Speaking Up

June 3, 2020

My father was rather abusive. He was physically abusive of me, verbally abusive with my mother. And I think whenever there were family arguments, whether it’s my brothers, my father, my sister my father, my mother and my father, I always wanted to stand up and just say, “It’s not them, it’s you,” and I was too afraid to. I was just too afraid he’d get violent with me and I’d get hit again.

But right before I got married my father had been quite sick and my mother cared for him. And then my mother got quite sick and had to be hospitalized. So, it might’ve been less than a month, maybe just a month before my wedding, I went to Florida to take care of my father while my mother was in the hospital and I was serving my father dinner because that’s what females do for males who are old school immigrants. Then when my father lifted up his hand and I thought he was going to hit me and I was 36 at the time…I was 35 at the time.

And I said to him, I don’t know where it came from, but I finally spoke up and I said to him, “You hit me too much.”

And he said to me, “But you talk back all the time.” And I said to him, “No child is there to be hit the way you hit me, talking back or not.”

My impression of not speaking up was not true but nonetheless we went back and forth a little bit more about whether or not it’s justified and then he looked at me, he said to me, “Maybe,” and that was it. It was all gone. And he died, he died right after my wedding. The last, he told me he was only staying alive to dance at my wedding. And he did and went to the hospital two days later and never came out, but you know it’s moments of reconciliation that I firmly believe that you can speak up at any time, it doesn’t have to be in a moment as long as someday you do. So that was hard.

I never rehearsed it in my head. It was just the way he raised his hands, I put a plate in front of him and his hands came up and I thought he was going to hit me. I jumped back and I said to him, “You hit me too much.” So it was just spontaneous. I don’t think I have a rehearsed what I would say to him about it.