Days go by now, and with the help of EMDR therapy it all is starting to seem like a distant memory, another life in another lifetime, unbelievable though real. Still certain movements, memories, pictures bring me back into that life, that day.
I was shocked to see me in a picture taken just five years ago. You can see on my face the toll it had taken on me. My desperation is evident. This picture was taken at my son’s early birthday celebration at our house. Looking at it I can still feel the sense of foreboding I felt in the stillness of that brilliantly moonlit fall night.
After his friends had been picked up and everyone was in bed asleep, with a macabre sixth sense presenting as melancholy, I contemplated my life was about to change and would never be the same again. As I wrote this I was feeling unsettled and completely isolated so I reached out and shared it on Facebook that night before he shot me.
Surely this must be a dream from which I will awake and feel the warm reassuring breath of the man I love next to me. I will watch as the moonlight illuminates his chest moving quietly up and down, and reflect on the sweetness of his kiss, the heat of his skin on my fingertips. Solid, unwavering, steadfast.
Surely this dream cannot be the life I have known, have accepted, have lived years suspended between passion and pain, holding on to only fleeting moments as proof love exists; a life lived as someone else while emotion lay buried beneath layers of secrecy, protected from the harshness and uncertainty of a barren landscape. Surely I am not she who hides in the dream…frightened, frozen, tentative; watching, waiting. I do not want to know her pleading, resignation, hopelessness.
Surely whatever darkness I dream is far away and cannot hurt me. I will awake to hear the crickets in the cool fall air and be comforted by familiar surroundings. He will stir and draw me close, gathering me securely in his arms. We will slumber, entwined, peacefully. Surely the morning light will reveal what is true and good. October 3, 2009
My life was about to change forever, though I could not have understood then what that would end up looking like. I just knew I was leaving the house that week if he once again refused to, as he had the twelve weeks since I’d asked for separation. By this point I knew when I walked out I would probably lose everything. I knew there was a good chance he would get custody of the children. I knew I was walking away with only my faith.
Some people say I won. I lived. I live with my children. He can no longer hurt us. I am free. I have the house. My faith, uninterrupted, still sustains me. If someone wins, however, then there has been a loss. The little boy in that picture was forever lost that next day, as was his big sister; thrust into the intersection of evil and death and robbed of the carefree innocence of childhood.
No longer the woman in that picture, maybe I am victorious. But I never wanted a competition, a war. I only wanted my life back and the man in that poem to come forward. Clearly, he was not that man.