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Candace Breen

Candace Breen

Barrington, Rhode Island

Dr. Breen has been talking about healing from trauma for over ten years since she first became a member of the Rape Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN).

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About the author

Reverend Candace Nadine Breen, Ph.D. is of West African (Benin, Cameroon and Nigeria), European (Ireland, Great Britain, Scandinavia) and Polynesian descent. She lives in Barrington, Rhode Island with her loving husband and two adorable children. She is an ordained Spiritualist Minister and also holds an ordination as a Healing Minister (under the Church of Spiritual Humanism). She continues to her practices as a Healer, Medium, Channel, published author and artist. In addition to her current licenses and certifications, she is a certified Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher and Animal Reiki Master Teacher. She also does tarot readings.

Before her ordinations, Rev. Breen spent two and a half years as a Real Estate Agent and eleven years as a highly-regarded and awarded English teacher for the Providence Public Schools. She is a certified Life Coach and a  former certified Hatha Yoga instructor. She also appeared in the October 2009 issue of PEOPLE Magazine. 

Rev. Breen has a deep connection and love for nature and connects her spirituality and teachings to her garden. Since 2009, Rev. Breen has hosted the “Candidly Candace Radio Show” on Blogtalkradio, a show dedicated to giving women a voice and focusing on issues relevant to women and more recently “Awakened Path Radio”, a metaphysical radio show on Podbean, Blogtalkradio and Youtube. In addition to her radio shows, Candace once owned and operated Breen Gardens & Gifts, a small family business which she has used to teach others about the interconnectedness of nature and spiritualism. In order to better serve others, Rev. Breen is also a URI School Master Gardener. 

In her spare time, Candace loves to write, work on her art and garden. She considers herself to be a lifelong teacher of many things and a lifelong learner! She holds a BA in Secondary Education/English, an MA in Human Services/Marriage and Family Counseling, an MS in Metaphysics and a Doctorate also in Metaphysics. She also recently opened “Awakened Path Books, LLC”, a publishing company for indie authors who write about all things metaphysical both fiction and non-fiction.

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After The Darkness

A survivor's TRUE story of childhood incest, rape, abuse, domestic violence , and her ability to overcome the negative impact these events had on her life.

The author tells her story of abuse and how she overcame adversity. In her new book,

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Biography & Memoir women
40,000 words
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Why is it important that I tell my story? What makes my story different from all the other stories of abuse? My story is not one comprised of dazzling heroic deeds with tragic downfalls and glorious victories, rather my story is woven into the fabric of a never-ending war, a war I had to wage, not only against my abusers, but also within myself in order to become the woman I am today. 

Throughout my life I have been deprived of numerous things. Denied the innocence of childhood, forced to grow up too soon and thrust into a world of cruelty and despair, I had no comprehension of the meaning of love. Early in my adult life, I became involved in many abusive and loveless relationships. 

I had to learn the hard way, for those whom I expected to be able to trust betrayed me, leaving me all alone Why is it important that I tell my story? What makes my story different from all the other stories of abuse? My story is not one comprised of dazzling heroic deeds with tragic downfalls and glorious victories, rather my story is woven into the fabric of a never-ending war, a war I had to wage, not only against my abusers, but also within myself in order to become the woman I am today. 

Throughout my life I have been deprived of numerous things. Denied the innocence of childhood, forced to grow up too soon and thrust into a world of cruelty and despair, I had no comprehension of the meaning of love. Early in my adult life, I became involved in many abusive and loveless relationships. 

I had to learn the hard way, for those whom I expected to be able to trust betrayed me, leaving me all alone  and afraid. I had to be my own hero. I tell my story because Spirit has blessed me to survive abuse and neglect. I have been given the opportunity to share my story. Today, I stand proud of who I am and of what I have accomplished. It is because of my experiences that I have the strength, courage, wisdom and knowledge necessary to face the future without fear. 

In sharing my story, I truly hope that many readers will learn something that will make a difference in their lives. To those of you who may be struggling, know that while times may be tough you must never give up the battle. However endless and dark the road may seem, you must continue to fight, to live and to be strong. 


