Published on October 28th, 2013 | by Mechelle Lynch0
My Uncle Attacked Us with Machete, and My Mother Was Covered in Blood
My sister and I were hanging out the front window of our house trying to make sense of the inaudible cussing coming from the direction of my uncle’s home. My mother had just passed his house on her way to us. She passed under our window -the window we were hoping would sprout feet and take us just a bit closer to whatever was going on over by our uncle’s-, we heard her grumble ‘wait, the cat can’t look at the queen?’
My uncle was mentally ill but to my sister and me he could be the sweetest person on earth. Whatever my sister and I wanted from him, he gave without hesitation. He would even give us things we didn’t quite know what to do with. How many four year olds need bags of rice and flour? However whether needed or wanted, such household staples often times found their way into our bags of treats.
As kids we knew not to get involved in adults’ conversations but on this occasion our mother seemed visibly distraught. She entered the house still muttering somewhat inaudibly, it seemed that whatever she had said prior or in-between had triggered ‘the beast’ in my uncle. Looking back I suppose that to his mind, those words must have been an epic trigger, casting us into the image of mortal enemies. Then would begin the hours of terror he rained down on us.
My sister and I usually took advantage of the view from one of the windows to the front of our home- mom usually had us house-bound. From this well loved and familiar perch we saw our uncle quickly approaching, machete in hand. Every West Indian child from an early age knows angry man plus machete and absence of a sugar cane to slaughter speaks loudly of imminent danger. Back then, the machete was to our society what a gun is to todays. It was the featured weapon in every bogey man story and the centre piece of many nightmares. So my eyes flitted off the machete and my brain invested speed to my small limbs as I ran to my mother to inform her of the imminent fate that would befall us. I knew danger was coming…. ‘Mooooom,’ I screamed with 4-year-old fervour, ‘uncle coming with a big knife!’ My mother sprang into action deploying forces (my older sister) to batten down the hatches. She was the General, and sadly in a way, it really was war.
My mother yelled to my older sister to assist in completing the very important task of securing our home. There was no time to lose as the enemy was approaching and we needed to secure the fort. My mom and sister both ran around franticly locking doors and windows hoping against hope to prevent intrusion from the terror that had us in its crosshairs. With everything we could secure- secured, we waited with pounding hearts and baited breath.
He circled the house very much like a shark circling his prey. Silence…then came the distinct shattering of glass. Unfortunately those were not the days of supposedly unbreakable gorilla glass (by souders). Our fort was penetrated! One of the windows to the front of the house was shattered; with what appeared to be the greatest of ease, our fortress had been breached. My mother and sister sought to prevent what I thought would certainly be our obliteration, their defensive weapon- a broom. A tug-of-war ensued before my eyes. Unsure of what I should do, I stood shaking like a leaf and watching in horror as this uncle of loving smiles and fun and wacky gifts tried to kill us. At the time, my little mind could not comprehend how my sweet uncle who loved us to death was now trying to literally bring about our deaths.
My mother ordered me to my room and instructed me to lock the door and hide under the bed. But I was frozen in place… it took her barking the order again to unglue my feet. I ran into my room as fast as my little legs could carry me and stood scrunched in the furthest corner of the bed, with tears streaming down my face. I listened for a while as my mother and sister shouted, and my uncle growled profanities.
Then there was nothing for a while but silence!
The quiet whimpering of my sister and mother reached my ears and I thought it was all over. As I began to emerge from my perch on the bed there was a loud bang, followed by more persistent banging coming from the rear of our home. The monster was at out back door trying to get in! At this point there was no recovery, just enough time to scramble for cover! I could hear my family searching for adequate hiding places as there was a loud crash indicating our door was no more and the place I called home was systematically being destroyed.
As soon as I realised my uncle was in the house, I jumped through my bedroom window which was about 6 feet from ground level and made a mad dash for a friend’s house. I’m not too sure how my little 4 year old mind figured escape was my best option for the survival of myself and the two persons I held most dear. But my instincts had kicked in so I ran as fast as my pint-sized legs would carry me.
Breathlessly I pounded on the door. The woman, whom I only knew as Mrs Forde, greeted me at the door with much bewilderment. I can remember her saying to me ‘Calm down child! What happen?’ ‘My uncle just attacked us!’ I blurted out which caused her to immediately snatch up the telephone and call the police. She gave them as much information as she could and they were soon on their way.
As I waited with bated breath, a sickening feeling of anxiety washed over me. Not knowing if my mother and sister were ok. The brave four year old was no more in her place was a broken child drowning in a river of tears. Mrs Forde held me close to her bosom and rocked and shushed me. I was in a state of panic at the thought of being all alone in this world; an orphan with no mother to look after me. My heart was in a million pieces, my world was shattered.
When the police arrived, I was loaded into the back of their vehicle and I directed then to the point of mayhem. There, my mother laid in a pool of blood, obviously injured. On further examination the officers realised she was still breathing and called for the EMTs. Another set of tears threatened to well up within me and the officers comforted me as best they could. I could remember my mother’s eyes swollen shut and she was writhing in pain. Blood was coming from her nose and she seemed to my eyes to be broken all over.
By now, a bevy of neighbours who heard the earlier commotion, had converged on the scene but my sister was nowhere in sight. New worry sprang up within me. Someone hinted that she may have run off, hotly pursued by this man, who had evolved into a brute in the blink of an eye.
The officers hurriedly started a search for what could have been a horrific scene. They came across my uncle first, machete in hand, strolling along, covered in blood. He gave himself up without incident and was taken into custody. My sister was found in the home of a stranger, who had given her refuge, after exhaustion overtook her and she had fainted. None too soon I say, for if this bastard had gotten a hold of her, she would be dead!
Battered, bruised and visibly shaken, she was removed by the officers. Not knowing the extent of her injuries, the kind officers transported her to the hospital to be assessed. I was all alone for the first time in my life. Tears soon flowed again as thoughts of being abandoned filled my head. At age 4, there is usually no rational forethought; only immediate rationalisation of present situations.
I was too young to be on my own and Mrs Forde readily accepted responsibility for me until the fate of my mother was known.
All is well that ends well I suppose, the blood on my mother made things look considerably worse than they were and she was able to leave the hospital within a few days. She was still bruised but none the less still alive; the same went for my sister. I was just happy to get the two persons who meant the world to me back.
Mental illness is no joke and should be taken very seriously. Persons afflicted with mental illness should be given all the help and supported needed. It could be a case of life or death for some unsuspecting stranger or even closer to home; a friend or family member.