Every once in a while the numbers game takes a toll on me. I guess because of my last post (Silver Anniversary), that daunting number – 25 years – has been lingering in my head. When thinking back over all that time, bits and pieces of memories make their way to the front of my mind. And sometimes, I can clearly remember moments when I thought I’d never make it this far.
I’m not really sure how long after I made the decision to stay did I think about my own mortality. I don’t think it was an immediate thought, in respect to when the abuse started, because in the very early stages, as I’ve said before, there was always a logical reason. So I don’t think I feared for my life at the very beginning. It may very well have been the first time he clenched a knife in his fist holding it up in the air above me, ready to plunge it wherever he needed to for me to learn my lesson. If not then – maybe it was when he pulled a gun on me for the first time. Supposedly, unloaded but how many times have “unloaded” guns killed someone?
There were times over the first five years, before having my second child that I thought who am I kidding…I’m never going to see this kid make 18. It was something I would think about, panic about, grieve about and then push down deep inside and move on. With my second pregnancy I was so depressed. I really couldn’t believe I was going to be stuck for 5 years extra. This may have been the time frame in which I became determined to survive. At all cost, I needed to make it out of this hell.
Of course, there were many, many times when I lay there crying after an incident and prayed for God to take me. Please, please…just let me die. I would go through phases of just giving up. Who cares? People die everyday. Their kids and families are left behind along with everything they worried about while they were alive and you know what…life goes one. People mourn them and then get back to life. There were times I didn’t care if that turned out to be my story. But there was something else going on. Nothing that I really noticed until I was far past those dark days.
I’m not really sure how to explain it. In a simple term…I survived. I just kept going. I sucked it up…took each day as it came and kept going. I’m not sure how and I’m not sure why. It just happened. And each year that passed was tallied quietly in my mind. I’d think, oh my God, I’m doing it. I’m gonna see these kids to 18 and then get the hell out. On my own, on their own, on his own. Done. Then…bam. Kid #3. Geez, I could not catch a break. Although, strangely enough, with no birth control my kids are all 5 years apart. So bizarre. I always wanted to have kids close in age so they’d be close with each other but this way seemed to work out for me well because as one started school full time, I was home with the baby while he was at work. So there was silence and bonding. Maybe that was all part of the bigger picture.
Moving forward…over the years my emotions would ping pong back and forth with deciding on jail, praying for death (his or mine), or being plagued with the fear of actually never making it out. However, now that I have made it all the way to the end – even more so after coming to terms with and purging my secret life of abuse – I sometimes still wonder why…I’m not dead. It actually amazes me…makes me wonder why. What is so special about me? Was I supposed to tell this story? Are my kids going to play some important role in the future? I can’t even grasp on to what it could be. I’m just amazed that – even though I burdened myself with this timeline – that I have come within reach of it. It’s not to say I don’t have my days when I still want to just give up but as a friend of mine said to me…”You’re 3 feet from gold…don’t stop now.”
So, I continue to forge ahead.
To read from the beginning… my story starts here.