Table of Contents

Introduction ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ1


(This section talks about the abuse I endured as a child in a very dysfunctional home)

Chapter One ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ9

Chapter Two ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ31

Chapter Three ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ43


(This section deals with my trying ti navigate the chaos of my life and the bullying I endured at school because I was withdrawn)

Chapter One ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ61

Chapter Two ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ67

Chapter Three ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ73

Chapter Four ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ77


(Growing up-high school and college years)

Chapter One ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ83

Chapter Two ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ89

Chapter Three ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ97

Part Four

(Finding love in every possible wrong place and the domestic violence I endured)

Chapter One ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ105

Chapter Two ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ109

Chapter Three ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ117

Chapter Four ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ129

Part Five

(My life was at risk. There were attempts to end my life at the hands of my abuser)

Chapter One ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ135

Chapter Two ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ139

Chapter Three ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ145

Chapter Four ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ149

Part Six

(Healing and finding true love)

Chapter One ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ159

Epilogue ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ167

About Rev. Candace Nadine Breen ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ˝ˇ179


This book is targeted towards anyone who is suffering from trauma or who survived trauma. Since there is adult content, this book is not recommended for people under the age of eighteen. The subject matter depicted in this memoir is explicit and not suitable for those who are not familiar with the issues presented in this text.  This book is the perfect fit for those who are in search of healing from their trauma and who are interested in learning how to live their lives and experience abundant love (whether it be with someone else of love of self) after enduring trauma. This book is also recommended for colleges, specifically for those studying women's issues. Many talks about sexual violence have been given at numerous campuses all across the country and yet not enough real life stories have actually been discussed. It is the purpose of this book to create universal awareness, to develop methods of dealing with survivors and notice the warning signs of those who may be silently suffering from abuse.


This book has already gained national attention. There have been numerous interviews of the author. There have been posted reviews on amazon as well as other sites. Most people who have read the book express their inability to put it down and often finish it in one sitting. The book flows smoothly and is very easy to read. Readers have expressed that they were actually able to feel what the author was feeling as the story unraveled. 

Social media has helped greatly. Book launches and interviews have helped drawn attention to the book. Professional press releases have succeeded in landing the author more speaking engagements and interviews. Local author events have also contributed to the potential success of the memoir.



Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness Kindle Edition

by Sidney Sheldon (Author), Tilly Bagshawe  (Author)

- A very popular author, my main competition. I am not famous or popular so many more "regular" people would be able to connect and relate.

2.Life After Darkness

Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings

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- This is about a specific famous case. Again, I am more on a regular person's level.


The Darkness After

A Novel (Darkness After Series Book 1)

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_ This is selling well and has been out for awhile but it is fiction, not a memoir.


After the EMP

The Darkness Trilogy

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- This has been out awhile and is fiction and has a pretty good ranking.
5. Facing Darkness, Finding Light

Life after Suicide

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- This talks about suicide and how to deal with life after it. I do talk about suicide in my memoir as related to my attempts because of what I enduring. I give the back story behind my depression so the reader can understand my journey.

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Chapter One

Still Waters Run Deep

     What a frigid day it was on February 27, 2001, the day of my father’s wake. I choked back tears as I sang “Amazing Grace” in front of my father’s coffin. How pale and non-threatening he looked. The fiery eyes were now closed and and gone forever. I was suddenly lost in memories of childhood. I could see him ranting and raving, beating my little brother until he cried or was scarred. I recalled the many nights my father would creep into my bedroom and would force me to have sex with hm. I remember the time I slapped him because I was tired of being “nasty.” How I used to hate him. Yes, hate. Lying there in his coffin, he was helpless. Never again would he hurt anyone. NEVER. I didn’t even know why I was shedding tears for the man who helped to mentally destroy my adulthood. It was because of him that I had low self-esteem and had trouble with men. It was because of him that I was filled with enough rage to cause five world wars. Why was I crying for that bastard? I was crying because I felt sorry for him, really. I felt sorry because he was a person who spent his entire life hurting other people because he had been hurt. I cried because he had hurt so many people who had to live with the pain and large therapy bills because of the pain and heartache he had inflicted. My tears were real. As a child, I used to fantasize rejoicing over his death but on this particular day that was not the case at all. Years later, I learned from reading a Joyce Meyer book that “hurting people hurt other people.” Never had it occurred to me that my father was a man who suffered numerous years of pain and was angry at the world for his situation. In order to discover that, I had to do a little researching of my own. 


