Chapter 12

The new lady in our Dad’s life seemed so pretty and nice. But she was a snake with a poison tongue disguised in fine linens. Dad was guilty of sharing with her issues he had most of his life as they became closer.

The one thing he did share with her, and…

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Chapter 12

The new lady in our Dad’s life seemed so pretty and nice. But she was a snake with a poison tongue disguised in fine linens. Dad was guilty of sharing with her issues he had most of his life as they became closer.

The one thing he did share with her, and for name’s sake, let’s call her B. Dad told her many of his frustrations with Al. He never took the blame for his feelings. It was easier to place it on others.

Dad would tell her how Al fought to trim the yard, but he omitted to explain Al’s mentality and slowness. He told her that Al would not mow the yard, but again he never said Al had never mowed because he was incapable.

It wasn’t long before B decided Al was a piece of crap, disappointing his Dad, defying what his Dad needed from him. She took it upon herself to lecture Al any chance she could get. The catch was she always did it behind Dad’s back.

She could smile oh so pretty, but a way from Dad? She was a venomous snake ready to pounce. I have to be honest here. I think even if she would have said something in front of Dad, he wouldn’t have done a thing.

Dad was always afraid of what others thought of him. He was always ashamed of us kids. It is so hard to explain to you because I don’t understand why myself today. I know he loved us, well I am pretty sure.

Al learned to hate this woman B. He would run and hide if he found out Dad and B were coming over. I say coming over because by now she had invited him into her home to live. This left Al once again on his own. Dad and B would come over to mow or check the mail. While Dad mowed, this is when B would go into the house.

I can still remember once when I was there to see Dad I walked in on B yelling at Al. She was saying,” You are such a disappointment to your father. Why do you fight him so bad? Don’t you think you are old enough to be out there mowing instead of making your sick Dad do it? No wonder he moved in with me. He needed to get a way.”

I stepped up to the plate and threw her ass out. I told her, “Don’t you ever talk to my brother that way again, or I swear you will regret it the rest of your life. Now get the hell out of our house.”

She and I never told Dad of this conversation. You see Dad was sick. He had Bone Cancer. I didn’t want him to have the added stress in his life. Another thing I should add here is there was five acres to mow with a riding lawn mower. Al could never have done it, even if he had tried his best. His coordination just wasn’t capable of doing this chore.

B treated me different at first; nice is the word I would say. She was the pretty one. She lived on a beautiful piece of property on a channel. She had a cute little dog and kept an immaculate house. She was not going to be taking care of a sick man. She would cook for him but that was it, and he could sleep in her bed. Other than that, it was all up to me.

I took Dad to all of his doctor appointments. I took care of insurance companies. I had a job where I went to work at 6pm on Friday nights. I lived at this house taking care of an elderly married couple. I would leave Monday morning at 8 and return that same day at 6pm. I stayed all night then left Tuesday morning at 8. Then I was off the rest of the week.

In between this job I took care of Dad. I would be invited to Thanksgiving but Al wasn’t. This was just eating me alive. I was actually invited to the dinner because I was his caregiver and she was his lover, cook and housekeeper. I had to be there in case he needed something.

I was there quite a bit. I took care of Dad from March 2007 until he passed a way in December of the same year. B would take him on leisure one-day trips and of course I had to go along. Al would go to our Aunt’s  home for holidays and I would be with Dad and B.

I guess at one time B and our step-sister had met and got along fine and once again Dad had confided in his disappointment in her and B sent her a way too. So I was the only one allowed in her home and even then I knew the only reason was because she needed me.

As Dad became more ill I was there more and more. I was asked by Dad to come over more often than not. I think from his and my conversations he knew that he had made an error with picking her but was too afraid at this point. He didn’t want to go back to his home and die alone.

Dad was a big part of the blame for B not getting along with Al and the other sister, because he never cleared up the truth. He let her go on and believe what she wanted. As I was at her home almost constantly to care for Dad she would say hateful things to me.

I felt so torn. Dad didn’t want to go home and live. I had begged him to go back to his own house and I would care for him there. I told him I would get coverage for part of my hours but he insisted I stick with my job since I was almost divorced from the now ex.

A Love Letter To Daddy

Dear Daddy,

It has taken me so long to get up the strength to write you this letter. Today, is Father’s Day and while many are celebrating I was not. Instead I spent the afternoon with your son, my brother at the nursing home.

