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  1. #1
    Caine's Avatar
    Caine is offline Jersey Retired
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    Dec 1969

    In the eyes of a child...

    Something happened several weeks ago that I have been wrestling with.
    While it didn't - and doesn't - affect me directly, it nevertheless had an impact on me and my family.
    This is all factual - no bull, no elaboration.

    There was a family that lived 3 houses away from us.
    Mom and Dad were unmarried, but had 4 kids together.
    One of those kids, the oldest daughter, is in school with my twin the same grade.

    About 2 years ago, when the twins were in Kindergarden, I went along to their class field trip to the Madison Zoo.
    I made it a point to attend as many field trips as I possibly could because I figured that the girls (My twins) would like it if I did - and they do.
    After all, nothing makes a child happier than to have their Mother or Father take an active interest in them...especially when they do so publicly.

    My neighbor, also attended with his daughter.
    To put it briefly, their kids are about 7, 6, 4, and 2.
    They run girl, boy, girl, boy and all have outdoors themed names - their father was an avid hunter/fisherman.
    Anyway, the kids were all the kind of kids who sort of melted into the woodwork.
    Very shy and quiet.
    Once they warmed up to you, of course, they were a bit more animated, but I never really saw them ever exhibit that confidence of self that outgoing people have.

    On that day - the day of the field trip - however, as I sat across from my neighbor and his daughter at the picnic table during lunch (flanked by my girls of course), I swear I saw that girl beaming like the sun.
    My neighbor adored his kids - as I do mine - and to see her, beaming with joy because she was with "her Dad" was quite the touching moment.

    Months later, the Mother and the kids moved out.
    It seems that my neighbor had a bit of trouble with alcohol, and became abusive towards the mother when intoxicated.
    From there, things sort of snowballed.
    Restraining orders, custody fights, he said/she was a regular soap opera.

    Through it all, my neighbor would spend virtually every weekend with his kids...and, when they were there, they would come and play with the twins.
    I conversed with him several times, always taking care to avoid the topic of the ongoing battle wasn't my business.
    My wife still spoke regularly with his Ex and was firmly on her side, while I tended to take a more moderate stance.
    I don't condone abuse - on any level - but I was unwilling to condemn him on the basis of her side of the story alone...after all, there are 3 sides to every story (Yes, I meant to type 3).

    At the worst point, the Mother asked my wife if we could serve as the drop-off/pick-up point for the kids.
    We agreed for a few weeks, but we weren't comfortable being in the middle of things, and elected to withdraw from that.
    Primarily because this occured while I was at work, and my wife wasn't comfortable with the idea of being in the middle without me there - a wise choice.

    Anyway, the teeter-totter continued, and while we still saw the kids when they'd come to play - our middle daughter even babysat a couple times with them - the whole affair sort of faded into the background....for us.

    2 weeks ago, it all hit the fan.....HARD.
    This is the story as I understand it, keep in mind that I do not have all the details, but the mother is our primary source.

    2 weeks ago, the mother received a phone call from her Ex's sister.
    The substance of the call was, "Call the Police....he's comming for you".
    She called, the Police came.
    After some time had passed and he hadn't shown, the mother told the Officers, "My doors and windows are locked, we'll be fine".
    The Police left, and the mother and kids all went to bed.

    At approximately 4am. she awoke to see him standing over her bed with a roll of duct tape in hand.
    Allegedly he said, "before I leave here tonight, I'm going to kill you"...and proceeded to attempt to carry that out.
    The kids were awakened by the sound of the beating he began to administer...all but the oldest boy.

    The mother, seeing her daughter - the one in 2nd grade - in the doorway (Watching her father beating her mother) pointed towards the phone as she passed in and out of consciousness.
    The daughter had the presence of mind to call the aunt, then call 911.
    She ran back into the room and stated, "The Police are on their way, they're coming through the back door".

    The father fled.

    The Mother was treated at the hospital and released.
    The Police kept her and the kids in protective custody (Not sure where, I never asked) while they attempted to locate the father.

    They found him last weekend.
    He had gone into the woods and hanged himself.

    Now, you can debate the rights and wrongs of the entire sequence of events...I know I have.
    And you can draw whatever conclusions you want as to the rights and wrongs of both sides.
    While I freely grant that he crossed the uncrossable line, she is not completely blameless in the entire affair...there were choices she made that pushed the situation.
    Ultimately, however, he made the wrong choice...and irrepairable damage has been done.

    But, to me, the greatest tragedy is the look I saw 2 years ago in that little girls eyes.
    That look that said, "This is MY Daddy".
    That look of love and pride that every Father lives for - I know I do.
    That look that will never be in those eyes again.

    Her last memory of her father won't be of that spring day at the zoo, it will be of that winter night he attempted to kill her mother.
    She won't remember the joy, love, and laughter she had in her father's presence...she'll remember the screaming, crying, and blood.
    Every wonderful memory she stored up over 7 years of life was erased in one horrific incident, tainted by a series of wrong choices.

    So, while I regret the choice he made to suicide, while I regret the choice he made to attempt to murder his Ex, the mother of his children, regardless of provocation, while I regret that he allowed his personal demons (alcohol) to overcome him...I regret the loss of that look of sunshine even more.
    The fact that this is Christmas, a time of family and love, makes it all the more tragic.
    My neighbor made a series of choices that ended up becoming a long term solutiuon to a short term problem.

