Thursday, February 12, 2015

~THE NIGHT FRIGHTS~

I'm going to tell  something about myself.  Something I wish I could get over.  It's something that I have passed down to my children and they have probably passed it on to their own children.
I 'm afraid of the dark!  
Seriously afraid.
My home is never, ever dark.  There are always flashlights nearby just in case.
My children's homes are never dark.
Nor their children's.
Now...I know this is a BAD thing...but ..they were never told my story!
Not until they were grown adults.

Sometimes if have to go out into the garage at night, I fight the urge to look under the car.  For one thing, it's not so easy to get back up, once I'm down and besides, it's a matter of pride not give in and look.  I admit that I usually give in and look.  I simply have to.

My sweet husband now goes out if we need something..and I love him for it.
When I do brave going to the second refrigerator to get some bottles of vitamin water..or clothes out of the dryer I prop the door open so it cannot close behind me.  It just depends on how I am feeling at the time...whether I even go out there at all.  When I do go, I do alright until I get to the door into the kitchen..then SUDDENLY it hits me!!  
My back is now to the garage and all the night terrors I experienced as a child, suddenly wash over me and panic sets in!  Pure stark fear!
I reach for the door handle and I can feel the hair raise on the back of my neck and I zoom in the door,close it and LOCK it as fast as I can.  It's a terrible feeling.
I simply cannot control the fear that sweeps me.  I'm a little better now, but not much.  I must tell you that I slept with my head covered up throughout my life.  I finally stopped when I got married and felt safe with my husband right beside me.  
But it's always there.
The fear.  

I know full well what happened to make me so bad, or at least worse than I normally was.
It seems there have been incidents concerning the dark all my life.

When I was about six or seven years old, we lived in Portland Oregon.
My bedroom was quite a distance from my parents.  Theirs was in the front part of the house, and mine was next to theirs, but to get to mine from theirs, they had to go through the living room, through the BIG country kitchen, sort of around the stove and gas heater to the side of the kitchen  and that's where my room was.

One night when I was about to go to sleep, or had just awakened, I heard something.  Beside my little bed there was a double apple box.  On top of the box was my favorite little set of Blue Willow china dishes.  I had begun to sleep with my head covered up and I don't even remember when or why such fear began.
I could hear something and as I strained my ears trying to figure out what it was, the dishes on my little box night stand jiggled.  I carefully peeked out and saw someone standing beside my bed and I froze!  Again,...my dishes moved and something touched my bed.  I peeked again and the bottom part of what appeared to be a man, moved away..I listened.  I didn't hear a thing.  I waited..nothing.
I wanted my Mommy.  I was too terrified to move and suddenly I threw back my covers, sat straight up in bed and screamed!  I could hear my father's feet hit the floor and heard him and my mother running.   When they ran into my room and turned on the light, I just kept saying "there was a man in my room, there was a man in my room" over and over and over.
They calmed me..and finally took me with them into their room and I slept between them for the rest of the night.

I shadowed my mother the following day.  I  remember that.  I didn't let her out of my sight. This was during World War II  and my father worked nights at the Ship Yards.  
It was a night or two later...and I had gone to bed.  My parents convinced me I was dreaming, or tried to.  I knew I was not dreaming but I was not the sort of child that argued with my elders.
I obeyed and went to bed..and lay quietly refusing to go to sleep.  I waited.  I listened.  And I listened..  
The moon was shining through my pink ruffled bedroom curtains...and then I heard it, and as I looked I saw the door knob of my bedroom door slowly turn and my door open.  
There he was..for just a few seconds and then he quickly walked silently through my room and into my little closet.  It didn't have a door and the opening was very small.  Not the size of a usual door.
Our home was very old and inside the closet on both sides were shelves where my toys were kept.
As soon as he disappeared into the closet I sat bolt upright and screamed!!
NOTHING CAME OUT OF MY MOUTH!  
NOTHING!
I tired and and again, NOTHING and then it came.  One LONG horrible scream and I could hear my mother's feet hit the floor and I could hear her running through the living room and kitchen into my bedroom!  She reached up and pulled the chain that turned on my light and I screamed "There's a man in my closet!!   There's a man in my closet!!"   
Then my mother did something that horrified me.  
She put her finger to her lips in a "shhhhhhhh" sign, nodded her head while saying "Honey, you were just dreaming" all the while shaking her head, yes.  Then she got up, pushed me back onto my bed  and walked to my bedroom door saying she would leave the kitchen light on.  Then I saw her  RUN like I had never seen her run before.  She litterally flew on her bare feet back into her room, grabbed the shotgun and just as I heard her running back, the man bolted out of my closet, out of my room, through the kitchen and out the door, then through the back enclosed porch and out the back door!  My mother was screaming "Stop!!!  Stop or I'll shoot!" 
My mother was a crack shot and had been raised with rifles all her life.
Then I could hear her slam and lock our back door and then she ran into my room and picked me up.
She called grandpa first who lived just a short distance from us, and then called the police.
I don't remember much of what happened after that.  
I do remember my granddaddy sitting at night on our porch, which was shrouded in Lilac's, with a rifle across his lap.  
I remember that.  
We slept very uneasily for a long time.  There had been other reports of prowlings in our neighborhood.  
I've never been the same since.  I never will be.  

