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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sad (07/26/07)

TITLE: Daymare
By Dianne Janak


"Sir you ran that red light back there. I need to see your license.”

“No officer I think you are mistaken. The light was yellow I’m positive”, my dad lied.

“Dad, the officer is right. You did run the red light”. At age 9 I even surprised myself as my father gave me one of those “wait till we get home” looks. He got the ticket. I got the spanking.

I’m not proud of what I am about to say. In fact, I wish I could make it more palatable, but it is what it is. The older I get the more I want to tell it right. No embellishment. No fake sentiment. No “impressive” Christianese to make myself look better. Someone needs to hear this.

He was an alcoholic and now he is dead. I didn’t cry at his funeral. Now I have the need to talk about why.

Lots of books are written about the poison of alcohol on the health of family. But I have yet to read anything about feelings from a child’s point of view while good ‘ole Dad was driving drunk. Someone needs to speak out so I’m going to step up.

Back then there were no seatbelts. Children could ride in the front seat or back. We could stand up, stick our heads out the window, free to move around at will. I didn’t know or care about statistics. I had never seen gross images of car wrecks. Just hearing snippets of car wrecks from adults was all it took to ignite my internal vision maker. At a very young age, I began to build a mental image of the scene of my own gory death.

The image was horrific. Going through the glass ( not the modern safety glass) and being thrown from a car bleeding to death on the side of the road haunted my daily thoughts. Or at times I envisioned a blood soaked car as I witnessed the horror and agony of my family’s death. No violent video games or R rated movies were needed to penetrate the supposed safety and security at home. I had my mind.

I remember asking God to please let me live a good long life. Please protect us. Please make him stop.

I hated him when he was weaving all over the road, begging him to slow down. I even knew when other cars blinked their lights at us, it was because Dad was blinding them with his brights. When I asked him to please don’t blind the drivers, he ignored me with a laugh.

It was Russian roulette and our car was the weapon.. My dad was a potential killer and I could end up being a victim. There was no one who cared, no one to go to, no one to tell. When I reminisce about my childhood that is what I most remember. The torment of being so helpless ,so scared, so unsafe.

My family and friends still don’t get it. If the driver of any car I am in now even has had one drink, all that trauma comes back to me in living color. My hands sweat, my stomach is in knots, and my head hurts from the tension of a migraine. The driver may not be an alcoholic or drunk but that doesn’t matter. My mind plays tricks on me, and I think I will always have issues that make me hyper vigilant. Today they call it Post Traumatic Stress.

“Dad let me drive today please,” almost in tears, it was my wedding day. I needed to go to town for my hair appointment and our lakefront roads were winding and narrow.

“No, you drive too slow and we need to get there quickly.” He had already had a few and it was still morning.

I prayed to God please Lord let me live to see my wedding tonight. I don’t want to die now. The daymare was coming to an end, and I could start a brand new life soon.

God kept me safe. I was able to lead Dad to the Lord before He died, but I will never be able to forgive The Drink. It stole my childhood and no one can give it back.

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This article has been read 946 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright08/02/07
This is transparency at its best in writing. I give thanks you were able to lead your father in prayer for salvation. That's what is most important. And remember that Jesus chose to keep His scars also.
Trevas Walker08/02/07
I can very much relate to your entry. I have memories of my father hiding his beer under the seat when we got in an accident, and threatening me and my sisters if we said anything about it. I was maybe 6 then, I could actually tell many stories of the same kind of situations.

In some ways addiction can rob a child of their childhood. I agree with your sentiment that someone needs to speak out from a childs point of view.

Your entry was well written and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing this.
Author Unknown08/02/07
Really well done- and you don't need to apologize for writing so honestly. I would have left out the "I'm not proud... more palatable" stuff and went straight for it. Truth needs to be spoken in love, you did that. Christians, and non-Christians for that matter, don't need the truth watered down. I think you did a good job- I was so caught up in it I wasn't thinking about the technical stuff. Good job.

And while I'm sorry to hear this was in your past, it has given you a strong voice that needs to be heard.
Myrna Noyes08/02/07
Very appropriate title for this heart-rending piece! What a tragic story, but I am glad for your father's salvation before he died.

There were a few punctuation errors that some proofreading would probably take care of. Some people here have "Challenge buddies" that help catch these types of things, too.

Your ending was powerful and contained great truth. Thank you for sharing this so honestly. Excellent writing! :)
Loren T. Lowery08/03/07
I aplode your bravery and your conviction. I also stand up beside you in support. Someone has to become the voice of those that are helpless. So many have had their childhood's stolen, writings like this can only help heal and give hope that at least one or more child will be spared the heart-ache and hurt you experienced.
Pamela Kliewer08/03/07
Your story brought tear to my eyes. While I didn't grow up like you did, I understand your not wanting to drive w/ anyone who has had even one drink. I'm so glad you were able to lead your Dad to Jesus before he died. You told your story well. Thank you for being a voice that needs to be heard.
Cheri Hardaway 08/03/07
Wonderful title! Awesome job. The beauty of God shines when we speak forth transparently and honestly about the sin we've seen, both in ourselves and others, and tell how God has restored life to each scenario. Thank you for being bold enought to share this truth. May it minister in a mighty way for those who have no voice and to those who carry scars from childhood. Blessings, Cheri
Joanne Sher 08/04/07
This is intense and amazing - your descriptions are incredibly vivid and your words kick me in the stomach. This must have been therapeutic - it is certainly excellent!
Jan Ackerson 08/04/07
One of the most moving first person accounts at FaithWriters.

Be careful of comma use--you sometimes omitted them when they are needed, particularly when addressing a person.

Your voice is conversational and frank, a pleasure to read.
Dee Yoder 08/07/07
I had an aunt who drove me home and she was very drunk. I'll never forget that ride and the fear I felt. Then the guilt of telling my parents about it, and having them confront her about what she did. Alcohol is so destructive. I'm glad to know your Dad met the Lord and His love was able to transform your father. Wonderful writing!
Cathy Kane08/08/07
Very fitting title for a very important, albeit very sad, story. I could actually feel your anxiety riding in that car with your dad. So glad that your father came to know the Lord.

Good writing!
Janice Fitzpatrick08/09/07
Congratulatiions on 2nd place dear! Wowza! Very to the point,frank and genuine and oh my Lord, how sad. This is way to close for comfort to some situations of relatives and loved one we know that this caused me to wince and pray for the many families of those in bondage with alcohol. Well done!
Seema Bagai 08/09/07
This piece is filled with raw, real emotions. Well done. Congratulations on the win.
Martha Ford08/09/07
Congratulations, Dianne, and I want to tell you "I get it." Isn't it wonderful that our earthly father is not the only Father we have. God Bless you and keep you safe.
Brad Paulson08/10/07
Another winner. . . I had a feeling when I first read this it would do well, glad to see the judges agreed.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/13/07
Congratulations on your win; this is a heartbreaking story of youth, and how you dealt with it. Great story, and you "tell it like it is" - honesty is the best policy - Always! Good job! Kudos!
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/02/07
This is truly a gripping narrative--well deserving of placing. Congratulations. The honesty of your words is sad, but refreshing. Just hopefully, someone will see himself or herself through your writing as the destroyer of a child's security because of alcohol.