Friday, July 18, 2008

A decade ... and a million years ago, part 3

Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.

The gasp as I released my held breath surely was audible in the next county.

"Are you sure? Are you REALLY sure?"

"Yes, you're fine."

I made him repeat it. I couldn't hear it enough times.

I would like to say I did something spectacular at that point, but I really don't remember. I was still waiting for Sue to arrive for some celebrating, now that the hand-holding didn't seem to be necessary.

I know I paced my bedroom, over and over and over.

And then the phone rang again.

"Hello, Mrs. HisLastName," said the doctorish voice I had come to know (and hate). "I was calling to tell you that he-who-shall-not-be-named died a few minutes ago."

I didn't really realize until that moment that you could indeed laugh and cry at the same time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

He was buried two days later. I was not involved in the planning. He had a sister living nearby who did it all.

But I attended the funeral. I didn't go for myself. Nor did I go for any ghoulish curiosity. I went to represent my daughter, who, at 3 1/2, was too young (in my opinion) to go herself.

I had friends there. Friends and neighbors who came for ME, to make sure I was ok.

And after, they gathered at my house. I did nothing. They did it all. Platters of food, drinks, everything.

And after THAT, I was alone with my daughter, my sons and my memories.

Some of them good. Most of them traumatic in some way.

Slowly slowly slowly I pieced my life back together.

The horrors that he perpetrated on my and my children live on, however.

He stole from us.

Both literally and figuratively.

He stole actual dollars from me and from my boys, leaving me with a mortgaged house, bad credit and mounting debt.

And he stole our sense of innocence and trust.

Imagine a gay teenager at the hands of an abuser. Drama King would never be the same.

Imagine the lies perpetrated about my family members and sometimes even about my children by a man who stopped at nothing to destroy everything in my path.

Imagine the fear that I lived with for months and even years. It has been more than 14 years since my last "exposure" -- remember back in part one, I said that giving me the Roo-girl was one of two decent things he did in his life? Refusing to have sex after she was born was the only other.

He knew.

He knew for at least 3 1/2 years and never told me. He knew -- and he watched me nurse our baby, knowing that the virus is transmitted through breast milk.

He knew -- and never sought treatment.

He knew, that BASTARD.

I found proof of that later, after he was dead and I was going through the things he never quite picked up from my house when we separated.

I could understand that he could hate me so much that he would try to share his death sentence. But I could never and CAN never understand why he would put his most adored daughter at risk as a byproduct of that hate.

Fourteen years later, I continue to be HIV-negative.

Yet I continue to be tested. At every physical, I specifically request an HIV test. I know in my head that I am safe. But in a little corner of my heart, I am still afraid.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There is so much more to this story -- other horrors, other nightmares. But I have relived it enough for one week.

And I have so much more to be grateful for. Wallowing in the past seems sacrilegious when I have a loving husband at home, waiting for me with open arms.

Life is good today. I have problems, but they're little ones.

NORMAL problems.

White-picket-fence problems.

And every day, I thank God for another chance to enjoy them.

35 comments:

ChrisB said...

I can only imagine how much you suffered during this period of your life. I am going to say a very unchristian thing~ maybe it was as well he didn't get treatment and died -it might have been worse for your family,especially your daughter, if he had been around but ill. Glad life is now good for you :)

karisma said...

Oh my god! I am so glad for once that I got here late. If I had of read that day by day I would have died from suspense! You are an amazing woman Janet! My hat goes off to you! First for standing up to him and then for surviving all that! Wow!

Hugs xxxx

The Laundress said...

I can never really understand what you went through but I do see how strong and loving you are and how you didn't deserve any of that crap back then...ever.

hugs to you. You are one brave and amazing woman.

LceeL said...

I just thank God that you found yourself a good one - because, as you now know, we aren't ALL like that. Men, that is. Abusive, that is. I've never understood how that happens, how a man could allow himself to become such a person, even IF he was raised in an abusive environment. There is such awareness now, there are so many avenues for help - there just is no excuse and as a man, I am SORRY that ANY woman or child is abused by a man - or someone that SHOULD be a man.

nikki said...

I agree with Chris. As terrible as it sounds, at least he is physically out of your lives now. Unfortunately the emotional ones will never truly disappear. You are a brave, brave woman.

Momo Fali said...

Wow. Just wow. I'm so sorry for everything you endured, and continue to endure through memories. I'm glad to hear things are better though. You deserve normal.

Melissa said...

Again, I'm just totally amazed and at a loss for words.

But I'm glad you only have little problems today. :)

Janet said...

I'm with chrisb. Sometimes death is a blessing. I can't imagine what you've lived through. But you have a beautiful family. Here's hoping that someday you can proclaim yourself "fine." Because you are one of the finest women I've ever had the privilege to meet.

Pamela said...

this really gives me insight into why you give so much grace --
you love your children unconditionally and with such passion --

I can see how you took a life defeating moment -- and claimed victory.

