Attempted Murder/Suicide - Rob tells his story of growing up in the aftermath #WhenIBecameFree

This story is a hard one for me to tell. Rob is a dear friend of mine. I met him when I was just 17 years old. It was back in the days when I was struggling with my own secrets. One of my brothers introduced my friend Carla and I to a little dive neighborhood bar in Schiller Park, IL. Behind the bar was a retired cop named Bobby. He knew we were under-age but he didn't care. Rarely did we drink. We just went there for the atmosphere and to socialize.

Carla and I claimed one of the tables by the dart machine. It soon became known to others that no one else should sit there - it was our spot. A part of me remembers those days with fondness and another part of me has some regret. It was not the place for a young girl, especially a young vulnerable girl with little to no self-esteem. That bar fed a false confidence in me, as rarely did Carla or I had to spend money - our drinks were bought, pool and dart games were paid for, and men would give us money to play the jukebox. For the most part, I never had issues there other than having a false sense of self-esteem. All the wrong type of attention for a young woman who was feeling emotionally bankrupt from a childhood of being sexually molested.

We had "good girl" status at the bar. Always with a watchful eye, Bobby wouldn't let anyone mess with us.  Shy but popular, it was twisted but it gave me something to look forward to every day.

That bar is where I would eventually meet the man I married, however, a couple of years prior to meeting him, I had met most of his childhood friends, including Rob. Rob is what I would call an absorber with one Hell of a sense of humor. He'd sit back watching his surroundings, taking in what everyone was doing, and then all of the sudden burst out with some sharp sarcasm, cracking all of us up.

I remember the first time Rob spoke about his childhood, giving me a glimpse into the horror he experienced. He said it so nonchalantly, almost as if he was talking about his day - his father was dead from a botched murder/suicide attempt. A tragedy that happened when he was just 14 years-old. It was the first time I ever heard of such a thing, especially from someone I knew and called a friend.

Over the years he would reveal more about it all to me, and from time to time my husband, when recounting his childhood and his friends,  would also talk about it.  What happened in Rob's family really came to the foreground almost 20 years later when my own marriage was being shattered by alcoholism and domestic violence. Rob was worried that what happened to his parents was now repeating with his friends. All the signs were there. He desperately reached out to my husband in an attempt to talk sense into him and to urge me to stay safe.

Now here it is 30 plus years later and yesterday Rob and I sat down and had an open and honest discussion about his childhood- that attempted murder/suicide which did end up taking his father's life.  Rob agreed to that discussion because he knew I have been working on my project, #WhenIBecameFree.

I know opening up about it all was extremely difficult for him - men rarely speak about growing up with domestic violence and admitting the negative impact it has had on their lives.  I will be forever grateful to Rob for taking that courageous step.

In the following video, you will hear our rather frank discussion about what happened and how it all impacted his life. Rob talks about what led up to the tragedy and how as a child, he lashed out in many ways - including blowing off school, running away, using drugs and getting in trouble with the law. Through it all, he always wanted to break the cycle and after a rollercoaster ride of self-abuse, he finally found the strength and determination that was always in him.

Today Rob is a 52-year-old man with an adult son who he has been able to bond with and nurture in ways he never had himself. Although divorced from his son's mother, Rob was a present father who always paid beyond child support and made the extra effort to be a parent rather than just a man with the title of father.

Rob was uncomfortable with me videoing taping him but did allow me to audio record the discussion to use and share with others. His story will make the pages of the When I Became Free completed project. Please take a listen but also know that this may set off triggers and that the language used at times is rough...frank...blunt - real.

Listen to his words...his life, pay attention and remember the children growing up in a violent household will pay the largest price of all - they will spend the rest of their lives trying to heal those wounds, some are successful and many are not. The ones still profusely bleeding are the ones we as a society show disdain towards or turn a blind eye to and judge with coldness -  they may be addicts, criminals or have taken their own lives. They may be that women stuck in the cycle and unable to break free from domestic violence, or that student who disrupts the class every chance they get. Pay attention, the victims of domestic violence and child abuse they are all around us, screaming out their pain in hopes that one day someone may care long enough to listen with an open ear and love in their heart.

We CAN break the cycles.

Thank you, Rob - your story WILL save lives!

Support the When I Became Free Project -
Once I am completed compiling stories they will go in a book and longer video.
Fifty percent of any profits will go to a charity that helps survivors of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.
To get to that point I need to travel to interview survivors, pay for supplies, and then self-publishing and promotion. Any and all help with costs will be greatly appreciated and paid forward.


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