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Here we are, at the point in my story where I want to stop, stop the madness, stop the remembering, stop the writing. UGH. Where were we?
“I was sure by now that you would have reached out your hand and wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day, but once again, I say ‘Amen’ and it’s still raining” Casting Crowns
It was November of 2008 and I was back in the classroom after my 30 day hiatus that CCHS was so generous to give me. My new attorney and I were successful in court, and I remember the day that we got that word, December 2, 2008. It was a day after my birthday, Happy Birthday to me! The year of 2008 had not been my friend, but looking back, maybe it was in the end.? Anyway, our victory was that the motion to dismiss the case or to move to St. Augustine was dismissed. Now we still had to go back to court to get the judge to actually rule on the order of protection. And I caved.
That is really the easiest way to explain it; and probably the most popular occurrence in these situations. Seeing him that day in court unearthed something in me. You would think those emotions would be hate, anger and fear. And I certainly had fear, but mainly I was hurt; I was hurt to my core. And I wanted to fix it. The pain was too much and going through the process of going back to court seemed similar to climbing Mt. Everest. So, I decided I needed closure. I dropped the petition for a restraining order…and I did that for a few reasons. None of them advisable, and all of them without any of the wise counsel I had all around me.
It is difficult to put into words the pain. Human beings are wired to avoid pain at all costs, and it always means something is wrong…right? So, I called him. And I asked him if he would be part of a telephone counseling session with Dr. Petit. Of course he agreed (it meant dropping the petition), and the date was set. The judge threw out the petition (after all of that) and I had questions and I wanted answers. Some how I thought that would ease the gaping wound still left in my heart and on the very deepest part of my soul. He was a no show on the call. I was devastated. I am not sure what I thought that 1 hour phone call would do; but I can tell you what not having it did–sent me reeling and it was like 3 steps forward and 5 back. By now it was almost Christmas and I planned to spend that Christmas in Maine and in Toronto, and that might have saved us from another involuntary hospital visit.
The first year after a divorce, you have to get through all the “firsts”–the first birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I made the mistake of not planning well for the first year. I spent my first Thanksgiving with a very dear friend of mine in PA, and that was fun, but I ended up in the ER after having a seizure in front of her whole family. That was good times! Apparently, you get one free pass on seizures, I never had another one. We think it was stress, who knows. The first Christmas was in Jacksonville and while I was with my sister and her family, that was just stupid. Jacksonville is my hometown and very close to my heart, but I needed separation from every inch of that city–and my family and friends were spoils of war for a little while.
I decided this time I was going to be far from Florida, far from memories and far from stress. And for the first time ever I had a white Christmas! Gabe and Beatrice were just over a year old and it was so much fun watching them. I have an awesome family–well what is left of them. My cousin Em is probably my very best friend on this planet. She held my heart that Christmas by doing nothing but making me laugh and feeding me insane amounts of homemade food. Her mama, my first cousin, loves me like I am her daughter, so I was in good hands. Before Toronto, I spent a few days with Cris and her parents in Maine. I was loved so well then by these two groups of people–kind of like now. They all saved me that Christmas. Christmas carols, hot chocolate, funny stories and snow, lots and lots of snow–that is my memory of Christmas of 2008.
Gabe and me. Christmas 2008
Bedo and me. Clearly she wanted somebody else. 🙂
I roamed out one day with my camera. I loved this house, and still do. Don’t know who lives there though! Ottawa Christmas 2008
I flew back to Clearwater on December 30th and I remember that because I was scheduled for ear surgery on New Years Eve–beating the system, and my deductible. It was significant though, because it was the second surgery I needed to repair an injury sustained in a fit of anger at the hands of the love of my life. The days were so dark and it seemed as though I was going from one dark time to another. Still pretty heavily medicated, I was sleeping better but would still have fierce flashbacks at night. All of the trauma had unearthed childhood stuff that I never remembered until dark nights in that bright yellow room in Crissy’s house. She would come running across the house just to tell me I was 36 not 7 or 14 or 25 or 29. It was awful. Still is sometimes.
School was back in session and I was to be front and center of a sophomore Chemistry class at 7:45. The second semester was more difficult for a lot of reasons. The subject matter was harder, the days were busier and I was unraveling, quickly. Still by my side, Cheryl fed me every day at lunch cheese and crackers and when I got home Crissy would do just about anything or go anywhere to get me to eat anything. I drank a lot of red Kool-Aid. I have no idea what that comforted me, but it did. I managed to get from weekend to weekend and Sundays were my favorite. I had the best life group at Calvary. I got to teach sometimes and that was good for my soul. During the week, I loved the kids and they made me laugh everyday–I will always say they were my bright spots in dark times They thought I was a rock-star (we don’t need to tell them differently) and that felt good. I had some ministry opportunities and that fed me too.
But mostly I was not good. We started 2009 hopeful, but it was not showing signs of being much better. I clung to music at the time. It was the only thing that made any sense to me and it was the only thing that comforted me. My days were so groggy because the nights were so hard. It was only a matter of time before I completely melted down again. Except this time those who loved me and knew me saved me from myself–except you know that painful way people help you? Yeah, it was that kind of help. God was determined to get my attention and would continue to systematically remove anything I put before Him, even if it was clothed in ministry as a Christian school teacher.
“I will praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands for Who You are. No matter where I am. And every tear I’ve cried, You hold in Your hand, You never left my side. And though my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm” Casting Crowns