Heaven only knows
The sad memories of my toxic-narcissistic dad and the trail of souls he has left scared
Imagine having a father, who was never there for you. Imagine a man who was so disgusting and crazy that he threw your own 3 month pregnant mother into the wall just because of a stupid alarm clock. Imagine a man who made a 5 thousand dollar bet against your own gender. Imagine a man who never cared that you even existed.
In the beginning of my life I thought my father was a very busy man. Going around the world saving the name of art. I always referred to him as ArtDaddy, because he was a superhero in my eyes. My mother and sister said nothing but great things about him until I could learn the truth. Yes, I was born from love, but my dad wasn't all that fond about continuing that same love afterwards. This is my life's story about my father and how he left us when I was 9 months old. This story is also about how he treated others and myself along the road.
At age 6, I got news that my father would be coming into San Antonio for a few days. I would finally see my dad. I remember him calling me the week before, and I was so excited. Over the phone, he promised he would come and pick me up, along with his girlfriend, Barb. Us three would spend a few days adventuring around the city. It was around the beginning of November, and I had made him a poster for his birthday. My sister helped with the design while our mom helped us with the clean up. I was a very messy kid when it came to paints and other mixed media.
The great day arrived, and all that morning I spent a good couple of hours with mom trying to decide what would be nice to wear. Several hours had passed, and still no dad. Around dinner time, we got a call from grandpa saying, "Paul couldn't make it. His work got in the way, but you know how it is." My mother was so furious, she replied, “You know, you could have called sooner, instead of waiting till the last second and keeping his only daughter hopes up all day." As I listened to this conversation, I fled to my room and cried my eyes out. I knew in my heart something was up, but I pushed it aside. My mom felt so responsible for what my dad did. The rest of the weekend mom took me places to get my mind off the negative. My sister also helped too with her bathroom humor jokes. It wasn't till the following next summer when I got to see my dad.
At age 7, my dad had invited me to an art exhibit at the botanical gardens. I finally got to see him! His girlfriend, Barb, was there, as well as my mom. She also was contributing at the same place. I remember my dad and another man were setting up my fathers sculptures in one of the hallways for the show. I was playing by the nearby pound, talking to the fish, when i heard my father several times shout, "You CU*T, you stupid CU*T!" I thought he was saying 'you can't,' but at that age and time I didn't know much about vulgar language. I went over to see what was happening. I said to my father, "Daddy, what can't you do? Do you need help?" My father was furious at the younger man for some reason, but he thought of a lie quickly. He replied, "oh, um, Julie. I didn't see you there. Mr. Martin and I were just discussing where we need to put my sculptures." The fury in my dad's eyes was quite visible. I didn't know what was happening, so I went back and played by the pond some more. Later, Barb took a picture of us after the event. I still have the photo in my baby book album. There were other things that happened that day and that week I really don't want to talk about. I’m not going into too much detail because it's just too unbearable to explain.
At age 10, It was again summertime, it was around independence day. In the last three years I had gained a lot of weight due to medicine changes and increases. Being a plus size 5th grader who was constantly being bullied at school and in the neighborhood was no picnic. Little did I know my father was going to make things worse. That summer I was invited to Grandpa's BBQ party as well as my cousin's weekend sleepover. Those were not always fun but I did learn things from my abuela that they didn't teach at school or at my moms house. During that July, Texas was going through another horrible heat wave. Mom dropped me off at my grandparents house, I should have asked her to stay but I knew Mom had other very important things to do. As I knocked on the door, I was expecting grandma or my uncle to answer but it was my father. He said in an unpleasant tone, "Thank you, but we're not accepting any girl scout cookies or anything at the moment." He had thought I was a door to door sales kid. My own father didn't even recognize me. It was hot and humid, I replied in a raspy voice, "Dad, it's me, Julie." I thought he was joking, but he wasn't. He slammed the door before I could finish my sentence. About a minute later my uncle opened the door and apologized. Tìo Able was flabbergasted that his own flesh and blood brother didn't recognize his daughter. Dad took a longer, ugly stare at me and replied, "Oh, I'm so sorry, Julie." I recently had an eye exam this morning, and I didn't recognize you."