    I wish I could think of something that would make this post have a point...but I can't.
    I don't have some great life lesson or truism of the ages that this is the key to.
    I just can't shake that image.
    That smile she wore sitting across from my girls and I.
    And I can't make sense of this whole thing.
    It truly breaks my heart.


  2. #2
    nickbo's Avatar
    nickbo is offline Rookie
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    Dec 1969

    Re: In the eyes of a child...

    That is truly a tragic story.

    The fact that you related it, speaks of your great concern, and the effects that is having on you.

    That man had some very serious problems, and from what I have garnered from your post, alcoholism was just the tip of the iceberg.
    I do not presume to try to understand his mindset, but my guess is that he had some other deep seated issues.
    Alcoholism is a terrible thing, and not just for the alcoholic, but more so for the people that are the closest in their lives.
    What he did can never be justified in any manner or form, he was a sick, sick man.
    With that said, I believe that you had sensed some good in him. And that is true with most people that are truly disturbed.

    The best that you can do now is to be there for your children, as they are affected by this as well.
    As for yourself, trying to understand the what and why will be a very difficult , if not an impossible, thing to do. There are groups that can help with this.

    You are a caring person Caine, that is good.

    This story is much more common than you might believe. Sadly.
    I know somewhat of what I speak.
    I am an alcoholic.and volunteer counselor at an addiction treatment center.

    What you are dealing with is a very hard thing to do. Some people can be reached, and other can't. Tragically a fact of life.
    His children are the ones that will need the most care. And at those ages, without the proper guidance, it could have tragic consequences.
    All you need to be a successful coach is a patient wife, a loyal dog and a good quarterback, not necessarily in that order. - Bud Grant

  3. #3
    BadlandsVikings's Avatar
    BadlandsVikings is offline Jersey Retired
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    Apr 2006

    Re: In the eyes of a child...

    That is sad.
    How could any guy with balls do that?

  4. #4
    Ltrey33 is offline Jersey Retired
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    Dec 1969

    Re: In the eyes of a child...

    That's awful Caine. I feel so bad for those kids.

    I had a friend who had 5 other siblings, 2 girls and 3 boys, and her father murdered their mother and then killed himself. It left all 6 of them without parents, and they were split up into different homes.

    I just wonder what goes through people's minds when things like this happen. How can the act so selfishly? How can they not take into account how their kids will react? It has just never made any sense to me. It's just so senseless.

  5. #5
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Dec 1969

    Re: In the eyes of a child...

    Caine a very troubling story and I see your point about the lost love and admiration that a child had for her parent and how she will not remember the good about him but the bad and the terror he brought into their lives.

    The father was so wrapped up in his own agony and disease that he didn't take the time to see what good he had in his life the 4 children that loved him, and wanted him to love them back.
    He unfortanutly let the alcohol and anger run and ruin his life, and if he couldn't see that if he could let it go that life would have been better for him, and his family.

    But he projected his hate and anger at himself onto his wife for taking the kids away instead of seeing the real cause of his problems the dependency on alcohol that was masking some underlying problems that he wasn't facing.

    Terrible to hear and I am sure terrible for your family to have to witness this.
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  6. #6
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    Sep 2005

    Re: In the eyes of a child...

    "WVV" wrote:

    That is sad.
    How could any guy with balls do that?
    Alcoholism will do that. Alcohol controls you mind rather than you controing it when you are alcoholic. It will make things in your mind fester beyond belief, such as the hate he probably felt for his wife for leaving. It gnaws at you & aggrevates you more & more as you continue to drink.

    At the same time if he knows he has a problem & everything he has tried on his own fails, he will eventually reach a point where he feels he is a complete failure, a loser, shamed, alone, that his life isn't worth living & the world would be a better place without him in it. The remorse of actions you've done while drinking will eat you alive when you sober up, so you drink again to make that pain go away. You keep falling deeper & deeper into the pit until you either get help, die from the disease or as we say & Caine also mentioned, take the permanent solution to a temporary problem route.

    Unless you are an alcoholic or recovering from it, you have no idea what it feels like & it is very difficult to explain the feeling in words.

    My heart goes out to all parties involved.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  7. #7
    DPep11 is offline Asst. Coach
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    Dec 1969

    Re: In the eyes of a child...

    I'm at a loss for words. There is no way anyone can justify or make any sense of this
    :-\ ???

  8. #8
    x-ray jeff's Avatar
    x-ray jeff is offline Coordinator
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    Dec 1969

    Re: In the eyes of a child...

    Geez Caine,saddest thing I've heard in a while.That story makes any of my "problems" pale in comparison. Thanks for sharing this story. PPO reality slap received.

  9. #9
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    Sep 2005

    Re: In the eyes of a child...

    The only thing you can do for them at this point is give them support. They need to move forward & not look back. As difficult as that sounds, it does them no good to live in the past.

    Perhaps understanding more about alcoholism & what it does to a person might help them move forward along that path. There are support groups that will help in that matter such as Alanon.

    Why don't you bring her along with you & the twins to the Rams game. I will gladly donate her ticket.

    Let's see if we can't help recapture that smile that has become so dear to you.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  10. #10
    vikinggreg's Avatar
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    Dec 1969
    Great White North

    Re: In the eyes of a child...

    That is tragic and it will never make sense.
    Depression, alcoholism, anger and violation…so sad….I too am at a loss for words…I hope time will help heal the wounds of the children and their mother.
    You take care of yourself Caine and enjoy the love of your family.

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