     My father was born on October 1, 1935 in Choctaw County, Alabama. From an early age, he was forced by his father to farm the land in order to help support the family cause. Since he was responsible for farming, he was not allowed to attend school and my father resented the fact that he was the only sibling who wasn’t allowed to finish school. At one point, he mentioned that he was thirteen and still in the third grade. Third grade was the highest level of education my father had achieved and he was always bitter about it. Numerous times, he attempted to run away, using his bike as an escape method but he was always found by his father and was returned home. Still without an education, my father once tried to sign up for the military but, just as he was having his physical, his father found him and demanded that he return home so he could continue farming for the family.

     From this point on, the story about my father’s life isn’t clear until he reached Rhode Island. He spent years running from the law, being incarcerated and hurting other people. He had been married three times (to my knowledge) before his death in 2001. He met my mother while working at a medical institution in Rhode Island. Prior to his relationship with my mother, he had been married to a woman from Alabama and had two sons with her. He beat her, drove her into the woods and held a knife to her throat, threatening to kill her if he discovered she was “messing around” (but he always had plenty of women on the side). This woman dressed herself and her children in several layers of clothing, took the next bus out of town while my father was out of the house and, eventually, ended up in New York. 

     When my father met my mother, my mother was already married but she was somehow convinced by my father’s lies that he had a lot of money and houses so she left her then husband and ran away to Alabama with my father. My mother had two daughters with her husband and had gotten pregnant with another girl, a pregnancy that had ended in a miscarriage due to physical violence from my father. Her second pregnancy in Alabama resulted in another girl and I am that girl. My mother somehow ended up back in Rhode Island and tried to convince everyone that I was her first husband’s – the father of her two other daughters – child. Even though her husband knew I was not his, he moved back in with my mother and helped her raise me as if I were his. He was such a wonderful and caring man and he treated me so very well. I really believed that he was my father until, one day, my “real” father showed up at our doorstep. He had been in jail in Alabama and was somehow free. He told everyone that he escaped from prison and that “no jail could hold him” and that, for some time, he was wanted in Alabama. Great hostility existed between my father and my mother’s first husband. My father did not move in but, instead, got an apartment on the other side of town. Soon afterwards, my mother and her first husband were divorced and my parents did not marry until it was time for the birth of my half-brother who is three years younger than I. When my father moved in, he was always moody, never home and always had negative things to say about women for some reason. I didn’t understand nor did I like this stranger who had taken the place of my mother’s husband, whom I thought was my real father. 

     My father was a truck driver and later he became a crane operator for a local ship building company. He stayed away days at a time and, when he’d come home, he’d stink of alcohol and would argue with and beat my mother. My half-sisters lived with us and they, too, were subjected to my father’s violent rages. Much of his anger and resentment stemmed from his own childhood experiences, things he had never dealt with properly. 


     I was told that as a child, my father was molested and raped by his own mother. When her husband wasn’t around, she would force my father to have sex with her, performing various sexual favors for her. He hardly ever spoke of his mother but would tell us that his grandmother was beautiful with long, black hair that cascaded down her back. He would tell us how tall, beautiful and thin she was. I used to try to imagine what she looked like and how soft her hair may have felt. 

     My father bragged of his Choctaw Indian heritage when, in fact, he was not one ounce of Native American. I suppose claiming to be Native American was his way of ignoring his West African ancestry of remembering that our his people were aboard The Clotilde, the last known illegal slave ship from West Africa that landed in Mobile Bay. Historical records tell the story of how Timothy Meager, the captain, bet his friends that he could bring a slave ship into Mobile Bay right under the noses of the law because the slave trade had been made illegal. For the most part, he succeeded but he disappeared when the West Africans who were to be his slaves were brought to his property. Meager went into hiding because word had spread that he was in trouble for his bold action. The West Africans who were basically abandoned on his property eventually ended up forming their own community called “Africatown” which still exists on a lesser scale today in Alabama. 

     It was during those storytelling times, even though the stories of Native American ancestry were false, that my father appeared to be happy. Gone would be the bitterness in his voice that resulted from years of suppressed anger. From those talks I learned a lot, most of it misinformation, but a lot about the mindset of my father’s people when it came to slavery. Slavery, to him, was negative. He would talk of his hatred towards white people. He blamed white people for him having to farm and miss school. He was angry. He began to tell stories that proved his point that “white people couldn’t be trusted” and that I should avoid them as much as possible and that I would “never be accepted by them,” and that “white people would call me ‘nigger’ to my face” and that white people would “never really be friends with me, a black child.” Having a “good education” to him meant that I was “trying to be white” and that I, a black female, was only meant to cook and clean and that “women were too stupid to go to school.” The confusing and often contradicting messages my father sent my way often made me sad. When I grew older and was surpassing my father’s third grade education, the “good-yet-untrue” stories stopped and my father’s anger only increased. 