He isn’t doing well Daddy. He is wanting to die and he wants to do it at home. I hope you understand why I placed him for these past few months. I just felt I couldn’t give him all he needed. I felt like he needed more than just my help. I do hope you understand.

I have missed you so much. It is so hard to believe that you have been gone six years this December. Where has the time gone? I guess when I look back I mourned for years. I think if I admit it I am still mourning for you today.

Right after you had your burial, Al had a heart attack. The doctors said that he had so much trouble expressing himself, his heart just couldn’t take what had happened. Ever since then Daddy I have been taking care of him. I promised you I would and I haven’t let you down.

I have been alright I guess. I have never been able to fill  the void of you being gone, but I survive. I think of you at least once every day. I always tell myself that you watch over me. I can see you and Mom holding hands and looking down on Al and me.

Are you smiling? I know I disappointed you in so many ways and I am sorry, but I hope you are proud of me now. I have worked real hard at being the good girl you could smile down upon.

I bought a sketch pad today and some charcoal and sketch pencils. You remember Daddy? How you and I used to draw together? I am going to give it a shot without you. Every sketch I make will be done through my love for you.

Al is coming home this week and he says he is wanting to see you and Mom real bad. He says he misses you both and Granddad too. He told me Mom has said she is saving a spot for him, will you save a spot for me too?

You know that once Al is gone it will be me left from the family. Hold a spot close up there in heaven. I don’t want to be separated from the family ever again.

I miss you so much and I love you as much today as when I held you in my arms while you drifted off to heaven. I didn’t get to tell you enough how much I love you. I am hoping that while your spirit was rising that early morning that you heard me whispering in your ear that I love you and you were the best Daddy a girl could have.

Well, I better close for now before I start crying again. Give Mom a hug and a kiss for me and I shall see you both soon.

Your little girl,

Terrydad, bev, me and theda

Blood That Follows

In my family Al and I had very few blood relatives. I know that to some this isn’t very Blue_candleimportant. To me it was, because I liked knowing that I belonged somewhere.

Al and I had our dad and my dad’s one sister and my dad’s mother.

I had stored a bowl that was left to me by my grandma and I received it this weekend. I also have photos of my family. I thought I would share with you. It also gives you a little bit more insight as to why my brother means so very much to me. He and I are real brother and sister.

grandma's bowlThis belonged to my grandma’s side of the family. I will treasure it always.

alvin and meThis is Al and me after we started our new life with our dad and stepmom.

alvin graduation pictureThis is Al on his graduation day.

dad's dadThis is my dad’s dad.

grandma and grandpa taylorThis is my grandma and my real grandpa.

four generation picThis is a generation picture. My dad is the baby in the photo.

my mom and dadThis is my stepmom and my dad about five years before they passed a way.

my kids when they were youngThese are my kids when they were young.


My Brother’s LIfe Journey, Chapter 1


Al is my brother. I am one year and two weeks older than he is. Telling this story will hopefully help others who are struggling in their own lives to see that I am here and you are never alone.

It was May 3rd 1955 when a little baby boy was born. He did not come into the world welcomed as many children do. He came born into the world as an innocent babe by parents who had major issues of their own.

He was born with brain damage. He was the second of two children and this lead to lack of care needed to help a baby grow. As I remember back in my memories I don’t remember him that young. But the truth comes out over time and I will tell you what I was told.

When Al was old enough to sit in a high chair he was placed there and ignored. No adult supervision. Al was able to maneuver himself up and over the high chair and fell different times causing more damage to the head.

Both Al and I were abused. In those days it was not called abuse. It was a family secret that was only spoken in strange moments. Al was abused more than me. I think I was not necessarily wanted more than he. I believe it is because one baby is easier than two.

Our parents were not in control of their own lives. With their young ages there was lack of training and maybe a feeling of entrapment over being strapped with two babies and a job that could not take care of all the needs within a family.

Parents of the parents stepped in and made opinions known. Guilt became an obsession and the need to escape became utmost in the minds of our parents. Our Mother didn’t work because she was too young. She was 15 when she had me and 16 when she had Al.

Dad worked at a bowling alley and hid behind the bottle when not at work. I have heard horror stories of how loud fights and beer bottles flew over our heads as we seemed to be always in the middle of all arguments.

One day our Mom took off with us kids. She didn’t tell a soul she was leaving. When Dad found out she was gone his Mother was grateful but insisted he get us kids back. I don’t know who Mom left with. I assume a friend took her. At her age she wouldn’t have had many adult friends to turn to. Back in those days being pregnant and unmarried was taboo so I am sure the conversations were limited.

