I woke up this morning to see a friend’s grief filled post on Facebook. She lost a friend to domestic violence yesterday. I read just enough of the news article to know that she was shot. I couldn’t read any further.
It hits way too close to home. I remember our own horrid story and the even more horrible pictures, and the 911 call blasted all over the news not about strangers, but people that I had known intimately.
In a few short weeks, an anniversary will be upon my boys and their extended family. It’s not a day that any of them want to remember. I can only share it from my own point of view, not from that of any other people in this nightmare straight from hell. I can only imagine the pain that Joseph’s (Chase and Hunter’s dad) siblings, nieces, nephews and others still reel from 7 years later.
One February Sunday evening, I put my boys to bed after they returned from a weekend spent with grandparents. On that Monday morning, my phone rang. I couldn’t believe what the caller was saying. I kept asking the caller to repeat themselves. I remember going outside and literally throwing up and screaming my head off. It couldn’t be right. The caller had to by lying.
My father in law murdered his wife. He murdered my childhood friend’s mama. He murdered my little boys MawMaw Deb. It was cold and callous. The knowledge that Chase and Hunter had only been in his care hours earlier sent me to my knees. They lost both grandparents that day…. one to a life sentence in maximum security prison and the other to a grave.
They were married for over 25 years.
Though I thought my father in law acted like a horse’s ass on more occasions than I can count, I never thought he was capable of murder. I think many of us thought of it as being all bark and no bite. I mean, he’d been that way for more than 2 dozen years, right?
Not one of us knows the extent of what goes on behind another’s closed doors. I do know from things Chase told me happened that weekend prior, that she may have been planning to leave him. I do know that MawMaw Deb loved her children and grandchildren more than anything in this world. I can only imagine the secrets she kept to herself in thinking she was protecting her family.
If you know me, you know that I am very vocal about my feelings on marriage. I believe it is til’ death do you part. For better or for worse. For sickness and in health. You don’t bail when times get tough or it quits feeling good. I do believe there are deal breakers – domestic violence being one.
Love doesn’t come with a bullet. Or a fist. Or abuse, physically or mental.
Just last year, I failed a friend. She reached out to me about her marriage. She didn’t give me many details… and quite frankly, I didn’t want to hear them. I encouraged her to stay and pray. Stay and pray. Give it to God. Go to church. Talk to your preacher. Get marriage counseling. “Change yourself” I remember telling her once.
She texted me one day and told me that she was in hiding, several hours away from her home. I failed my friend. I finally “heard” what she wasn’t saying. My friend was in an abusive relationship.
My friend is still in hiding. I can’t share more or risk jeopardizing her safety. She texted me just last night, and I can tell that she’s absolutely putting her fragmented pieces back together and learning who she really is. She knows that she’s got a strength that she never knew she had. She’s probably sleeping for the first time in a very long time.
Some lady, some where needs to read this. Get out. Don’t stay. And knock un-listening knuckleheads like me upside the head until we hear what you are saying or are not saying!! You’re worth it! Don’t be another statistic.
In loving memory of Deborah Faile Hilton.