Part I – A special story of perseverance, strength and impervious character, as told by our friend, Rachel.
St. Patrick’s day. 5 years ago, today. The last time I ever let him put his hands on me. That day, I called the police. From the ground in the driveway, I saw my babies, watching and crying from the car, and thought “whose life is this.”
In a moment of epiphany, I realized that one of two things would happen: either he would eventually kill me, or my children would grow up in dysfunction…destined to be dysfunctional themselves. “No.”
That day my bruises were on my face and neck, black and unable to conceal. I still bear small scars on my hands and legs, reminders of the battles I’ve been through.
Reminders that I’m a survivor, not a victim.
He reiterated to me, as he had for years before, that I could never do it without him. That I wouldn’t survive on my own with the children, that I was nothing.
The fear that he was right kept me in an abusive situation for far too long. That day I heard it differently, though. That day I heard it as a challenge, not a threat.
And for that, I thank him.
Things snapped into place for me that day, and instead of feeling fear I felt resolve. It became my mission to prove him wrong, and failure was not an option.
I had to succeed, my children were relying on me. He was arrested that day, but not before he emptied our bank accounts, leaving us with nothing. That was my last day as a stay at home mom.
The next day pride was replaced by survival as I sat in the welfare office. That was also my last day as the person I had been before. I changed. I’ve called it “tunnel vision” that struck me, the intense focus on the goal of safety and security for my children and me – so intense that I’ve literally let nothing get in my way. That tunnel vision continues to pave my path.
I divorced him.
He has been absent for years, and I have painstakingly built a new life for us. The human spirit is so resilient!
St. Patrick’s day 5 years ago I hit the bottom. I was reborn that day. This doesn’t have to be my secret, I’m proud of who I have become and I’m o.k. to talk about it.
Happy 5th birthday to me.