I know that while we were prisoners of my Mom’s travels she had no money. She did what ever was necessary to survive. I don’t know how she fed and clothed us kids but I do know that she sold me to different people to earn money when I was about two years old. I shudder to think what may have happened to Al also. There are parts of me that don’t want to know. It is possible that Al can remember but it is so deeply hidden in his mind we may never know.

The Welfare department did eventually find us and return us to our Dad who was by now living back with his parents. Al and I were welcomed by the fact that we were the “kids”. I am not ever going to swear that we were united because of a great love.

I can remember sitting at my Grandmother’s table and Al sitting in my Dad’s high chair. He would be crying. He seemed to cry a lot to me. Even as a young child I can remember many tears and yelling episodes.

Grandma would tell him, “Be quiet. I can’t stand that noise. I wish you would just shut up”. I know that somewhere inside this house the word caring was lingering throughout. I know that my Grandparents took Al to the biggest children’s hospital in our state to find out what was wrong with him.

I can remember them telling other family members that he couldn’t sit up properly for his age. That he should be walking now but wasn’t. The hospital confirmed that he was mentally challenged. He also suffered from Rickets and he was malnourished.

I don’t think I was near as bad as he was medically. I do remember Grandma stuffing vitamins and eye droppers  filled with  Iron to each of us kids. I am sure that we were both fed much better than we were before.

Al slept downstairs where my Grandparents slept. Our Dad still worked at the bowling alley and came home very late. I remember that I slept in a baby bed for probably too many years. I also remember that my Dad slept in the big bed next to my crib.

Eventually Dad met our new Stepmother. After being married they moved to the town that Al and I now reside in. Visits came from our real Mom and I can still see me hiding behind the living room chair taking peeks at my real Mom and hearing them arguing about how she was going to come back to get me when I reached the age of 16. There was never a mention of coming back to get Al too. I can remember feeling confused and not understanding why she would only ask for me when I had a brother.

Dad then got a job at the State Highway Department and I think our new Mom worked at one of the local grocery stores. I remember she took us to a baby sitter. I knew fear even at the age of four. This babysitter was mean. I could see her smack Al for crying and I had to sit on a chair.

Yet there was a familiarity to this also. Al and I were not allowed to be kids when we lived at our Grandparents either. We had to sit on chairs and be very quiet. Neither of us knew what sunshine was or running and playing outdoors felt like.


Daily Prompt; My Favorite/ The Daily Post

What’s the most time you’ve ever spent apart from your favorite person? Tell us about it.

I have had many people enter in to my lifedad, bev, me and theda

I have even had two that asked me to be a wife

Some have left marks on my heart that have stayed

Others have wandered through but went about their way

Some have taught me to love and to share

Others have hurt me, pain I had to wear

There are two people when I think back long ago

That have walked with me through life and this they know

But the favorite one that always is and always had

Is no other than my favorite person, my dad.

Terry Shepherd



I am the blonde standing right next to dad. This was about four months before he left from this earth to go home to heaven.

Daily Prompt; Use it or Lose it/ The Daily Post

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Write about anything you’d like, but make sure the post includes this sentence:

“I thought we’d never come back from that one.”

Have the pontoon out on the lake

Granny is sitting in her bikini to bake

Grandpa has his fishing reel in hand

Hopes to hit the big grand slam

Dad’s at the wheel and out of control

Two ski jets fly by and he yells go blow

The kiddies are yelling and screaming in fun

Granny puts in her ear plugs and looks towards the sun

Mama has her hands in the cooler I see

The son is  now  yelling I gotta go pee

There is nowhere to go except over the boat

My stomach is churning I hope I don’t choke

I hold on to him as he leans very far

Get this over now son why didn’t you go near the car

A wave comes by before I can get my grip

I drop the kid and I bit my lip

He got so scared he peed his pants

I cling to my seat beginning to chant

Get me off of this boat or I’m going to swear

I wanted to stay home and not go anywhere

Dad had never heard my voice this loud

I swear you could hear it over the beach crowd

He flung the boat in a quick reverse

I think I heard grandpa starting to curse

Away we took off over the waves we did slide

Everyone became quiet, they just wanted to hide

I saw the shores of our home come in view

I motioned to the others to now take my cue

Get me home in the shade and out of this sun

I thought we’d never come back from that one

Terry Shepherd



Unbroken Circle

I have been baking for the past three days. I took many breaks because of my bad back. I

Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

made lots of goodies. I even managed to sweep the main part of the house, dust and sweep.

