It was 4:30 am and the phone rang. Dear Daughter said “Mom, I’m chickening out. I just don’t think I can do it.” “Do it, I said, do it or you will be making the biggest mistake of your life, I guarantee it. Promise me you’re going to do it. Promise me that you will leave this morning after he leaves for work. PROMISE ME! I am not hanging up this phone until you do.”
Parents are those, who in the course of their child’s life, cheer them on when they’re scared but jump into the deep end of the pool; sit white knuckled as they ride in the passenger seat next to their newly licensed driver, and miss the sound of their voice in the house when they leave home. Parents are also the ones that go breathless when the phone rings and Dear Daughter says “Mom! He’s really gone crazy this time, he’s got the gun and is screaming that he’s going to end it all, right here, right now!”
An exceptionally lovely young woman fell in love with a handsome young man whose past history of rage and violent behavior did not become known before the commitment had been made and a baby was on the way. Violent incidents had become a way of life for her- episodes of rage of every sort- broken glass on the bed, insults, being hosed with cold water while holding her new camera, pouring beer on her head, and threats of every sort in their vehicle. It was a very short honeymoon that quickly erupted into something else, something worse. She hoped he would change. He did not.
At one point, she called home in complete hysteria, calling from her closet. It was 11:30 pm and a break in was in the process of happening. She was alone, the house was secluded and she had already called 911 and they weren’t there yet. She screamed that she could hear someone trying to kick the door in. She screamed that they were trying to kick in the sliding glass door. She screamed that they had thrown something through it and were in the house. Then the phone went dead.
Odd that when her husband was called at work later by the deputies, that it had taken him over twenty minutes to get home- a five minute drive. Odd that he wasn’t upset that his wife and baby daughter could have been killed if she hadn’t scared them off by screaming and barking like a wild dog. We remain convinced he had arranged to have her killed. The baby still talks about the “bad man” and she doesn’t like closets.
Five days on a Greyhound bus later she arrived in Seattle, with a tired two year old in her arms, a backpack, three worn out suitcases, a cardboard box wrapped with duct tape and a Hefty bag filled with blankets and toys. Exhausted, dying for a shower and sick of gas station food. She fell into my arms and we cried. That beautiful blonde and her baby girl were easily the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. God bless you, honey. Welcome home.
Epilogue: Dear Daughter returned to college, graduated and is a Registered Nurse. Granddaughter is happy and healthy. Don’t live in fear. There is help available for those suffering from the pain and humiliation of domestic violence. Men, women and children can all be victims. Don’t be silent- tell someone- anyone. Get help to live a better life- one without fear. It’s not easy but I know you can do it.
Former violent husband committed suicide 12/30/12. Gunshots to the head.