Safe Places

I am speaking publicly about the events around the shooting and the abuse leading up to it more frequently . I continue to believe that if one person hears my story and does something differently, I am doing what I was left to do.

I speak to medical residents on the importance of screening their patients, have entered the college and university arena sharing the signs that ushered me through my young adulthood to the end of the road of my marriage and recently spoke to an audience supporting a local domestic violence/sexual assault organization. It is the second time I was asked to speak at one of their events. The first was a memorial for families of those whose lives were lost at the hands of their abusers. This event was a business community awareness breakfast.

I have noticed there is a point during each when the room goes absolutely silent. I am not sure if it is me or the audience lost in what I am saying. I feel like the room has emptied, although I still see everyone in it. Am I transfixed in the moment, or are they?

For a second it is much the same as awakening after the surgery into absolute darkness. I could not hear or see anything and was quite certain I was dead. I remembered my children and came into awareness that I was indeed alive.

Again, in Europe, where I’d taken the children a year later to escape the memories of the anniversary, and to celebrate my son’s birthday which sadly falls on the heels of the shooting, I awakened into blackness, disoriented from the time zone and unfamiliar surroundings; deafened by the silence, pulled into that feeling I experienced after surgery. I push through being stuck there, in the darkness, in the silence; push through to the other side and rejoin.

There are some residual fears left from the trauma of life with him, and the ending. I’ve reached a point where I have to make a decision to not stay here. I’ve gotten comfortable where I am. It seems much easier to bail when things move towards being emotionally vulnerable with a prospective partner. It has become clear to truly be able to engage in an emotionally healthy and balanced relationship I need to once again push through to the other side, to push towards the life that is waiting for me there.

I am uncertain to what extent I will be able to move from this plateau, but ever hopeful I leave the safety and begin again to work towards a better life; turning the outcome over to God and the universe.

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