I have listened to the Christmas country station in the background the past four days. I never did tire of it. It was like I wanted to squeeze my heart around the words, because I know the day after tomorrow it will be gone for yet another year.

Joy to the world. We live in a world that we can live in joy if we choose to. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to have that freedom? Silent night, this is what it is tonight, as I slow down my activities and let the rest wait until tomorrow.

For as long as I can remember, my family and I  have always gone to my parents home on Christmas Eve. Tonight, I sit here alone. Don’t worry, tomorrow will be full of hustle and bustle, but tonight I am pondering over my past life.

We would drive slowly  out to mom and dad’s house. It would always be cold and icy. It never feared as they lived way out in the country and the roads were nasty in the winter. We would rush in the front door. Never needed to knock or be let in. It was home.

Mom would be in her pretty red lacy apron. She would be stressed out by the look on her face, but always managed to say hi with a big smile. Dad would be sitting in the living room in his recliner watching some wood shop program. My brother Al would be in his bedroom, sitting quietly with the television on but turned down low. Al was always on guard for arguments or his dad raising his voice. This made Al very nervous, so he was always quiet as a mouse.

I don’t remember back to when my half-sister still lived at home but I do remember many times when she would enter late. Supper on hold, mom in tears, dad yelling at sister for upsetting mom. This would start the movie scenes that were not always pretty. Sister and dad always argued. Dad wanted J. to grow up and do things for herself and mom babied her. Today, you can tell that mom got her way. J. can’t be independent, or doesn’t want to.

Anyways, there was mom and dad, plus Al. When we arrived ,  we brought our three cutie pies. J. brought her three kids also. So it was a nice size for the dinner table. Mom would make date cookies every year. She also made fudge, iced sugar cookies. She always made a chocolate pie whether it was Christmas or a birthday. This was my dad‘s favorite.

She would have the same menu year after year. She made home-made lasagna with garlic bread. We came to love and depend on it. After dinner was eaten and cleared, all the kiddies would run to the living room where the lit tree was sparkling. They would get just as close to the presents without getting told to scoot back. Dad would yell out to Mom and me,”Are you done with those dishes yet”? It makes me smile just thinking back on those days.

We would make our way to the living room and mom always played Santa Clause. The kiddies always got mainly clothes, and a toy or two. I don’t remember what Al and J got, but my then hubby and I would get a gift together and some smaller individual ones. The last gift I remember was a gas grill. After all the wrapping papers were tossed all over the floor, dad would go to his room and come out with this huge smile. In a brown lunch bag would be a giant chocolate Hershey bar and a two liter of diet coke. He would go purchase  each of us three kids this each year. He just loved doing this for us. Actually, this was the best present ever each year. To see dad smile handing his treasures to us.

One funny thing I have to tell you is Mom forgot stuff. She bought gifts all through the year, and she would hide them in the closet and then find one of  them after Christmas was over. The next year she would drag it out, and yet leave another gift hidden in the closet from this years shopping. We could always count on it.

The year mom passed away, there was no Christmas not even with  dad.  Christmas spirits and joy just died in the house, he missed mom so much. He just wasn’t interested. He would come to my house and give me a card with money in it. I would see tears in his eyes and then he would disappear in to the darkness returning to his home. As I was saying the year mom died, dad not only brought me a card he brought me an unopened box of pots and pans. He said mom had bought it earlier and it was to be a Christmas gift. I still have them after 12 years have passed. I can not let them go. They are used and a few scratches, but they are worth more to me than any dollar.

Now tonight I glance at my own grown children. Spending time not at my parents home, but in their own homes with their children. They are building memories so they can go back in time some day when I am up in heaven with mom and dad. Life is an unbroken circle. You live, love and laugh and build memories. Hopefully you lived a good enough life that you can do what I am doing now. Spending Christmas Eve alone, not with my parents, but in my mind and heart they are very close.

Merry Christmas mom and dad. I love you and can’t wait to see you again. As for Al? I can’t wait until tomorrow. He is coming HOME to spend Christmas with me. I get a whole day with him! Tomorrow will be my mother in me. Hustling and bustling without the apron. I will have a dish towel on my shoulder instead. I will be stressed somewhat, because I am not used to these family gatherings.   I have to admit, the noise will get to me. New memories will be built tomorrow and at the end of the day after everyone is gone, and Al is back in his new home, I will lay on my bed and smile up at mom and dad, and ask, “Did I do a good job? Did I do it just like you mom? I love you both”.