Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A decade ... and a million years ago

I was supposed to participate in Fun Monday two days ago, but for the first time since Jan. 1, I didn't post.

Why? I don't know really. I just didn't.

And I didn't post yesterday either.

Part of it was summer malaise. After six straight months of seven-days-a-week posting, I ran out of steam.

And also, I was having an emotional response to Kelley's post about this.

It stopped me in my tracks -- because I remembered.

This is 2008. It is 10 years after 1998.

The year my life turned upside down.

It really began in late 2007 -- THIS day.

Do you need to catch up? Go read that one. I can wait. I have waited 10 years to really tell this story in a public venue. I can surely wait a couple more minutes.

This man -- the one I always amusingly refer to as he-who-shall-not-be-named -- is the father of my little girl. And that? Is one of two decent things he did in his entire life.

After my baby girl was born, my husband refused to have sex with me. He claimed impotence due to diabetes and some heart-related issues. I knew differently. There are ways you can tell, ya know, that the guy is lying about this.

The relationship deteriorated -- and not just sexually. If I wanted this post to be a 12-part series, I could relate chapter and verse of the emotional atrocities he inflicted on me and my boys. But suffice it to say, he was mean. He was cruel. He was abusive, though he never lifted a finger against any of us.

And I was more afraid than I have ever been in my life. He once threatened to put me in a psych ward on a 72-hour watch unless I admitted that I was a liar. My three youngest children were in the backseat as he turned the car around and headed for the nearest hospital. Weeping, I caved. Otherwise, who would save my children from him?

I do not judge those who live in abusive relationships. I know how hard it is to muster up the strength to overcome the fear and walk away. But there did come the day when I promised then-14-year-old Drama King that I would see a lawyer.

And then it was Dec. 10, 1997 -- the day after my birthday and that day I posted about before -- and I threw him out. It was a little bit like a gift to myself and my kids.

But that isn't my point for today.

The divorce proceedings began -- painfully and viciously. The custody of our 3-year-old girl was contentious. And I knew, in my heart, that once we were done, he would walk away with her one day and disappear. After all, he had done it before with his two boys.

My father put it best: "You have to stop thinking about IF he will take her. WHEN he takes her, we will deal with it."

Again, that isn't my point for today.

Not long after we separated, he was hospitalized and released. A couple times. His visits with the Roo-girl became erratic. He canceled court dates. He began calling Roo instead of visiting.

And then he went IN ... and he never came out.

But I knew nothing of what was ailing him. I would call the nurses station every day to see if they would tell me anything. I found out that he was on a morphine drip. I found out that, eventually, he was on a ventilator.

Finally, one of my friends, who was a doctor at that hospital, volunteered to look in on him and report back. His answer? "HWSNBN's doctor will call you later."

So. It was Memorial Day weekend. My boys were with their dad. I was invited to a neighborhood barbecue, and so I got a babysitter for the Roo-girl and left specific instructions on how to find me if the doctor called. (This was really before the cell-phone explosion. I didn't have one at that time.)

Off I went.

Until my friends' phone rang, and I was summoned to talk to Dr. BeatAroundtheBush.

"Well," he began, "HWSHBN came in to the hospital and at first we were thinking it was autoimmune-related, but he denied any at-risk behavior blah blah tests blah blah continued to deny blah blah we finally ran tests ..."

"Oh. My. GOD," I gasped.

"He has full-blown AIDS, doesn't he?"

To be continued.


ChrisB said...

Oh my goodness that was obviously a bolt from the blue. What a way to hear that sort of news. Explains the no sex. You must have totally freaked out. I'll be back to read the next installment.

Kelley said...

Oh I am sorry. I am sorry that this happened to you and deeply sorry for causing this response from such a throw away self indulgent post.

<3 babe.

LceeL said...

OMG. You must have been scared. to. death.

Melissa said...

Oh wow.

But sharing stories like this is so good for so many different reasons. Cathartic for you and helpful for those in similar situations.

Thank you.

nikki said...

Oh holy shit. You must have been so scared. For yourself, for your daughter and for your family.

Marmarbug said...

Oh wow. You have me hook, line and sinker now.

The Laundress said...

Holy Hell Janet.

I knew I admired you, but this is even more reason to do so.

You rock.

Catwoman said...

My heart has just stopped.

I can't even imagine.

Kaytabug said...

Alright lady you do NOT just drop a bomb like that and leave us all hanging!!! So not fair!
yes, it is all about how I feel.

Omg, you have been through so much and just when I think you can't ROCK more, ya do! XOXO

Sandy C. said...

Good heavens wumman! I am deeply sorry you and your family had to endure this.

My heart breaks just reading about this...but I'm also sitting on the edge waiting to hear more.

Rachael said...

Oh my God, J. I hadn't read your other post until today, and went from that to this. I can't even imagine any of it. People do judge people who stay in abusive relationships, but it's obvious that the most important thing to a mother is to protect her kids. No matter what. In any case, I am just amazed. I'm amazed when I read stories like yours, in the midst of funny blog entries and stories that show what a great mother you are. I'm amazed at what people can overcome. You win for post that made me cry today. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

You know J, I'm so proud of you for having the courage to put your feelings and emotions into a post. I know how hard this must be for you. You are such a good mom to those kids for kicking his ass to the curb. And, and this is horrible & sad, but if he was one of those take the kid & run types, I'm glad he didn't get the chance.

Junebug said...

Wow! Shall be waiting for more.....I am so glad this is ten years ago for you.

Jen @ The Cubicle's Backporch said...

Wow. I was holding my breath until the end. What a heartfelt post.

lattemommy said...

Wow. I'm not even sure what to say. Clearly, this all ends well for you, or we wouldn't have your wonderful and witty blog to read today. But, it still shakes you to the core to read those words. I can't even imagine how you must have felt at that time.


Janet said...

holy shit! I knew it from reading your other entry, but not how you were told. It's good that he stopped having sex with you, but, still, you must have wondered "what about me, what about Roo" when you found out.

My Mom was born the same day as you, btw...

All Rights Reserved. Planet of Janet, 2010.