He gave me a locket my first mother’s day, which came just two weeks after our first child, our daughter was born.
Although it is not easy to write about living in an abusive relationship, it is far easier to look at a man who shot me, and could have just as easily shot his children, and be filled with anger at the senselessness of it. Easier to focus on how the years unfolded and how the cycle of abuse became a spiral that narrowed to the point of strangling us as time went on. To realize that a choice had to be made or I would not have survived. I had to choose me over him.
Generally I feel like I’m doing well to move past it, to rebuild my life, begin new relationships, create something useful out of tragedy. I walk in my back yard and no longer recount struggling to run across it to my neighbor’s house that day. I sleep through the night in the room where it happened and nightmares are infrequent now. I touch the scars and tears aren’t automatic. I have adjusted with some degree of detachment on Sundays when I come home from church as I did that day. My heart doesn’t pound like it used to when I hear a siren, though I admit if there are more than one I panic. The sound draws me back to that day and I remember hearing endless sirens that seemed to go on forever.
There are times still, though, that I am thrown back in as though it were yesterday. Especially challenging are things that remind me, as strange as this sounds, that it happened to me. It is easier to write and concentrate on all the things that make him despicable. Though separating, I still lost the man with whom I stood before God and vowed to love, honor and cherish. I look at pictures of us the summer before, and see that he had already lost me. I had already separated. Isolated him, trying to insulate us.
He made a choice he could not undo and then he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. To imagine my husband’s tortured soul that led him to shoot me, and then himself, is brutal. To imagine him in his final moments with the knowledge of what he’d just done to us; me, him, the children, I would be inhuman not to mourn the wounded soul of the person who did it.
The man who thoughtfully picked a gift I would keep forever. Who handed me a wrapped box and beamed, seeing my happiness when I opened it on my first Mother’s day. It is that loss that I mourn, no matter what has happened, no matter how angry I get, no matter how senseless. It is that sadness. Words are useless, impossible to describe that sadness.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.