It has almost been a year since the day I got the call. I sat in my living room having my morning coffee with my bother, sister-in-law and dad recovering from a night of random celebration when my sister(your wife) called. She was calm, but it was eerie. She was saying the words factually but her voice was shaking with fear. “He beat me up last night in an ally after we left the pub.”
Lets go back a month before, when all of us traveled out east to celebrate my “I’ll never get married” sister, tying the knot. Lake side, custom hand-made wooden signs, rustic chic, burlap, new and old family and friends and above all, love. Finally, something to truly celebrate as the one year anniversary of our sweet Lilee-Jean’s death was approaching. It was magical, to say the least, and we all saw this as a beacon of hope of a future with light. We saw this moment as a turning point from the darkness.
Now, a month later, I’m sitting in my living room listening to words I never imagined I would hear uttered. She described a little of the night leading up to your attack, how she doesn’t remember it happening and how someone tried to stop you but you wouldn’t stop until a cop (who just happened to be driving by) intervened. My stomach was churning from a mixture of too much wine the night before and pure, focused, white-hot rage as I listened to your wife tell the story of her husband’s abuse.
“Is this the first time?” I asked, afraid of the answer. She answered yes, physically. But did you know, emotional abuse can leave just as much damage as physical abuse and can lead to social anxiety, self-esteem issues, and depression? Oh and manipulation falls under that category, just a bit of information. Anyway, after I told her I was coming to get her (I was only a three and a half hour drive away) I had the pleasure of telling my family. You are lucky it was me and my sister-in-law who made the drive. I’m not sure you would have survived much longer if it were my ex-military brother or father.
When we made it to the home you two shared, the one she tried to make beautiful despite money restrictions and location, the one she worked so hard to make a home for you, your children, herself, and her dog, I walked in and saw her face.
Now this is where it got a little tricky for me. Do I a) get all of my sister’s stuff (or as much as we can manage) and get the hell outta dodge, b) get ALL of her stuff and maybe find a way to dispose of your’s. or c) find you.
Again, you are lucky, because my sister was the only thing that mattered to me in those moments and getting her out of that town was priority #1. But just to let you know, I saw what you did. Fresh, bloodshot, bruises, sprains. For the next couple of days I saw things get worse, not better. I watched as new bruises appeared, because deeper and more severe bruises can take a little bit longer to show. I watched as the bruising around her eye deepened and the white around her iris get completely engulfed in the blood from the burst capillaries in her eye. I watched my 5’3, 115lb (soaking wet) sister struggle to open a bottle of water with one hand (you know, because you helped tear the ligaments in the other one). I watched as people contacted her about what had happened, because in a small town news travels fast and HER have to deal with the repercussions of YOUR actions. In fact, that’s what I had the pleasure of watching throughout the past year. My sister, YOUR WIFE, deal with all the bullshit that came along with your actions. Mutual friends, wedding guests and apparently members of your own family asking why she had left you, because you had only said she was gone. Why? Because YOU wanted to save face? You didn’t want to look bad? Well, maybe you should have thought about that BEFORE you decided to punch her in the face and drag her down an ally way. Oh right, sorry, my bad, you don’t remember a thing; Completely blacked out (your excuse-“I was drunk and have an alcohol problem”). But you are going to AA and not drinking. Well, besides at friend’s parties and at your old team’s hockey games, of course(even though they kicked you off the team. Do you actually think they want you there?) and let’s be honest, probably Wednesday’s, because you know “Wine Wednesday!!” but that’s all hearsay…
Moving forward, I also saw your posts on Facebook. You are a riot. Hilarious, grade A comedian. My favorite was the one that said something like “When someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they did right” or whatever. AHAHAHA awesome. As if beating up your wife falls under the “something wrong” category. Thanks for the la– oh? you were serious? Even though you smashed her eye in and almost broke her hand (to be fair, maybe she did that herself while trying to shield her face from your fists). You think she shouldn’t forget the fact that you cooked her dinner that one time? Or taught her how to mountain bike? Or maybe that one time when you did that one thing.. aw that was sweet. Unfortunately, pal, that doesn’t quite carry enough weight to drown out the fact that your wife was deathly afraid of you. Actually, nothing in this entire world could carry enough weight for her to forgive you and put herself back in that situation. Because that’s my sister. She is stubborn, and strong. She is smart, has crazy intuition and is self-aware enough to address her hindsight. (you know, they say its 20/20). So she stuck it out, uprooted her entire life in the place she loved most in the world, moved away and watched as people around you had no idea. But they slowly started to learn and, hopefully, as each day goes by you feel more and more isolated, more and more unwelcome, and you have to leave the place you also love most in the world.
This past weekend you were convicted (after a long drawn out trial, harassing calls from your lawyer, a plea of NOT GUILTY “I didn’t do it judge, haven’t you seen the movie ‘Idle Hands’ with Devon Sawa? They had a life of their own.”< you might not have said that but it would have been just as feasible as your actual reasoning behind not being guilty.). You made YOUR WIFE go through all that she did with lawyers, statements, being subpoenaed to testify because YOU lost control. We weren’t sure if the justice system would pull through for us. But they did. You finally plead guilty and along with your criminal record you must keep the peace. Sounds easy enough. Well, I sure as hell hope you don’t, because all though my heart is shattered for your children, completely and utterly shattered, I think you belong in jail, because that’s where my sister has been for the past 10 months. A jail inside of her head and inside of her heart. Locked up with the key thrown out, each day wondering if she will be the only one who suffers the consequences of this domestic violence.
With all of that being said, I want to say thank-you. One, you have given my family a different demon to fight other than cancer and grief(although you also brought so much pain to a family that was already suffering so intensely), two, you showed your true colours right after the wedding, which in retrospect is much better than a couple of years down the road, and three you showed my sister just how incredible and resilient she is. Because of you, she remembered what she is worth. What happened in that dark ally way in the middle of the night put her on the path for her best, most rewarding, most love filled life possible. I would never be thankful for her going through what she went through, but let’s be honest, you would have done it eventually, because you are one fucked up, narcissistic, delusional, piece of shit, so I am thankful you got it over with so we could all remove you from our lives, once and for all, and so that my sister could go out and find the happiness that she deserves.
So to you, the one not deserving of remaining nameless, I end with this:
I hope you get the help you need. I hope, for the sake of your children, you stop playing this role of “I don’t remember” and you address all of the demons you have inside you. We all have them, believe me, but the difference between healthy and psychopath is dealing. So I hope you lean on the people supporting you, because your family has incredibly still stood by you, knowing you need help. I hope you take treatment seriously, take AA seriously and take anger management seriously for the sake of your children. Not for the sake of you.
And even though I wish I could hand deliver your divorce papers myself, I hope neither I, nor my sister, nor anyone in my family ever has to see you again,
TO THE WOMEN AND MEN WHO HAVE EXPERIENCE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
over 40,000 arrests are made a year from domestic violence, but only 12% of attacks are actually reported. That means that the first number should be significantly higher, but it also means YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Speak up, Speak out. Tell someone you trust and love and lean on them for support. Find refuge, find shelter. YOU are worth more. YOU are worth love. I am here, your community is here, speak up. Let those around you protect you and let your abuser be punished for his crime. (I know its not that easy, I know its so much more complicated. but the first step is talking to someone who can point you in the right direction.. or just talking to someone. You will never be in this alone.)