Part 1: The Great Reward Trials Bring: My Testimony, By Sister Isabel Mendoza
Life had an unfortunate beginning.
I was 7 years old living in San Mateo, California. On one occasion, my parents told me they were going to work on the family car. Most vehicles we had been beat up and old. My father was not a mechanic but knew a few things about cars, e.g. changing the oil, tires and replacing valves. The car needed an oil change. About 15 minutes later my mother walked back in the house, dripping blood down the right side of her face and crying hysterically. I became paralyzed with fear. I watched the blood drip from her chin onto her shirt and watched her weep uncontrollably. I felt so heartbroken but I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to hide but I also wanted to help her. How do you clean up a wound on your mother that was inflicted upon her by your father?
It was too early in life but I began to hate my father with a passion. I couldn’t understand him; I couldn’t understand why, why he beat her to a bloody mess. Most nights, when everyone was asleep, I would lie awake remembering the blood and cries of my mother. Some of those nights, I was not the only one crying; I could hear my mother weeping in her bed as she tried to sleep.
The sun was sure to rise every morning but not in our home, in our home was a repeat of the day before. Most days as a young girl my father was high on narcotic drugs. As was becoming the norm, my father would swallow a handful of pills and approximately 30 minutes later he could barely walk and talk because he would be entirely wasted on drugs. Many times he would foam at the mouth, his body would shake uncontrollably and he would fall on the floor, slurring all his words together. I, or one of my older brothers would have to pick him up and carry him to a couch as if he was a baby or physical impaired. I was overwhelmed with shame.
I desired to sit on my father’s lap and play with his beard but my father was violent and always high on drugs. I had the same desires and longing for a father’s love as any little girl would. I just didn’t find that love in my father.
By the time I was 9 years old I was very confused. I didn’t know what love looked like. I didn’t know what a home was. What a family was. I just knew I had a growing hate for my father and ashamed of whom I was. It was a daily event for my Father to beat my mother, He took a baseball on many days and I watched him beat her most of the time. The sound of that baseball bat against her skin and her cry is forever sketched in my mind. I was afraid of my father and my heart was broken for my mother.
The day of June 8th, I was 11 years old and the last few weeks of school. At bedtime on that day I found my father to be intoxicated with drugs, his words would slur when he was on drugs, but this day was like any other day, so it was not unusual for this to happen. That evening my parents seemed to be getting along better than they normally did. It was getting late, my brothers went to sleep in one room and my mother and I decided to sleep in the other room (2 bedroom apartment). I was down stairs getting ready to go up and sleep and my eyes glanced at the clock on the wall and it was 10PM. I reached the bottom of the steps and my father was in the kitchen opening a pill bottle. He took a hand full of meds and said, “where is your mother” I said, “she is sleeping upstairs” He told me, to tell her she is ugly and I’m mad at her, along with a few other harsh words. When I went upstairs to lie down on the floor I told my mother my father said, “good night.” I did not want to exchange those harsh words to my mother so I lied and told her, he said, “good night.”
It may have been about 15 minutes later; something did not feel right to me. I got up and went down stairs and seen my father on the floor lying on his back. I walked very slowly to him and knelt beside him I took hold of his hand, it felt lifeless. I could not tell if he was breathing; his body and hands seemed lifeless. I started to think about my thoughts of hatred toward my father; I started to feel horrible. I just held his hand and I wanted to love my father but I didn’t know how to love a man like him. How do you love a man who beats your mother? I didn’t know how to love him. It was a brief second I thought maybe I should call 9-1-1 but we were always instructed not to call 9-1-1. We certainly didn’t want police at a home with drugs and spousal abuse. So, I knelt there with his hand in my hand. I remember feeling so badly, I wanted to feel what it was like to love a father and a father to show love towards me. I hated him, but I wanted to love him, he was an abusive monster but he was also my daddy. As time was passing I just stared at him, holding his hand; from my peripheral vision I saw my mother running down the stairs towards us, she said he is not breathing! Call 9-1-1!
I was in a state of shock. I could not move. My eyes were stuck fast upon him because it was just yesterday, the day before, I uttered the words, “father I hate you, I wish you were dead!” I felt, in my mind, in my emotions I wanted to grab those words back. Now that he is lying here lifeless before me, I wanted him back; I wanted to tell him I was sorry for what I said. My mother hollered again, call 9-1-1 and I still could not move a muscle, something in my mind knew this was my last moment to take back some of those horrible thoughts I had towards my father. At that moment I wanted to make things right, I was emotionally grabbing at my father. I had things I wanted to say. I wanted to ask him why he beat my mother. I wanted him to tell me he loved; I wanted to hear those words come from my daddy because I never heard them before. I would have forgiven him for all he has done because he was still my daddy. I wanted answers I wanted more time! I was not ready to let him go.
My oldest brother came running down the stairs, he knelt next to my father and immediately started CPR. My mother leaning over my father on his right side got up and ran to the phone and called 9-1-1. They continued to do CPR until the paramedics arrived. I stayed holding his hand till the paramedics arrived. No words came from my mouth only thoughts in my mind. I was so broken, not one piece could be put together. Upon the paramedics arriving a few minutes later, they asked me to step aside and I watched from a few steps away. I watched them shock his heart several times and I remember keeping my eyes on that flat green line. It would jump up a few times, then that green light would go flat again. They shocked his heart again, then one paramedic asked me to leave. I ran upstairs feeling the weight of my words, my body, it felt so heavy. From my bedroom window, I could see the paramedic take my father out; it was dark outside about 11PM as they rolled him out on that bed, my eyes found that little green light on the heart monitor again. It was beating and the 3rd time, I saw that light flat line again and the paramedics stopped on the sidewalk and shocked his heart again, soon that green light started fluctuating, once again. My mother left with the paramedics that night.
Post to be continued tomorrow…tune in for the rest of this testimony and amazing story…
©Copyright Isabel Mendoza and Women of Vision Leadership