“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”—Mitch Albom. Being born second eldest, with my father’s child (my half sister) being born a few years before I, has left me with a sense of guardianship over my younger brother. Lydia, the eldest of us three, was born when my father was in the teen years of his life. Many years ago, I might have even called her my sister, but now I have no idea who or where she is. Vince, my younger brother, is my motivation; he is constantly there pushing me through barriers I thought I would never conquer.
I was born when my father was breaking the dawn of his twenties, after he “fell in love” with a woman named Victoria. But when being realistic, let me say that their relationship completely lacked the love aspect.
You stabbed me,
But not in my back.
No, you stabbed me in my weak place;
You did your dirty work somewhere it could never heal.
You stabbed me where it used to beat.
You stabbed me where it now just is.
You stabbed me in my heart.
I was born, Jocelyn Fetting, on Thursday, April 24, 2003, weighing six pounds and one ounce. Most memories of my childhood life have been forgotten; only pictures of what once was remain. What I do know is that I was the only child for precisely one year and sixteen days before my younger sibling was born. Vincent, a beautiful baby boy, was born on May 10, 2004.
As my brother and I grew older, we were exposed to many hardships. Yelling, crying, holes in walls, leaving, and coming back, are all things that we were used to before we were even ten. Fights between my parents was a regular thing to witness. And as that fight began to escalate, there would be the throwing of punches and cries of terror. This would then result in the holes in walls, which would lead to my mom grabbing my brother and I to leave my father. However, in the end, we would always go back to him for reasons I have yet to understand.
I am six years old, and it is a freezing cold winter night. I am awaken by the hoarse cries of my grandmother (who is living with us), pleading my father to let her daughter inside the house. As quietly as I can, I move from my bedroom to the stairs to see what all the commotion is. I am sitting on the stairs with each hand placed on the white bars in front of me. My father is standing right in front of our door yelling, “If you want to come in this house, you must bow down on your knees and beg to me.” I begin to cry as my grandmother calls the police. I hurry up into my bedroom to sleep off this nightmare.
I only have one heart,
And your stab wound will never fade;
A constant reminder that I loved you too much,
Where you did not love me.
You played me like a game of chess:
Deceitful and with plenty of strategy.
I mistook your need for company,
I guess that was
Being exposed to such brutal behavior caused my brother and I to fight one another, verbally and physically. When we fought, it would escalate to the point of almost killing one another. If being completely honest, I could say that I have come close to killing my brother and not having any reason as to why. After we fought, we would sit and cry, but we would not cry about the pain inflicted towards one another. Instead, we cried about how we felt and about what we did to deserve this horrid life. I knew from these tearful moments that he did not deserve any of this life, and neither did I. One thing we did learn from these horrid times was that we needed each other. We needed each other more than we needed air, because we were all we had.
I guess this was all of my fault.
I loved you.
I believed every word that escaped your mouth.
I was there when you needed to escape this horrible world.
I am broken because of you,
Yet when I think of you, goosebumps form on my arms,
I start to sweat and slur my words.
At a young age, Vince was diagnosed with a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity named ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Vince, as a child, would often be extremely aggressive both at home and at school. Being aggressive and having an aggressive father was fatal for Vincent. Whenever he would act out of turn, he would receive beatings. Faded bruises from shoes, belts, hangers, and hands are constant reminders he still feels every single day.
After breaking themselves and their children, my parents tried and tried for another child and, for ten years, they failed. However, on Sunday, August 17, 2014, my sister Nevaeh was born. Not for one second do I regret the birth of my younger sister. I simply know that she does not deserve the life that she was born into.
Nevaeh’s monstrous screams are echoing throughout the house. My family and I are asleep in the living room as an outcome of our movie night. Nevaeh’s screams will wake the whole neighborhood if left unattended, so I step up to go fetch her so I can rock her back asleep. As I cradle her in my arms, I am singing the song A Thousand Years by Christina Perri: “I have died everyday waiting for you…”I look into her blue eyes that twinkle in the light from the television in this dark house, and I think to myself that she is going to become someone special in this world. Once I stop singing, I tell her that I love her and that will never ever change. Now I cry because I know she will be hurt just like me, by the people who should love her the most. And as she drifts off into deep sleep, I promise her that I will protect her at all costs–no matter what.
Hell came a few weeks following that day. Mom and dad were in the usual battle match, and my siblings and I were trying to drown out the ruckus with the television. When things had become way too out of control, I remember using my body to shield Nevaeh and looking at my brother and telling him that everything is going to be alright. I told my brother that it would be alright when I knew it would not. I lied to him because that is what I had to do to spare him of the truth that it would not be alright. I hoped that life would be alright, but I knew it could never be. And I told him it would be because that is what he needed at the moment, and I knew that I had to protect them because no one else would.
I am no longer denying the fact that you hurt me,
But knowing this fact, tell me why it is so hard to stop?
To stop looking for you in everything that I do.
To stop hearing your voice in my head as if you were really there.
To stop feeling your soft touch.
Why is it so hard to stop caring about you,
When you made it clear you didn’t care enough?
My brother, sister, and I were shattered by the people who were supposed to put us together. It was a simple crime of many measures; the convicted remain unpunished and the scars will remain invisible forever. “All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair,” Mitch Albom.
You did not care.
You made that perfectly clear when you stopped trying.
Suddenly one day there wasn’t an us anymore;
There was just a you and a me.
Two forces pushed apart,
And I will never know why.
But this is my fault,
Because I cared too much when you didn’t at all.
And my punctured heart
Is merely a constant reminder.
(poem: A Constant Reminder by: Jocelyn Fetting)