Archive for November, 2015

20 Nov 2015

Closing Chapters

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As we embark on the holiday season, it becomes a time of reflecting on all that has happened over the course of the past year.

2015 has been a year of closing chapters and making peace with the past.

Yesterday, I discovered that one of the law suits related to my husband’s death was dismissed due to a legal technicality.  And in some funny way I was at peace with this being put to rest.  I’m tired of the ugliness and the fighting that goes with seeking justice in the legal system.  Perhaps I was naive and altruistic in thinking this would pan out in a favorable way; that those whose motto states  “to serve and protect” but repeatedly turned a blind eye to us, would be held accountable for ignoring repeated pleas for help.

The facts of the story speak for themselves and what happened to our family was nothing short of a travesty.  Going forward it’s time to shift focus, to stop laying blame and to move forward.

We as a family, have had a tremendous amount of support throughout the difficult chapters of the last several years.  I am so thankful.

We are blessed; we are fortunate and we are loved.

18 Nov 2015

Owning the Past . . .

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For the past several weeks, my 14 year old son has been preparing for the upcoming football season as he will be a freshman in high school.  On Monday, he is to have the hope of a new school, new friends and another fresh start.

Today, I received a rather random text from him inquiring about whether or not he could apply to attend a rather expensive private parochial school 20 miles away from our home.  Since I was smack dab in the middle of handling a minor crisis at work today, I told him to table this conversation until I got home tonight and we’d discuss over dinner.

I literally couldn’t fathom the inspiration for such a request.  And, why now?

Yesterday, a kid on his team came up to him and asked what happened to his father.   This really upset him.  When we first moved here he shared our family story with everyone.  Fast forward to two years later and he is now afraid that everyone in his new school will know his history and he doesn’t want to share anymore.

His fear is that people will feel sorry for him; that they will be uncomfortable around him; that they will think his family is bizarre and freakish.  Yes, there is another level of stigma that comes when one exposes the dark side of a tragic family history.

To counter this and cope, he would rather make up a story about his father leaving him when he was a small child then own the truth of what actually happened.

There is an undeniable an unique pain that comes when a horror such as ours is part of you history.

I understand this because I did the same thing.

In the first year after Gabe died, I tried not to think about the events of what actually happened.  I tried to tell myself that people lose their spouse each and everyday – that this was no different than losing someone to a car accident or to a terminal disease such as cancer.  The denial of the violent, and selfish act that Gabe committed was the only way for me to survive and cope during that time.

Gradually, I had to allow myself to process the course of events that actually took place.

  • That I had shared a bed with a man with who fantasized about murdering me;
  • That the man I married left me for dead, killed himself with children nearby knowing that they would ultimately stumble upon our bodies;
  • That the man who prided himself on being the great provider, ultimately left us with nothing.

I could go on with a litany of other revelations that came to me but I think you get the point.

And when we first moved to Texas, I vomited my story to everyone I came across.  I couldn’t help it.  It was my therapy and if I shared it first, I owned it and nobody could have anything over me if they later found out.

I wasn’t very selective regarding my audience and many times people looked at me crossed-eye and probably thought that I was the crazy one.

It was a process for me to come to terms with the fact, that I didn’t owe anybody knowledge of my personal past.  Now if I share my story, it is on my terms and because I have a relationship with someone who genuinely cares about me.  Not because I am preemptively getting the word out before someone can find out and then talk about me behind my back.

Nevertheless, our past is our past.  We can’t run from it and we have to try to frame it in a context that makes it useful or . . . productive.

For me, I’ve decided that Gabe’s actions will NOT defeat me, that I will prove to my children that I can provide for them and take care of their needs.  This is how I’ve molded things in a way that makes sense for me and motivates me to go forward and have a future.  I just wish it was easy to instill that lesson on a 14 year old.

 

Originally written on August 19, 2015