(This was Jamar’s favorite song we listened to on our last day together.)
Around my 40th birthday, my best friend and I came up with two words to help us focus on our own lives positively at one of the lowest points in my life so far. Our friendship had to be in secret (sound familiar) until I could find a way out after 13 years of the same type of abusive regression and heartache you experienced. The only difference was how we chose to deal with our children stuck in that situation. I met Marie after losing everything. I lost my home, moved to Tennessee with little money I had supporting 3 people thinking I could start over while living with a madman. You had my oldest Lee after my strong plea to the courts of Cocke County, Tennessee to leave Lee in the care needed until I could get back safely after my family had me thrown out of my hometown. Left with a 6-year-old and a madman in Georgia, a place I’d never intended on giving me a chance to make a living while only being within driving distance from Lee.
Saving my youngest would prove even harder, Jamar was determined to steal anything not nailed down and cause havoc doing it. I began to see the abuse wasn’t going to stop getting drastically worse on all levels another conscience decision had to be made again. After praying for answers in the little solitude I had to think at a time where we both were being threatened daily to be buried where no one would find us or care. I started the next day making up to my child for the horror he was going through the best way I knew, like you. Thank you for that. With the little we had, we went into his favorite store to get him something. His issues coming his way weren’t important, Love was because this was the last day I’d see my sweet baby son. After dropping off Eric at his job, I packed Jamar in the back of the car with his dog black for a deliberate great morning. I turned on the music for him and the day began with that beautiful smile before singing as loud as possible erasing the days and years of the past for a moment. After the park and a stop in CVS, he was still young enough for me to hold his hand. I still feel it all these years later because I felt helpless, but his little hand brought me peace. It told me that no matter what happens everyone needs love and he deserved better.
Tears came to my eyes as I turned into the police station. Lee being safe was a relief but this would solve many things for both of us. Taking his beautiful hand again, I walked into the station to report two things: The abuse because there was no denying it anymore, we both were broken and bruised. And a break-in at my neighbor’s house earlier this morning by Jamar. The police looked confused when I started telling them my story and for some reason, I guess out of shock they let me go home without assisting me in any fashion. Having failed I prepared for another night of whatever mood decided to walk through the door when there was a knock at the door. 3 Police cars were in front of my house, I let them in to see what we were living like. No more hiding. They arrested me, took Jamar for his safety and went to pick up Eric. Very drastic yes but regardless of what you may think, we are both alive today and safely living our lives as we both choose. I may have had to spend 1 year in jail and wait 5 years for probation to end in Georgia but God had a plan.
They asked me all about why I was in Georgia from Philadelphia, where Lee was, where you were, the reason we were hurt and my responsibility for it all. Passing blame didn’t matter along with if they believed me because Jamar has a better chance without me until I can get out from under this situation. Subjecting him to another second of unhappiness is not fair, I understood that because I went through that feeling as a child. One thing I promised myself for my sons that our home would be a sanctuary from all drama, negativity, hurtful and ugliness that wait for us outside our door every day. If I could help it, they were taken care of better than previous generations, you are the reason for that. There were no more reasons to depend on someone but with all things, there is personal accountability.
I spent one year in custody and it was as if my body knew it needed rest because I slept 90% of that year. The following 5 years were under complete supervision from many sources that helped me stay alive. Because Eric’s threats through the mail for sending us to jail and ruining his life had to be handled next. I had to maintain a mailing address, have an income to pay my legal fees, take classes while reporting to the VA and my probation officer. Risking violating for any reason was out the question. Even if my boys would never set eyes on me again, my example of being honorable even in the face of adversity from all that life can throw at you, matters. These years would be done without a complaint, word or truthfully any assurance in my entire lack of a plan survival idea. That is when I met Marie, she never knew anything other than my work, writing on lunch breaks, our coffee breaks and that my soul needed her friendship. That just shows that angels are sent to watch over you when and how it is necessary. I was still behind bars, though the guards and building were far away, so now it was time for me to start dealing with saving myself, safely. This only threw me back into how to survive based on harsh situations when I was young. Work became my escape and fortunately a pleasant place to see some form of normalcy. It was a fine line to play neutral when you most days the only meal was Oodles of Noodles that were counted out until the end of the week. Sleeping in extended stays until I could afford a decent apartment close enough to work where God forbid anything happened to the car I bought when we got out. That big gaudy, window won’t go down Cadillac was my bed for several nights if my paycheck was a day short. That is a grind many won’t understand but I do and it isn’t safe, fun or wanted for most of the people that work full time stuck between the hotel or their car in the safest parking lots. These are your hardest workers because at least at work there may be a chance at a free conversation, safety, food, holiday gifts; it all helps. The unhealthy part is living all the time looking for a way out but not present had to change.
To be continued…
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