Chris, at 16, sentenced to life with NO chance of parole, for a crime, he was NOT even at the scene, now in his mid thirties, still so longing for freedom, denied him.
Windows of my Soul
Some of the best years of my life, that I remember, occurred when we lives in the Highland Forest neighborhood of Pleasant Grove. There seemed to be a special world in Highland Forest where nothing of consequence mattered outside of it.
I remember Spiderman birthday cakes, Captain Kangaroo, learning to ride my bike, playing T-ball, being a Super Hero, adventurer, daredevil, brother and son…..I remember the quarters from the Tooth fairy I’d find under my pillow, tossing and turning in anticipation of seeing what Santa Claus left me for Christmas and being afraid of our den bathroom! I remember a healthy childhood…..I remember love.
When my parents split-up, it was something I did not understand, being a child, but I knew there was something irreconcilable about their martial conflict. It was very confusing and somewhat painful, but appeared to be balanced by the birth of my younger brother, Matthew, in the summer of 1981. I have memories of his peaceful innocence and how much you just knew by how he looked at us, that he loved us. We were the center of his universe-his nucleus.
My relationship with my father, in the wake of the divorce, suffered although, I didn’t understand why. I had no concept of the disease that haunted him or it’s effects. The disease was alcoholism. He became distant and began to change into someone totally different from the man that taught me to play baseball in Highland Forest. Often I’d question whether he even loved me or not and since his actions created these doubts, why should I even care? But the answer was an easy one: He was my father and I was his son. I loved him with a strength that only a son could have for his dad….No matter what, though, when Mike Thrasher hugged me, I knew he loved me. There were demons that had ahold of him, that just refused to let him be.
As I continued to grow up, I was very shy and reserved early on, with very few friends. I’m sure insecurities I’d acquired as a result of the unhealthy relationship I had with my father, were a factor in this, but I’m not going to point fingers. After changing elementary schools and later becoming “saved” after attending a Christian youth camp, I slowly began attracting friends, both male and female. I guess one could say I was becoming “popular”.
With popularity comes associations with people your Mother doesn’t approve of and did I have those! As I became a teenager, I associated myself with people who were rebellious and angry, as I grew to be, as well. The confusing aspect of this, was that I had no idea why I felt like I did, thus adding an element of frustration. No one understood me, or so it seemed. But, did I even understand myself? Not really!
I look back now, at all life threw our way, as a family and at every point of reflection, I see my Mom, the foundation of all that was good in my childhood, unwavering in her devotion and altruistic in her sacrifices. God grants prayers to children in various ways, to meet the needs expressed in times of tribulation……God gave me my Mother as an answer to mine.
Many times through my years as a teenager, I acted selfishly, not only to my Mom but towards my sister and brother as well. Only now, as an adult, can I see these shortcomings, for I am not only a son and brother, but an uncle now too. Family never meant more!!! Not many of my family have believed in me, turning their backs long ago, not caring what fate befell me. However, Mom, Mimi, Matt and Kimberly, you guys didn’t. I’ve made it this far in my struggle for freedom, because God made my prayers manifest through y’all. You’ve had faith in me even when my knees buckled under the weight of this misery, begging God to let my life end….Instead, he sent an angel to guide me back into focus, where my family was already waiting.
The Lord has called some of our family home to Him in my life and as a result, I’d like to dedicate this essay to them.
Howard “Pop” Hillman, a loving husband, dedicated father and an understanding grandfather.
“Rose” “Granny” Gammon, the most beautiful woman from Sweden!
“Mike Thrasher”, you’re never forgotten! I love you, Dad.
An essay of Life
By Chris Thrasher