     My mother divorced my father when I was still in the third grade. I remember reading the divorce papers to him because he couldn’t read. At the sound of the word “divorce,” he hung his head. He was visibly sad. Although my parents were divorced, my father remained in my mother’s house for about two more years. 

     During the years prior to the divorce, there were constant fights. My father would come home usually drunk and I would hear my parents yelling and screaming. One time my older half- sister Linda had a friend sleeping over when my father began yelling at my mother. I ran into the kitchen to find my mother sobbing at the kitchen table begging my father not to hurt her. He had pulled out the knife drawer and displayed a variety of knives on the table. He picked up one knife and flashed it before her throat, threatening her. My half-sisters and I began to cry. My half-sister’s friend became angry and picked up our telephone to call the police. When the police came, most of the neighborhood was already listening to the cries that echoed from within our home. It was a hot summer day and many of our neighbors on Sumter Street on Providence’s South Side were outside doing various hot weather activities. They could always count on a show from our house. This day was no different. The police officers grabbed my father who pretended to wrestle from their grip shouting various profanities at them. Years later, these same police officers would become friends with my father, making any accusation against him difficult to prove. 

     Staring out the porch window of our large Victorian home, I cried as they dragged my father away. I remember saying, “Don’t take Daddy! Is he coming back?” My half-sisters, crying, mumbled something to the effect that they hoped he didn’t return. I was young and didn’t understand why my father was always so angry and why he frequently beat up my mother. After he would beat her up, he would buy her nice things and be sweet to her. I didn’t understand why my mother didn’t appreciate any of his acts until I became an adult. 

     Shortly after the arrest, my father was back in the house and nothing seemed to be any different. One evening, while my father was at work, my mother was looking in his pants pocket. She called my half-sisters into the room and showed them a hotel business card that had a name and phone number scribbled on the back. She called the number and asked if the person knew a “Rivers Cunningham.” I supposed the person responded in the affirmative and asked her about her identity because my mother said, “This is his wife!” and hung up the phone. I never saw my mother confront my father about that matter or about any other matter of infidelity. I suppose my mother was afraid of what he might do to her if she had confronted him. She knew he cheated and would even drive to the houses of the women with whom he slept, often noticing his car in the driveway. Aware of all this, she would act like nothing happened and continue on with her daily activities. I suppose that her way of dealing with everything. 

     Both my parents began to spend a lot of time out of the house separately working. My father was on the road and my mother was an RN and was, thus, often not at home. Once she got the courage to file for a divorce, she began to spend nights away from home. My half- brother had already been born but he was still too young to understand anything that was going on. We became “Latch Key Kids” and stayed home alone for hours after school. We’d go to sleep and neither one of our parents would be home. My sisters would cook and make sure we did our homework. Since we all went to the same parochial school which included kindergarten through grade eight, it was easy for all the siblings to get home at the same time. When my half-sisters entered high school, we would have to wait a little longer for them to come home and watch my half-brother and me. “He-Man” and “Thundercats” became our comforting television shows as we huddled at the foot of my bed in my bedroom doing homework. 

     The atmosphere in the house was constant chaos. My half-sister Linda ran away a few times, causing my mother to worry. During one of Linda’s disappearing acts, my mother put out a MISSING ad and began hanging signs on telephone poles, trees and on supermarket bulletin boards. Many times, Linda would be found at one of her friend’s places. Ultimately, Linda left and never returned. She began to live her life the way she wanted to do. Chloe, my oldest half-sister, became pregnant when she was fifteen. My parents were upset with both of my half-sisters but what could be done since, they, themselves lacked responsibility for the four of us? No wonder there was so much chaos! No one was being taught and no one was being cared for. We weren’t being raised because may parents spent so much time doing their own things and they were always angry with each other. Eventually, both of my half-sisters left home and only my half-brother and I remained. Every so often, my sister Chloe would leave her baby Rachel with us while she worked and attended night school. Chloe leaving Rachel unsupervised around my father didn’t upset me until years later when I discovered that my father raped my half-sister before she had her baby and, fully aware of my father’s unfavorable behavior, she still left my niece alone in the care of my father. It really hurt me to think that he may have harmed my niece also. What was my Chloe thinking? 



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