When Abuse Turns Fatal
Last week I wrote about why I write. It's my therapy and those of you who read along, join me in my stories. I'm grateful.
Because of this I often leak out the ugly parts of my life since it helps me process. While many of my stories are often light or humorous, some aren't and this is one of them.
So I'm giving you a trigger warning because I'm sharing some sad truths regarding suicide and domestic abuse from a personal side.
Our weekend in Sun River ended on a sobering note as I was notified that my step father tried to kill himself. He is currently under psychiatric care and his future remains uncertain.
This all came about after a binge of violent rage that included death threats and physical harm to my mother. Police were called, he was arrested and a restraining order was put into effect. My mother and I spent a long day in court recounting all the acts of violence he had inflicted over the years.
Sadly, I have been down this road with my mother many, many times. Even though they have been divorced for years, his presence continues to invade her life and unfortunately, she has allowed it.
At midnight my step father bailed himself out of jail (yes, you can actually bail yourself out in Oregon), bribed a cab driver with promises of marijuana and asked to be dropped off at my mother's house.
He broke into the side house where he remained hidden until the next day. He revealed himself by attempting to break my mom's door down. As my mother was calling the police he ran back into the side house, climbed into the bathtub and proceeded to cut his wrists, legs, hands and feet with a pair of scissors and a knife.
I'm sad to admit that a part of me wishes he had just gotten it over with because that part of the nightmare would finally be over. Lest you think I sound cruel and calloused please know his violence over the years dramatically altered the course of my mom's life and mine as well.
It took 3 police officers, 2 paramedics and 2 firefighters to finally subdue him and take him away. Since it wasn't considered a crime scene by police (being self inflicted), there was no 'Sunshine Cleaning' crew to take care of the bloody aftermath my step father thoughtfully left behind.
And since this was something I did not want my mother to see, I finally got up my nerve today and went in to deal with the mess.
I feel like I had a vision of what hell could look like. It included a bathtub, floor and wall smeared with blood. Weapons were on display and random statements about Christianity were written out on old paper grocery bags.
His self destruction was very calculated and methodical, appearing like it had been planned in advance. In the event his attempts of breaking in and hurting my mother failed and the police were called, it seemed he had a back up plan. I found a bottle of urine on the floor and an overflowing toilet. I discovered 5 one gallon size bags of marijuana and 4 large opened bottles of vodka. He had done an incredible amount of damage in a very small amount of time. Yet I think it gave him a sense of power, a final say if you will.
I was face to face with the work of an evil, psychotic mastermind and I believe his plan was to kill my mother and then himself. What I witnessed will forever be ingrained in my mind.
I wondered how in the world I got here. I always wanted the parents that could have my children over for weekends, the stable ones that cheered you on at your college graduation and sent off newsy Christmas letters with family photos taken on their decorated front porch. I suppose we all wish for that in our lives.
But abuse doesn't pick and choose. It can affect anyone, even the ones who appear to have it all. That's why it's so important to blow the lid off the can of violence. Unless we expose domestic abuse for the evil it truly is, abusers will continue to get away with these atrocities and the thrill of domination. I know because I've seen it.
My mother never had the opportunity to be that kind of parent because of the fear she has lived with for so many years. Sometimes that fear takes hold so deep, it becomes paralyzing and taking action to overcome it feels futile, knowing he will just find you again.
Instead of planning the latest family photo on my parent's front porch, I'm left to wondering how long before my step father shows up again and this time, kills my mother.
I long for a day when my mother truly knows what it's like to feel peace without fear of a violent attack on her existence and I pray she has that opportunity before it's too late. She deserves that family photo taken on her front porch with her grandchildren.