God bless you and yours!

maggies mind said...

Wow, Janet. Just wow. I'm kind of speechless here other than to say that I am so relieved for you. So. Very. Relieved. I love that you have the courage to share this.

Miss Anne Derstood said...

AWWW my Janet. I love you. I'm glad the sum'bitch is dead. Does that make me a bad person? Then so be it....

lattemommy said...

Janet, you are a living testament to the concept of "that which doesn't kill us only makes us stronger". I'm glad that your problems today are "white picket fence" problems - you deserve the roses growing along that fence.

Junebug said...

I am going to agree with Pamela's comments. Every word!

Tink said...

WOW. I seriously speed-read through those three posts to find out what happened. I am SO glad you and Roo were/are OK and that the bastard is gone, never to hurt anyone else again. ((HUG))

Catwoman said...

You are truly a survivor.

McMama said...

That is one hell of a story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And like the others, I'm glad you don't have to be constantly in the midst of it, and looking over your shoulder for him. I'm glad you have gotten the life you deserve!

Sandy C. said...

I finally caught up with part 2 and 3.

I am at a loss for words. You are truly amazing. I cannot even fathom the life you endured all those years. You and your children are so fortunate to have one another. So glad you found yourself a good one.

Marmarbug said...

Wow. Just wow. What a saga of your life. Thank god you were spared. I am sure that becasue of your past that you are strong enough to handle more than most. Your kids are lucky to have you.

Janet said...

I'm just glad you're ok!!!

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

I'm with Karisma. If I hadn't read 2 & 3 together, I would have jumped a planet to Hella to find you and get the story. And, you know how I feel about planes. If that bastard wasn't dead? I think I'd kill him. I hope he lives in torment now for his transgressions.

Rachael said...

I generally wouldn't wish that illness or death on someone, but in this case... I'm not too sad that he was out of your life forever. You are an amazing woman, and we are all glad you're here with someone great now!

Melody said...

Whoa - this story makes my past abuses look like a walk in the park...

So glad that you and the Roo girl are ok...

Amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Burfica said...

and I thank god for you Janet. What a brave, loving, funny, dedicated, wonderful woman you are, and I'm very blessed to have found you and maybe just know a tiny bit of that.

Thank you for being you Janet.

Stacie said...

I was hooked the first time I read your blog, and have been reading for several weeks. These posts compelled me to comment because I just had to say that I am in total awe. Seriously. The pain that you suffered is incredible; but, even more incredible is that you were able to take that pain, learn from it, and then create a life full of love, acceptance, and laughter for yourself and your family! Thank you for sharing.

Jenni said...

Oh...Janet...
It sure makes all those white picket fence problems seem small, doesn't it? There is so much to be thankful for. I like what Pamela said, "I can see how you took a life defeating moment -- and claimed victory." With that kind of inner strength and attitude, you will always be the victor rather than a victim. What a tremendous example for your children.

HRH said...

Holy crap. All of it. You are amazing and strong and I love you for it.

K said...

Oh gosh. Seriously wow. You know, I started reading your blog by accident (which is how I started reading most blogs I read). Who knew you would turn out to be a phenominal woman who has experienced so much?
I am so grateful that you got out of that marriage as unscathed as you are and that you are brave enough to share it with us.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

*hugs*

The Rotten Correspondent said...

You have had me totally mesmerized with every word of this. I can't even imagine the psychic toll this took on you and your kids.

I'm so glad you're in a better place now. Some people really are too mean to live.

Leslie said...

This is an absolutely amazing story. I admire the courage it must have taken to live through it and then to share it with us. You're really incredible.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Such a strong and poignant story. You are amazing, my friend. Truly.

PS. Featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle:
http://tinyurl.com/5ovhgd

Karen said...

this is the first time I have read your blog, I followed a link from somewhere, and I have to say I am amazed at your courage in being able to publicly tell your story. I have a similiar one, not as bad as yours, but similiar, so I understand and appreciate all that you have been through.

I worked for several years as a volunteer at a shelter for battered women in an effort to help heal myself by helping others, but I had to quit when friends of my daughters started being the clients there. It was just upsetting to me to see a new generation going through the same thing. I am so glad that you have been able to teach your children through example that they don't have to live that life.

Sarah said...

What a truly amazing story...

Blessings on you and your family.

dawn224 said...

(big hug)

Siobhan said...

Janet. I read it all. I went to read "read here first, I'll wait" and read the link on that one saying "read here first." I read one, tow and three. I can't believe I missed all this. What an amazing story of courage, strength and perseverance.

My Mum went through physical abuse with her second husband -- something I only found out about AFTER she drew the strength to kick him out. He was a drinker, mentally controlling and verbally abusive too. It was only after he began striking me that my Mum made those changes. I thamk God for my wonderful husband, who doesn't realise how amazing he really is.

I've always admired and respected you Janet, what an amazing journey you have had. I love you as much as I would if I was standing in front of you. Thank you for sharing this.

 
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