Love,
Mona

27 comments:

  1. This is what is called "being the victim". When something happens like this to frighten you, especially as a child, it remains with you forever. It is the "afraid of the dark", Night Terrors - something that takes some time or forever to recover from. What this man did to enter your house and frighten you like this, is he made you the victim. The only thing you can do to is do what you are doing. If you are indeed frightened of these dark spaces, light em up and keep em lit up until you feel safe. PH makes you feel safe and he will continue to do that. I know exactly how you feel - My Uncle played a joke on us little kids once and for him it was a practical joke.....but for us little kids that only saw a dark figure coming into the bedroom (knowing it was not Mum or Dad)were terrified and fled to the closet to hide, except he trapped us in the closet and made all kinds of animal sounds, etc. My Mother never forgave him for his practical joke and my Father "had words" with him. I can remember Mum leaving the hall light on for us for a long time after that. There is more to the story in the healing sense, but I battled it for a long time and so did my sister. I was scared of the dark for a very long time after that. I hadn't really thought about it much after that but your post made me feel that I am not alone in thoughts about the dark. I think many children or people in general have a experienced a night terror, eh. Don't feel alone. You've got PH by your side as only a Maine Man Can. lol

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  2. Oh my, of course that will be with you the rest of your life !I am amazed at the wisdom & calm your mother showed when she must have been crazy afraid and angry at an intruder into her little girl's bedroom. And BTW, he was IN your bedroom. You were protected by the parents who love you. Things could have been so very different, but you were protected !

    This story had the hair on the back of my neck raised.

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  3. well what do I say, Lol, I was also scared of the night and had too have a light on to sleep. So many memories you stired up lady, You have a wonderful day.
    Florida gal, Barbara

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  4. omg...i might never be the same again after reading this! no wonder you are afraid of the dark! i had someone break in on me in the middle of the night when i was single. fortunately i had a gun stuck in my mattress. i scared the hell out of him more than he scared me!

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  5. Oh girl, that is TOOOOOOOOOO scary and I certainly understand how that feeling has stayed with you:( Sending you a HUG this morning!

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  6. Oh, my goodness gracious. No wonder you're afraid. I'm amazed that your mom was able to react the way she did.
    I'm uncomfortable in the dark, but I've always attributed it to my claustrophobia. I feel closed in when I can't see the boundaries.

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  7. What a terrible experience for a little girl....hugs... I also do not like the dark, I have "night" lights on all thru the house in case I need to get up for some reason...always have and always will. When I go to bed I like the TV on with the volume low...provides a little light and enough noise that I can't hear all the house creaks and outside noise that keep me awake. hugs....

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  8. i am so glad you wrote this. i thought I was the only one that feels like this. i have been afraid of the dark all my life, as far back as i can remember and at 70 still am. sometimes i want to get in our pool after dark to cool off before bedtime in summer. bob has to go with me. i know there is othing in the yard, and even with the light on, i will not go out there. when i go in the garage, i turn the light on before i go out there. i try never to take a shower if home a lone, day or night. the dogs have made that better.
    thank you for sharing, now i know i am not alone inmy fear of dark.

    this started when i was about 4, we had a curtain not a door on the closet. when i sat on the commode the wind would move the curtain and terrify me. but i have no memory of why I am afraid.

    daddy would not let us have a nightlight, but he did wake up when I yelled DADDY and turn on the flash light and shine it in the bathroom, and when I said OK he would turn it off.

    when i get in a car at night i always check the back seat before i get in. the thing is even though i have checked it, i still feel like someone is there.

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  9. Oh, Mona! How scarey and so thankful the man didn't hurt you! No wonder you're afraid of the dark! I am too! As a child, I grew up in Alabama and we lived close to the railroad tracks and hobos would hop off the train and prowl around the neighborhoods. We had them come up to our house and peep inside the windows and I saw them many times and it scared me to death. There were lots of scary things that happened and I too was always afraid of the dark. My husband traveled Mon thru Fri when our kids were little and I was so afraid at night. I remember getting sick and taking NyQuil and realized it would make you sleep. I continued to take it about a month because it would make me sleep until my stomach couldn't take it any more. I have prayed and prayed and asked the Lord to help me get through my dark fears. I'm okay as long as hubby is with me but my ears still hear everything. Praying for you, Dear One, because I know that fear.
    Blessings,
    Shelia )

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  10. Oh what an awful thing to happen when you were little. I can understand why you are afraid of the dark. Have a blessed day. Madeline

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  11. Mona, I was never afraid of the dark till I saw a movie about werewolves....that did it. I never ever said boogie man to my girls or anything like that, to scare them . I never wanted them to be scared of the dark or things. That was creepy , your story. Have you ever gone to therapy for your fear? It could help, possibly.Blessings, xoxo,Susie

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  12. I have a lump in my throat. and my blood pressure must be up. what a horrible, horrible thing, to have happened to you!!!