This wasn't the truth. I later figured he was disgusted by me, my very presence. Around lunch time my dad went through my sleepover suitcase. He asked, "Are all these your vitamins?" I replied, "Yes, dad, those are my over the counter vitamins and prescribed medications." My father looked at me like as if i was a leper. He stormed over to the kitchen and through my bag of medicines into the garbage. "This is why you're so...so, like this!" Those doctors are just quacks! They're the ones that are killing you!" He shouted to my face. That night, after all the drinking contests, drunken music between my Tìa, father and other family members, I called my mother to come pick me up. I told her what had happened. At this time i had a massive migraine and no medicine to help it. While I was on the phone, my cousins started to make me feel bad that I didn't want to stay, calling me a wimp and a crybaby. I really wanted to spend the night, but after all that mess, i just wanted to go home. When my mom arrived outside with the car, I quickly made a b-line for the door. My uncle came rushing out of the house before we left my grandparents driveway. He brought me something which I thought was some sort of boxed RC car toy package. To my surprise, when I opened it, there was my bag of pills. My tìo had fished them out of the garbage for me. I was so very grateful. Later that night, my mother got a disturbing voicemail from my father. She didn't let me listen to it until I was older and I knew the complete truth about him.
For the next 2 and a half years I really, REALLY worked hard to lose the weight. In fact I worked so hard that I made myself sick a couple of times and my doctors said I had to stop before I hurt myself permanently. The year was December of 2002 and I was down to 145 pounds even, that, and in the same year I had a humongous growth spurt. That December I heard good news from my dad. He was going to come to my birthday party. Mom and I made sure everything was perfect. I got my hair professionally styled three days before the party, and I had my dentist put a special color on my braces. I made great attempts to ensure that everything was absolutely perfect, well, as much as possible. All my close friends and family members came to the party. Mom and I had picked this 5 cent arcade, called LarzLand. I remember every 30 minutes, I would go outside to check if my dad had come. An hour became 2, and all our guests had attended, all except my father. I really wanted him to be present. Around the pizza lunch hour, my Tìa came in with a huge birthday bag. Little did I know that this bag held my fathers gift to me, as well as a pity-drunken apology. Another wonderful memory of mine was when my mother was cutting the cake. My eldest cousin, Hillary, said she wanted the biggest slice and shouted to the whole group, "Julie doesn't need the biggest slice. Besides, like you really need it! You're just going to get fat again, prima!" My aunt looked at her with a dirty glare, then told my mom how big was too big of a slice. My mother softly said something to my aunt Cindy which made her very quiet. From the table, I still was looking at the window, hoping that my father would come in through those doors. Still looking, still waiting, still hoping.
When it came down to presents, that was when my Tìa mentioned, "Oh, and by the way, your father couldn't make it, something at the foundry happened that made him stay longer, but you know how busy he gets around this season. Also, he wanted to give this to you. It's his gift, there's one from Barb too." My heart felt broken and deceived, again. Before any of the other presents, I opened his first. It felt like a huge book. In the past, I've told my dad I love books, reading them, being inspired by them to make my own, etc. It was indeed a book alright. The complete storybook of Winnie the Pooh for Children. My cousin, my friends and a lot of the adults laughed.
I felt so embarrassed! In my head I thought, "How old does this man think I am?" My mom was glancing over and face palming herself. There was also a letter to it. Half was bent and falling apart. The other half was sticky and smelled like beer. It said, "happy birthday. Hope it's a great one! Sorry I couldn't make it, things are busy at work." I looked up in the right top hand corner of the card, in my father's handwriting it had the numbered year 1994. I shook my head, I couldn't believe it. My dad had given me an old, forgotten present and card. I quickly went over and opened Barbs' gift. Now she got me something I could really use. It was a whole art and rubber stamp kit. Barb really knew me, she was one of the family members besides my mom who actually listened and understood. My thirteenth birthday was indeed a blast, but making promises you cannot keep, especially to your daughter, really hurts.
