mom home. They did and I stayed and prayed for him until morning.
I was terrified to stay at the hospital. I didn’t want to sit next to my father alone but had been given that role a long time before. Growing up, my father had pitted us against each other and the special attention he’d given me angered the entire household. Hadn’t they seen the price I paid?
My father was in ICU. I needed someone with me to wrap my panicked nerves. I called my mother-in-law, Deb, and she came to the hospital and sat with me until morning.
In the coming days, as he recovered, I continued to visit him. One day after he was moved from the ICU, I came to see him and sat down beside his bed. I looked at the breathing tube down his throat and took his hand in mine and caressed it. I was betrothed to him, and he knew it. His restrained eyes looked at me in defeat. Not being able to speak, a very small tear rolled out of his eye and down his temple. I wanted to believe with all my heart that Dad would recover and say he was terribly sorry, that he loved us all, and it was going to be okay. His inability to speak enabled me to project my deepest longings onto him and to briefly fantasize about his impending apology to the family, to me.
When the tube was finally removed a few days later, I walked into his hospital room, anticipating comforting words of affirmation about the pain inflicted by his hands. I sat gently on the bed, and he pulled me close to him in an embrace.
He whispered in my ear, “I’ve got my life, I’ve got my baby girl, but I’ve still got this lie.”
My heart fell to the floor. My dreams of him loving us were smashed. I pushed him away from me, stood, and walked out of that room.
I only saw my father a handful of times after that. He had chosen deceit and the battle between us was on.
About six months before this illness, I’d dreamt that my father was milling about his house. The dream began with a man crawling in a downstairs window at my dad’s house. He stayed in the house a long time. The dream finished with my father walking away from the house with a limp. It was strange to me at the time but also something I couldn’t ignore.
I prayed about the dream. I knew that the man who crawled through my dad’s window was evil. It was like death had come in. I opened my bible and ironically read about a six-month period. Strange to me, but notable, I looked ahead at the calendar six months and made note of it. Almost to the day six months later, my father entered the hospital – fighting for his life.
When Dad returned home from the hospital – yep, he walked with a limp.
Was this odd dream a prophecy fulfilled? I was in a true battle of good and evil. Just like they depict in a comic-book story. Who could stand the strongest for their side?