Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7

Twenty four years. It is one of those days that stands out from the rest. It was a day of drama.

I had left my husband for the third and final time days before. I remember waking up on the morning of December 4th and thinking "This is the date our lives start anew".

We were tucked away in a safe haven. A shelter for women and children taking refuge from an abusive situation. No one knew where we were.

I felt safe and secure. I talked to people who didn't take sides, didn't judge and offered what they knew to be true about the situation I was in. It was the beginning of a time of making good decisions for my children and me.

I watched and listened to the other women in there. So many were full of hatred and emotion. I had been there. I saw myself in them. This time was different.

For the first time in the ten years of my off and on again marriage, I was detached from the emotions. I felt like I was standing on the outside, looking in. And I didn't like what I saw. I knew without a doubt that I had to get out and stay out of that marriage.

I'm almost certain that my ex-husband felt the difference. I was afraid in ways that I had never been afraid before. We both knew that this time was not the same as the others. He couldn't reach me. I felt the desperation as he had no idea where I was or how to get to me.

December 7th. It was a Monday. A school day. I took My Oldest to school and briefly let them in on what was happening at home. Several hours later, I got a call that made my blood run cold. My ex-husband had taken Our Son from school.

I don't remember the how, when or why of it. But it wasn't long before I found out that Our Son was at my in-laws home. My heart was broken as I visually saw and felt that this young, nine year old boy was smack dab in the middle of a 'game' of tug-of-war.

I went over to my in-laws and said whatever I had to say, to ensure he came home with me. And he did.

The drama of that day affected all those that touched our world. My mom, my mother-in-law and I were like three fierce mother bears. Each of us were protecting our young. I believe that perhaps my mom was the fiercest. She shared an attachment to My Oldest son that transcended all of us combined.

My Oldest Son and I returned 'home' to my mom's. My sisters arrived from a province away, as the drama was coming to an end. My brother was at Mom's as well. We were all together ... when we got the call.

The reason that my sisters travelled to Mom's was because our dad was not doing well. They came to see Dad but instead, were blind-sided by the drama of the day. We were together ... but we weren't with our dad that day.

Dad died that night. He had already put up a valiant fight and lived years after that final heart attack that stole the essence of who he was. He lived and breathed for 4 years and 8 months after that. But his brain had sustained too much damage. December 7th ... he stopped breathing.

December 7th, 1966 ... my dad's Dad suffered a fatal heart attack and died.

December 7th, 1941 ... was the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I don't normally honor dates that mark the end of something or someone I value. Instead, I like to focus on the small moments and all of the little memories that mark the good times. I cherish the memories that I have and honor my dad in small ways every time that I think of him.

December 7, 1987 was not a good day for our family. We were together. We presented a united front and walked forward from there. But it is not a date that I dwell on.

December 7th. A day of tragedy for many. The victory lies only in marching forward. The victory of endurance is born.

(Quote slightly adapted from: "The victory of endurance born." ~ William Cullen Bryant)

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