The chair. It still sits in the corner of my bedroom. I came home from church that day and had changed my clothes to go for a walk. I sat in it, enjoying the afternoon sun coming through the window next to it, when he walked in the room and standing at the foot of my bed, pointed the gun, professed his love for me, and started shooting.
The chair was my father’s favorite. I have memories of him sitting in it, in front of the fire on a Saturday, reading, listening to Saturday at the Met. The chair was surely tired and worn before I got it. My cats have used it as their scratching post, but I always feel my dad in it.
I refuse to have my husband take yet another thing from me. Although I was always happy to just give without any expectations, it was never enough for him. He wanted the very breath I took – figuratively and literally. It was a constant battle to maintain some sense of autonomy.
At the end of the day every effort, chair included, is cosmetic. There is no magic eraser. I’ve had the house painted, inside and out. Redecorated. Asked for an exorcism, had the house blessed. I’ve had surgery to repair the abdominal damage and improve the scars which continue to be problematic, a continuing reminder. Removing the chair is an outward effort that will never erase what happened. The enormity of what remains can not be tidied up, covered up, or sent away.
So I keep the chair to remind me. The chair is my victory. I am undeniably alive! I survived it-not just survived–my life is good-not at all miserable as he insisted it would be without him. Keeping the chair reminds me I am triumphant. I have managed to be happy with, to reveal even, who I am despite his best efforts.
“O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed: let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.” Psalm25:2-3
To Susan and all my private readers and commenters – ‘accepted and worthy..this is who we are now’: http://www.godcares.tv/video/708/Jason-Gray–I-Am-New
Lisette, you are one strong lady and I salute you!
Lizette – No chair for me, no outward bruises or scars. I didn’t have to repaint or use soap to wash away the ruin. When my family got me out, I left the “stuff” that would link my life to that man. Left my dishes and computer, the TV and stero, the furniture where he sat and ate, and most of the plants in the yard. I left my piano – it was too big to move in a hurry. I took the bed, the pictures, the papers and books and gardening tools that were part of my life before he entered. I ran out with my child, the bulbs from my Mammy, and what was left of my self-esteem.
There is no magic eraser, but there is life beyond the destruction. There is breath where there had been a vaccum. There is light where grey and black had dominated.
Indeed, I am not miserable as he predicted. There are friends and family where he said there were none. I am loved even though he said I was unlovable. He told me there was no God but God is steadfast and through him, so am I.
We survive through God’s grace, you and I and all the other women and children who have lived through abusive men.
Yes, Susan my dear friend, you ARE loved!
And, so are you, my girl.
Could these things that remind you, that doggedly enter into each memory of your relationship also act as a source for healing? Twenty years surely is a long time, couldn’t the next twenty focusing on the good, the positive; the beautiful children you have gently ease the pain? Perhaps I don’t fully grasp it or maybe I do.
I love to read the commonalities with surviving these horrific chapters. We ARE able to have a life, WITH happiness, and yes with LOVE. The journey is never easy – it took a w hile to get as bad as it got; it surely doesn’t magically vanish overnight.
The pain was too deep, for too long. The forgiving, the overlooking, the hurt and the protection – of the wrong party.
The more we network the stronger we become, realizing that we DID make it out okay, are capable of giving and receiving love and can be successful and happy without that partner that dragged us down.
Kudos, strength and love to you my friends.