In the year of the spring 2003, it was my last year of middle school. I was savoring everything I could. From my friendships, to the educational classes I took. I was really afraid I would never see my middle school friends again, and my middle school love, Matt. Jordan junior high was an awesome place. Much better than Horseman, that's for sure. That spring break our art teacher, Mr. Tate had taken pictures of his art travels around the U.S. of cemeteries and museums where famous and not-so-famous artists had died. One in particular really caught my attention, it was of an Iowa cemetery that had a sculpture of a crucified Jesus on it. I could really tell that Mr. Tate was quite gifted in photography. I remember throughout that early summer my dad would send letters from Iowa. It felt very strange for him to send me anything at that point of my life. It was mainly all about him, never a word about mom, me or the family. Sometimes it would be newspaper clippings, other times it would be a written letter on a dirty piece of parchment paper. However, that last month of summer vacation my dad had invited my mother and I to an unveiling ceremony in Bandera county. In my mind I was coming into realization that my father was a total narcissist. I thought, "I wonder what kind of sculpture or sculptures my father created this time?" When we got there, I remember an older gentleman thanking Paul for his contribution. They took down the curtain, low and behold, this was NOT a one of kind piece like my dad had overly spoken about in his letters. My dad had literally stolen a dead artist's masterpiece. I remember it was the same sculpture my middle school teacher had taken a picture in that Iowa cemetery. It took a lot of energy to not call him out, so I said nothing.
However, my mom did. I mean she was a professional artist herself. All those years at Parsons school of design in New York weren’t for nothing, you know. She replied softly to his face, "So, did you take 10%, or just stole and put your name on the whole thing, Paul?" That was so priceless! My father turned 50 shades of red that day. No one heard my mother say it, but I sure did. I knew my dad had stolen that artwork, my mom knew it too. Not only was my dad a narcissist, he was also a thief. I really have no idea how he did it, but he did. I really felt sorry for that deceased Iowa artist and his family that my dad ripped off. I know the piece was originally made in the 1800s, but still, no excuse. You don't steal from the dead, especially something of any religious factor. That is BAD karma right there. That day on, I wondered how many other works of art he had stolen?
About three years later, it was the winter of 2006. The city of San Antonio was getting ready for the holidays by lighting the tree downtown. My dad had taken me to several places in the last 2 days, well, the places HE wanted to go. I remember him promising and promising to take me anywhere my heart desired. Instead, we ended up going to the Foundry, his University, and other places of his choosing. Sadly to say this was the year I found out what a true monster my father was. On the third day, we went to downtown square market. My dad had parked under the freeway. He told me I was going to enjoy the walk. Little did I know that this 'walk' was 5 miles into downtown where we would meet my Tìa and my cousins. I remember Barb was a frizzled mess, smoking every chance she got. She never smoked that much before, poor thing. My mother had told my dad that morning, if she needs to take a break, let her take breaks. She has Lupus and foot problems. My dad didn't do this, he rushed and bullied me to keep going. I was in so much pain by the second hour. After all that walking, in the middle of downtown, we finally sat down at a local Pizza food truck. My dad bought me this greasy slice of cheese and pepperoni. I told him I cannot eat that, it wasn’t a cheat day. "Eat it!" He shouted in half way dilated black eyes. The man was clearly pissed about something, and I had a good feeling it was me. I took a few bites of that 'pizza' and when we got up to throw away my trash, I puked my guts out. I also noticed that the truck had an exceptionally bad food inspection grade. As I vomited into a nearby garbage can Barb held my hair back and comforted me. Dad shouted, "You done yet? We have to go!" Sick to my stomach, dizzy and in pain in multiple places of my body, I cried, "Dad, please I need to take another break! Remember what mom said." My dad was huffing and puffing. As he slowly turned around and shouted to my face, "Your mother isn't