    -sigh-

    I have a million questions. but it probably was enough for you, to have written this and shared it with us.

    many, many gentle hugs...

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  13. What a frightening experience. No wonder you still have that in the back of your mind. I'm sure PH will protect you now.
    Just imagine the fright your poor mum had as well. It is awful that we have people like that in our midst.
    Hugs Kay

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  14. No wonder....don't blame you I would also carry that thru a lifetime. Your mom was amazing! She's still protecting you sweetie.

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  15. At first I thought this was a story not for real. No wonder you are afraid in the dark. Your mother was amazing. I'm scared reading that. I used to be a mess when I was home alone as a young girl. Ever noise I heard I would freeze. Big hugs

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  16. Wow Mona, how scary for you. What did the police do? Your mother was awesome protecting you. I am not surprised that this has stayed with you all of your life. "Lights on" would be my plan . . .

    (I'll probably have to have a light on here tonight!

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  17. Wow! That was terrifying. Your mom was brave.

    The only time all of the lights are out in my house is if there has been a storm and there is a neighborhood outage. Even then I keep a couple of battery lit candles lit in each room. At night when we are sleeping I leave the light on in the bathroom and an under cabinet light in the kitchen. Raises the electric bills, but better for me. I would not be able to sleep at night in a completely dark house. Maybe it is some kind of claustrophobia with me, I don't have any specific memories of why I am this way. Apparently, from the comments, a lot of us are a bit scared of the dark. I would have never guessed it.

    I am glad you shined a light on this subject.

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  18. I've always been afraid of the dark, too. Well, since I was 6 or so. It started when I turned out the light and crawled into bed one night and I felt my mattress raise up then nothing, then it happened again. I don't remember whether I screamed or yelled for my mother, but she came in and turned on the light and looked under the bed. There was my older brother who was pushing on the mattress. (I'm 68, so this was back in the day of slats with a mattress on top.) I was terrified of the dark after that and had to have a light on in my bedroom and it was hard for me to walk outside at night by myself.
    I'm a little better after all these years, but I still keep a light on if I'm ever alone at night and have a nightlight on all the time. And I still hesitate to walk very far outside in the dark. I can imagine all kinds of things! I'm sure I would be much more afraid if I'd seen what you did. Your mother was certainly brave!
    Another thing that happened, a few years after the mattress episode, was a really scary movie I saw on tv at my aunt's house. It really was the final straw in my ever recovering from being afraid of the dark!
    You were brave to write about this, Mona, and I'm glad to know that I'm not the only woman of a certain age that is still afraid. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  19. Oh my, what a terrifying experience for a child! What a brave mother you had!
    I still sometimes have to check under my bed b/c my brother hid under there once and grabbed my ankles as I sat on the edge of my bed. Scared me half to death! But your experience was infinitely worse. I don't blame you for keeping lights on!!

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  20. What an absolutely horrifying story, Mona. I am glad you told it. Sometimes in letting the fear out it lessens just a bit. I am so sorry you had to go through something like that. No wonder you are afraid of the dark. God bless you- xo Diana

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  21. Hi Mona. Sandra (MadSnapper) sent us over here to read your story. Now the hair is standing up on the back of MY neck! What terrifying experiences! I've never liked the dark either, but I didn't have any good reason that I could point to, like you do. No wonder you're afraid of the dark. I did always feel a bit easier going out in the dark when my German Shepherd was alive and could go with me. :-)

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  22. I did a post on my fear of the dark and linked to this one today...

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  23. Oh My GOSH!!! Your story is sad, frightening, horrifying, and suspenseful. I can imagine how it changed you. Or rather I can't imagine, at all! Sandra sent me because she mentioned your story in Madsnaper today. I am so glad I came and read.

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  24. As I read your post, my heart was pounding for the little girl you were. But you were brave to hold yourself together enough to follow you mother's silent directions.

    Even as an adult I used to experience an uneasiness in the dark. Now uneasiness in dark or poorly lit areas is because of my 2011 hemorrhagic stroke. Without those sensory organs that tell me where my body is in space, I have difficulty balancing when I cannot see my feet.

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  25. That's the scariest thing I have ever heard, and I am so sorry you had to experience that at such a tender age.

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