Monday, October 3, 2011

The Importance of October (For Mom)

The month of October is a special one for me and my family. Its not my birthday or a special family holiday. Its not an anniversary or anything like that.... October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is so common.... SO COMMON in fact that one in four women will experience it at some point in their lives. One in four- 25%!! Thats outrageous!! And that doesnt include men. (In 2005 there were 78,180 reported cases of men who were abused by their partners- heterosexual and homosexual)

The reason why this month is so important to my family is because my mother (That beautiful woman you see above) lost her life to domestic violence.

Im not going to put every detail here, that would take forever. But its extremely important for me to point out a few things here. At the risk of sounding preachy, I strongly urge you to read and take something from this. Thats all I ask....

I never saw my mom get hit. Most people associate domestic violence with black eyes and bruises.... which is accurate. But you rarely hear about the verbal or emotional abuse. For years my mother endured hurtful words and constant threats. My father was a controlling and intimidating person. He stood 6'5" and had to have weighed a good 300 at least. Everyone, especially kids, were scared of him.

One of the worst memories I have as a kid was the day he took a hammer to every tv in the house and used a knife to slice open my moms waterbed.I must have been 6 or 7. And then there was the time my mom and him were fighting so bad that my brother, sister and I locked ourselves in the bedroom with our backs against the door scared to move. We ended up calling my Gram. That wasnt a good day.

For years my Mother was told she wasnt allowed to work, so she stayed home and we survived on welfare because he didnt work either. Finally, fed up, she got a job doing what she loved- helping people. Because she was away from work doing her job more than 40 hours a week my father grew jealous and became more and more controlling. She had finally had enough and left after a final straw fight. That night in May of 1996 (I was 12) we spent the night sleeping in the car. My mom parked in the parking lot of the hospital because she knew we would be safe there.

We stayed with family members for the next few weeks, but he would always find us. He would stalk my mom and drive by wherever she was.It was all about control. And when she left him he always said "If I cant have you, no one can."

My mom had gotten a Protection From Abuse (PFA) almost immediately and whenever he would violate it she would call the police. They didnt even show up every time. They urged her to go to the local womens shelter, which we did. We stayed there for 3 weeks. It  was uncomfortable and scary. He still found a way to terrorize my mom, once he put sugar in her gas tank of her car.

My brother, sister and I would visit with him every Sunday because we were afraid of what he would do if we didnt. One time we were there and he showed us 3 guns that he kept behind a pillow on his daybed. He said he wasnt afraid to use them on my mom. For the first time in my life I spoke up to him "If someone hurts my mom I WILL hurt them" I told him. Ill never forget him giving me an icy look and replying "Then Ill have to hurt you, too." Who says that to their child?

A few weeks later my life changed forever.

June 23, 1996. I spent the night at my cousins house, telling my mom before I left the night before "Bye Mom, I love you. See you Sunday". My sister decided she didnt want to go see him that day and the car wasnt running. My mom started walking with my brother to have him spend the day with my father. She saw his car and he picked up my little brother. My brother was dropped off at the house and nobody knows what happened next.

My cousin and I were taken to my uncles friends house that day to swim. Little did I knew that as I was swimming having fun my mom was being ripped away forever.

The story that was told is after picking her up my father took my mother to the railroad tracks in town. They had some sort of a scuffle and she used her pepper spray on him. He pulled out a gun and shot her twice before one more shot, execution style.

I like to think she passed away quickly and didnt suffer, but I dont know. As my uncle told me the news I couldnt even cry. I was completely numb. 15 years later and Im STILL numb. My best friend, my mom was gone.Every little girl needs her mom, and mine was gone.

In the years since my father was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole before dying in 1999. His cause of death was related to diabetes and he was considered "geriatric". It didnt seem fair.

Like I said, I dont recall her ever getting hit. I do remember her being told she was worthless and stupid. That she would never make it without him. And its easy for me to get angry and wonder why she didnt pick up and leave.... why she didnt make a new life for us. But its not my place to judge her for that. She did what she thought was best for us, her children.

I like to think I turned out ok after all that, but I have a lot of stuff to deal with. I still have nightmares. I get sick to my stomach when I see railroad tracks and I have paranoia that Ill be murdered or attacked. A LOT of my childhood memories are gone. And the worst part is I forget things about my mom. Like, I forget her voice sometimes. I forget what it felt like when she hugged me. I forget things she would say. I forget how she smelled..... The one thing that sticks in my mind is her laugh. Thats unforgettable. :)

Sharing this story is painful, but its important. I cant let my moms story be forgotten and I cant sit back while so many people suffer. I know for a fact that there is someone reading this that is being abused. Whether its physical, verbal or emotional..... I know it and you know it. Im standing here BEGGING YOU to look at your situation and evaluate it. Are you being abused? What is stopping you from getting help?

The Domestic Violence Helpline is an amazing source for info and help. Ive called this hotline myself for advice and theyre great. You can visit their website here. (***Please only click the link if you are using a computer or phone that a possible abuser doesnt have access to, as they may be able to see you were looking for help.***)

The hotline is 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-SAFE)

If you or someone you know is being abuse please consider your options. My moms story is sadly not uncommon. It CAN happen to you.

Dolores J. Wilson
March 22, 1954 - June 23, 1996 


CheriBerriBlu said...

That was an amazing blog entry. Very heartfelt and sincere.

I often look back at that weekend and wish I hadn't asked for you to stay over, just so you could have had a few more hours with your mom.

It's easy to tell victims of domestic violence to get help, but it's really hard for many of them to take that step. For instance, within the first year of being with my ex (in 2003) the verbal and emotional abuse started. I was already very fragile and taking antidepressants, and he knew exactly how to tear me down to nothing. Then when I was three months pregnant he beat me with a shoe and tried to suffocate me with a pillow. Another time he strangled me with his hands until I nearly passed out. However, I didn't get help and I didn't leave until my son was nearly 2 years old. That was 2009. I can't tell you how much happier I am now and how much more alive I feel.
I know your mom's story has touched many people's hearts and changed some lives. And I know this blog entry will change someone's life also.

You are the strongest person I know and I love you.

Anonymous said...

Your mom would be sooooo proud of the way you turned out. You are a credit to her memory and the things she taught you. You'll always have her with you, through your own actions, memories and our little girl. Keep pushing this, there are too many that are afraid. (((HUGS)))

Anonymous said...

that was supposed to be your LOL not our*

Kristine Smith said...

Thank you for sharing your mom's story. As I read through it, tears formed in my eyes. Tears for your mom and tears for you. I can not imagine the pain and suffering you, your siblings and family have gone through since that tragic day. I thank you for sharing your story and trying to help others. Stay Strong !!!

Tabitha said...

Thank you all so much. There isnt a day goes by that I dont think of my Mom. Its not fair that she isnt here and its no easier now than it was 16 years ago. Your kind words and support mean more to me than youll know. I can only hope her story makes someone think twice and realize they deserve so much more.

Tony Carpenter said...


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