here, I'm the boss!" An hour and a half later, we finally met my Tìa and cousins at Fuddruckers. I was a mess, and I really wanted to go home. It was already 4PM, I didn't know what to do. To make things worse, my aunt Cindy told me to my face, "You're a spoiled little brat. Your father showers you in all these gifts and you have the nerve to want more!" The only thing that my father had bought me the entire time during his visit was two hair barrettes that totaled five dollars, and one slice of diseased pizza that i didn't even want or needed. How does that qualify me being a spoiled brat? At that point, I had enough. I was fed up with the abuse, and so I politely asked Barb for 3 quarters for the claw machine. What I actually used that money for was to call my mom on the payphone. I was so upset, and I was desperately trying to keep silent, but I couldn't because the pain from my body was so bad. At least I gave her the location where I was before my dad grabbed the phone and shouted in it, "she's fine!" He slammed the payphone hard and looked at me in raging eyes. Barb stepped in and told me to go to the bathroom and stay there. I stayed as much as i could. What felt like seconds was actually a long 30 minutes. My dad banged on the door, and screamed, "Julianne! Get out here right now!" Don't make me come in there!" I replied in a panic, "You can't, it's illegal for men to enter a women's restroom." I waited till he had left the outside bathroom door so I could sneak out. I knew my mom had to be close by, so I ran as fast as I could outside the restaurant, but there was my dad. He had a glass bottle of Budweiser beer in his left hand and with the other hand he pointed his index finger at my face and told me, "You're a disappointment, YOU'RE a disgrace to this family, YOUR not my daughter!" The insults about me and my mothers family were atrocious. He slammed his beer shattering it into the stairs of the Fuddruckers and made a fist about to hit me. Suddenly, my mother drove up and veered the car onto the curb about to hit my dad. She quickly got out, and shouted, "DON'T YOU DARE HIT MY CHILD!" My dad put his fist down, and I ran to get inside the car to cry. My mom had a good talk with him for about 5 minutes.
I will tell you one thing, I was saved by an angel that day. That angel is my mom. After that whole experience, my mother told me everything about my dad on the way home. Down to the very last, little detail of her life with him. Stories that happened before my birth, and stories after my birth.
In that same year of 2006, I lost my high school fiance and soulmate, Matt, due to a horrible car accident at our school. What made the pain even worse was the next year both my paternal and maternal grandmothers passed away four months between each other. My father never attended the funeral of his own mother, Cecelia. I believe he had done that on purpose just to show his cruelty. I have always been very grateful for my mom, and for both my family's.
The reason why I have written this story is because my dad is not doing well. My father never took care of his body. He got diabetes when he was 28 and never took the medicine, or stayed on the proper diet given by his doctors. Pizza and beer were the only two things he would eat. One of my grandfather's lovely quotes he used to say, "You’ve made your bed, now lay in it." Unfortunately, for my dad, due to his ill choices he has made all his life, he is now facing the consequences. From what my family has said to me is that my dad in the last month has suffered massive strokes. Along with contracting Covid and his immune system wont last much longer. The doctors at the hospital believe he is not long for this world. I'm not quite sure though. My dad is pretty stubborn and would probably beat the grim reaper to a pulp. I love my father but I do not love the roads he has taken. I will not pity him but I will pray for him. He was never there for me, my mom, my sister or any woman for that matter. When he was there, he was there with rage and physical/emotional abuse. I will never forget these memories, and I'm doing all that I can to heal from them as well as others who have hurt me in my life. I'm doing my best to forgive my dad and try to put the past aside. It is hard and I hope my father will one day realize that he messed up big time. Not just in my eyes but in the eyes of his family, and all the women and children he has hurt. As our family shaman once told me, “No misdeed goes unpunished.” This is true, and for my dad, I believe this is the beginning of his just desserts. Heaven only knows.