The Almost-Murder

If you are in a domestic abuse situation, you can visit the website of Ending Violence Association of Canada for resources or call or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (US) at: 1-800-799-7233.

If you’re at risk of being tracked, open a browser tab in ‘private mode’ or ‘incognito.’ Right click on the link, and choose “Copy Link Address.” Paste the address into the private browser window.

I hate articles like this but, these are ways abusers track their victims. I’m sharing it simply so you are aware of ways you may be tracked.

Just remember, you’re not alone. There’s always hope. There’s help out there.

When I was 6-years-old, my dad tried to kill my mom in front of me.

I’m going to be honest with you, I’ve blocked out a lot of my childhood.

But there are key things that I will never forget.

My childhood memories play like a bad DVD.

There’s a clear “video” of a memory in my head, and then all of a sudden, the CD skips, and there’s a chunk of the story missing.

But, a lot of my life as a child was documented in police reports and court records so, I know the few memories I have are true.

As the story progresses, you’ll see why trauma caused me to suppress a lot of my memories and led to the delayed onset of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The government, just like the church, prohibited divorce

Before we moved to Canada from the Philippines, my mom (against the wishes of the church) filed a marriage annulment.

I don’t know about now, but back then, there was no divorce in the Philippines.

Save for an area in Mindanao where Islam is rampant, Filipinos are mostly Catholic.

The government of the day didn’t support divorce, because the religion of the land didn’t support divorce.

The philosophy behind a marriage annulment was that, it would be as if the marriage never happened.

But, if there were children and assets involved, there has to be custody battles and alimony so, potato or potatoe?

If it smells like a rose, it looks like a rose, it is a rose.

Call it whatever you want: It’s essentially a divorce.

I digress.

Throughout the divorce proceedings, there wasn’t a clear custody agreement.

I couldn’t explain the arrangement to you.

As far I was concerned, it was completely arbitrary.

Both my parents would disappear on me for days on end, and I’d be left with a maid or nanny that they hired (we could never afford it, but we still had them somehow).

They were usually loyal to my mom and would call her when my dad wasn’t home, and she’d come and pick me up.

As a child, I was in a constant state of anxiety.

At one point when I was young, my mom rented out a bungalow.

Always very entrepreneural, the home doubled as the headquarters for a taxi company she decided to open.

Most people above a certain income bracket, had homes with stone fences, mixed with broken glass so, people couldn’t climb over them. The driveway was always locked by a gate.

Break-ins and robberies were commonplace in Manila at the time.

(In fact, my dad once hired a security guard and a maid. The two of them fell in love. One day, while we were on vacation, the two cleaned our house out, and we came home to an empty place. That’s some love story.)

My mom’s house had a carport and the driveway was long enough to fit a handful of cars.

The first night she took me to her home, she told me that my dad had been stalking her. That I needed to be on the look-out.

I have a very clear memory of sitting in the backseat of one of her cars, and looking behind me into all the other vehicles to make sure my dad wasn’t in one of them.

She told me that we didn’t want him to know where she was living.

I don’t know how, but I believe he found us.

I don’t remember if I was home.

I don’t remember if we were somewhere else.

All I remember is standing on the driveway the next morning, and all the windows and windshields of the cars in my mom’s taxi fleet, had been smashed in.

It was a huge mess.

Well, you can guess who we thought did it.

The almost-murder

Before the house, my mom had rented out a single-bedroom apartment in the city.

Same story.

I was never allowed to reveal where she lived.

Same story.

He found us.

He knocked on my mom’s door.

When she opened it, he forced his way in.

At this point in my memory, the DVD skips.

I remember she sent me downstairs to security/concierge.

I remember hanging out in front of the desk, kicking my feet. I think I played with some mini firecrackers.

And then I remember being in the bedroom, pressed against the wall.

On the other side of the room, my mom was face down on her knees.

She didn’t have a regular bed: It was one of those foldable and rollable floor mattresses.

He was behind her, and he had both hands wrapped around her neck.

I don’t remember saying anything. I don’t remember feeling anything. I just remember seeing it.

And then the DVD skips again.

(My mom would later recall that she felt the life draining from her.

She was about to blackout when her life flashed before her eyes, and she begged God internally, to let her live for my sake.

After she said that prayer, apparently he let her go, and just left as if nothing happened.)

The next morning

In the kitchen was a round dining table.

There was usually a small fishbowl on it with goldfish.

I remember finding a goldfish dead on the floor in the hallway, during what I can only assume was a crime-scene walk-through.

My mom later told me that the fish probably just jumped out of the water onto the floor. But looking back, I think the bowl must’ve been knocked over during the struggle. And the poor fish died.

I remember having to walk through the bedroom and not wanting to look at the bed.

I remember walking right through to the balcony door, which was left open.

I remember seeing a clothing iron out there, but the cord was partially in the bedroom, and thinking to myself that it was weird that it was there. I had no idea why it would be there.

And then the DVD skips again.

The police interrogation

I remember sitting on the other side of a police desk.

It reminded me of those stereotypical interrogations in the movies.

There was a single light hanging above the desk.

On the other side was an officer, dressed in a khaki-coloured uniform. He was sitting down with a typewriter, I’m assuming, typing out our testimonies.

I remember thinking how large he was. Not that he was overweight; Just that he towered over me. He scared me.

I was sitting on the other side of the desk beside my mom, who was now in a neck-brace.

I don’t remember speaking. I don’t know if I said anything. I don’t remember saying anything during the walk-through. I don’t remember saying anything during the police interrogation.

Sometimes, I think I must’ve stayed mute for a while. I honestly can’t remember.

And just like that it was over…

I will never understand why, but my father never went to jail.

I don’t remember him ever being charged.

We never went to court over it.

He certainly never went to prison.

You’ll see me say that he’s in my life now, mostly through social media.

In a piece I’ll post later, you’ll see that I haven’t seen my father since I was 7-years-old.

But after the police were involved, life went on.

A couple of weeks later, he sent my mom a beautiful bouquet of long-stemmed red roses.

He gave me a teddy bear, holding a heart that read, “I’m sorry.”

And he was allowed to just walk the streets stalking us.


My parent’s annulment wasn’t granted until we were long gone from the Philippines.

When the results came out, we were already in Canada.

Lucky for my mom, despite me testifying against her in court (read about that story on Friday), they granted her full custody.

And we went on with our new lives as if it never happened.


Until a fateful day when I was a teenager, when a pastor decided he was going to drudge up my past, triggering my PTSD and what I can only describe as my first manic depressive episode.

But as usual, that’s a story for another day.

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