My Parents

Life and Death with my parents

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For years I kept quiet, suppressing every natural inclination to return to June 25, 1978. For years, I rationalized the childhood madness, I - myself - answering questions I was too afraid to ask. Through my years of silent confusion, my father assumed his pardon. Vacillating between unconditional love and uncontrollable hate, I feigned peaceful acceptance of my mother’s death, deferring to God’s perfect judgment.

On the cover

A year after my father passed, we were featured on the cover of The Philadelphia Daily News. My father was working to earn forgiveness when he died. 

June 25, 1978

Excerpted from the book
Dear Daddy, I hate you:
Letters to my mother's killer
By Ulysses "Butch" Slaughter

I stare straight ahead some days. I’m pulled into a trance. My body is still as my mind races wildly. I hear familiar sounds. I see familiar faces. Yesterday returns. June 25, 1978 comes back. Within seconds, I go back nearly 30 years. Back to a 12-year-old boy. Sometimes I resist the images, sometimes I muffle the sounds. Sometimes I just let go and I sink into the past. Sometimes I step into yesterday. I see a place where we used to live: the place where you killed my mother. I walk around that old apartment. I walk around my mind and remember. I see the square table, the green chairs. I see the kitchen and the front room. I touch the front door and peek inside my old bedroom. I’m alone in that old apartment. There is no one there but me. My mother is already dead. The police have taken you away. The bathroom light is still on. It casts dull, yellow light where my mother last laid. The maroon rug still holds a large puddle of her blood. Right outside my bedroom door, the puddle is still there. But my mother is dead. You’ve killed her. She’s gone. Won’t return. I sit down inside the image. I sit against a wall and stare. I still can’t believe what you’ve done so I start a chant: My father killed my mother. My father killed my mother. My father killed my mother. I say it over and over again to myself. This way maybe it will sink in. My father killed my mother. My father killed my mother. I sit there in yesterday, staring at the blood puddle. But it doesn’t sink in. I’m still not ready to believe it. So I think some more about what I heard that day. I think some more about what I saw. I try to convince myself. I imagine the last seconds of my mother’s life. I imagine her last moments approaching. She is going to die in this apartment. This is where it will end. This is her final destination as defined through your enduring will. Her last breaths as predicted for years by your enduring determination. 

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