That final week he stalked me; followed me when I took the kids out as I’d tried to keep them away from the house in the evenings. He showed up where I was meeting friends, sitting across from us and just STARING. He was reading my emails, my Facebook, looking at my phone calls. He accused me of having an affair with my therapist.
He had taken the ring his mother had given me for our daughter out of my jewelry box while I slept, replacing it with his mother’s will and a note that she never left it to me. I’d worn it the twelve years since her death. He threatened over and over he was going to tell the children I was leaving them.
It was a few days before the shooting. On that day I was getting ready for a business meeting. I showered. When I opened my eyes he was right there. I knew the way he was looking at me. I knew his intentions from his cold leer. I asked him to leave. He refused. I tried to reason with him, implored him to have some dignity. Finally I was begging him to stop.
I found a place somewhere inside to keep it. I went on to dress and go to my meeting as though nothing had happened. I was determined to keep on level emotional ground. It steeled my resolve to get out however I could, as soon as I could.
Today I tell my therapist that I cry every morning in the shower. Concerned for me, he suggests we reconsider an anti-depressant.
Has he forgotten? I have not. I have been open in therapy because I want to move forward, open publicly because I am bold enough to say it where others must remain in silence for their safety. But this…this part I don’t like to talk about.
In a quiet moment I see the metaphor in the bullet that nicked my heart and a feeling that day he killed a small part of it.
Sometimes now, when I close my eyes in the shower, I am back there and feel his presence, the inescapability. I feel them as unwelcome visitors. It hits me like a wave and whatever serenity and peace I have recovered in my life are swept away in a tsunami of a brief few seconds. I cannot run fast enough to escape the force of it.
One such day, shrouded in that same feeling again…an eeriness of his presence, I wondered would I ever be free and contemplated the question some ask me … do I believe he went to heaven or hell.
If there is a heaven
I wonder…when I die
will I tremble when I see you?
Not like the beginning, when we were first together
in your winsome smile, your gaze,
the way I used to tremble anticipating your touch,
in that palpable electricity that intersected with our desire
No. I mean in the fear, the loathing of your final touch
I mean will I tremble as I cower to shield myself
run to hide from you again, be invisible,
cease to exist, to draw even a single breath,
that I might take it and you will find me here.
As I try to escape your grip…will I tremble?
After I have tasted this freedom, breathed, lived,
will the walls once more close around me, suffocate me,
hold me prisoner in a place where even death cannot provide respite then?
I tremble now at the thought of an eternity with you
Preferring to dwell in hell
than in a heaven shared with you.
If there is a heaven.
His presence is just a memory and I have nothing to fear now. What remains are simply images stored as part of the replay of the final days. I know this. I know I am safe now. I resolve I must simply stay alive.
I have to believe heaven will be a place of peace. For me this means one of two things: either my abuser won’t be there (I cannot believe he was a believer while he was abusing me, despite his positions at church), or he will be a completely different person than he was then, and therefore he won’t frighten me any longer. In fact, perhaps God in his mercy will make it so that I won’t even recognize him. Or, if I do recognize him, he will be so completely changed that God will take all my fear away. I pray the same for you. Caroline
Thank you for your reassurances. I, too, am a woman of faith. You have presented some possibilities that bring me a great deal of peace. l.