From Despair to Hope, Part 1
I was only 4 years old when my mother died; I was too young to understand death, but I knew something was wrong.
I was only 4 years old when my mother died; I was too young to understand death, but I knew something was wrong. My childhood was unhappy. No matter how hard I tried, I could not please my father. He paid little attention to me. When I was 9 years old, I left home and stayed with friends and relatives until I was placed in a series of foster homes.
I lived in a boys home for three years when I was a teenager. While there I met a really tall boy who was a good basketball player. We started talking, and when I told him my name, he looked surprised. Then he told me that we were cousins.
“Your mother and my father were brother and sister,” he assured me. I could hardly believe it. I had never known my mother’s family, and I did not know I had aunts, uncles, and cousins on her side.
My cousin took me to his house to meet my family. The house filled with more and more relatives who wanted to take a look at me. As we talked, I learned that my mother had died of complications from the beatings my father had showered on her.
I was released from the boys home and went to live with my uncle. I sometimes went to my father’s house to see my younger brother and sister. Once as I approached the house, I saw my father pick up my little brother and throw him against the wall. When I ran up and tried to stop him, he picked up a two-by-four board and hit me with it.
My anger against my father festered and grew. He was well liked and respected on the island of Guam. Nobody outside our family knew what he was like at home.
I refused to rely on anyone. I paid my way through high school and worked to buy my own clothes. When I graduated, I joined the Air National Guard to get away from the island. Two years later I transferred to the Marines. I worked my way up through the ranks to sergeant.
I married, and my wife and I had three children. My work kept me away from home a lot, and it was difficult keeping a marriage together with my temper and my absences. Eventually we divorced. I felt hurt and empty inside; once more I had no family and felt completely alone.
Though I had a successful career in the Marines, I still felt unfulfilled. Nothing mattered to me anymore, and I decided that life was not worth living. I took my rifle and ammunition down to the beach to end my life.
I waded out to a rock in the water and sat down with my gun. I thought about my failed life. I had been sitting there for a while when a police officer approached. He saw that I was contemplating suicide, and waded into the water toward me. I raised the rifle and warned him to stay back.
The police officer backed away. Soon my colonel from the Marine base arrived and ordered me to put the gun down. I refused. Then my father arrived. When I saw him walking toward me, I put the gun into my mouth and pulled the trigger. There was an explosion, and I fell backward off the rock.
The people standing around rushed in and pulled me out of the water. I was alive. They examined the gun and found that the bullet had jammed halfway through the barrel.
When my dad saw what had happened, he walked away.
After this I received a discharge from the Marines. Now I really had nothing. I had no job, no family, and I hated my father. My life was a big fat zero.
To be continued next week.