This is a letter Aarron Messer posted on his personal Facebook page last month. He has agreed to share it with my readers.
“I waited till after I spoke with my brother before sharing this. My brother and I were raised in the same home but while we are close in age we experienced greatly different impressions of our parents over the past few years. You may not find that when you get done reading this but my world has been turned upside down and I am just trying to grasp it.
This article, Daily Journal Online: Son shares another perspective on disappearance is his (Abram’s) story—his sentiment. I can’t say there isn’t another side to much of the content of the stories he shares; there is. I know that the content is true even though I didn’t see it as abuse at the time. However, from my perspective there are things you should know.
My ex-wife and I don’t agree on much, but you can ask her—I have always felt that the most important thing to me in my former marriage was to not be my father. I have never wanted to make excuses but I never knew a different set of parents than mine. So I only knew them as they were, while I never liked my father’s dominant control over my mother it was just the way it was and it was what my mother accepted.
I was just as blind to the abuse as I am sure my mother was. I have always considered my father’s attitude toward my mom as off and distasteful. I have been very frustrated and angry at him in the past for the way he treated her in private. To be completely open with you when I married at 19 I was desperate to treat my wife any way but the way he treated my mom.
The little things like the way he called her, “woman.” The way he referred to her in an analogy in a family wide text message after my mother’s hip replacement surgery, when she had trouble and had a fever, he didn’t tell us mom has a fever, he jokingly talked about her as if she was a car at the mechanic and her temp was running high. It made my stomach sick.
A few years back when I was pastoring, my mother had a rather lengthy private discussion with me about wives and submitting to your husband biblically. She expressed concern because she believed it was her duty to do what her husband says even if it meant doing something you believed to be sinful because it was on your husband if he told you to do wrong. Your duty is to obey him. She was seemingly shocked when I objected and told her,
“No absolutely not. It doesn’t excuse you from doing wrong.” She told me her “friend” was forced to do sexually repulsive acts and participate in viewing pornographic material with her husband because he told her too and it was her duty to obey. She didn’t really feel that it was right to do those things but that the wife couldn’t be guilty of doing something wrong if she was just submitting to her husband.
I heard many a time as a young man before I got married the instructions from my dad repeated by my mom to pick a young one so you can train them right. It was disgusting and laughed off, “Oh that’s Kerry making a joke.” My parents met when my dad was a high school senior and my mom was 14. The story I was always told was that my mother ran away from home to be with my dad and they got married when she was 17.
My dad did not involve my mother in financial matters and my mom was always—always terrified of their financial state. In the last few years it became clear to me that my dad kept her from knowing financial affairs because he had to be in control. Despite my best efforts, that behavior followed me into my marriage and was a major contributor to the deterioration of my marriage. I know that I thought I was protecting my wife…she can’t panic about what she doesn’t know; after all that was what my dad did.
In the past few weeks before mother disappeared she was panicking about the steers, and their finances. She told her grandchildren that the grain to feed those steers had cost so much money that the kids probably wouldn’t make a dime after they paid their grandpa back. Of course this was nonsense; more of my dad keeping her in the dark. It wasn’t a joke…my dad refused to tell my mom what was in the bank. As he would put it, “She can’t handle that.”
There was good.
I can’t remember a time where my parents didn’t start their day taking a bath together and doing their daily devotional together in the bath tub. The arguments and disagreements weren’t ugly because my mother complied. My wife did not. In retrospect, she shouldn’t have. I don’t regret that my wife wasn’t submissive, but that I had been taught she was expected to be. My mother may have been trained, she may have been brow beaten and conditioned into compliance, but my mother was absolutely devoted to my dad. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t abuse.
I have always known in my heart that the way my dad dominated my mother was wrong. But I allowed myself to believe it was just the way their relationship was. She chose to be with him. She believed she was doing the right thing. Of the many wrongs my mother experienced—not recognizing the signs of abuse and not helping her is one of my biggest regrets.
Even now, looking back…conversations, parenting decisions, jokes such as, “we don’t believe in divorce, murder yes—divorce no,” they all take a new light. I am reconsidering my childhood all over. Still, none of this makes my dad guilty of murder. None of it answers where is my mom, did dad do something too her? It is truth and it pulls back an ugly curtain and shines the light on every dark blotch of my parent’s lives. I don’t want my mother to be thought of as an abused, depressed wife driven to suicide.
Doesn’t every child want to see their parents as perfect? What do you do when one disappears and the other one is the only suspect?
I have said this before and it’s the plain truth, when the police asked me what I would think if my dad hurt my mom, “anyone is capable of anything.” I don’t have evidence. If they do then use it to file charges. Where is my mom? I haven’t a clue today anymore than I did 2 years, 14 days and 18 hours ago. My attitude hasn’t changed. My dad has destroyed his own reputation and I am sick to my stomach, but get it right folks; he did this too himself. He has had every opportunity to come clean, to let the truth be told, and he has always chose to keep the public in the dark…hide the real you…don’t air that dirty laundry.
He has managed his public image and your impression of him for 30 years. He isn’t going to change today. Maybe that’s the real mistake my brother and I have made, thinking that finding our mother is more important than what you think about my dad. If you can’t tell, Find Lynn Messer has nothing to do with finding her, just managing your impression of the grieving husband. Ignore the replacement for her that he’s had for the past 100 weeks, of 106, since she disappeared.”