Monday, August 22, 2011

I cried.

I cried. And not just the "wipe-away-a-tear" cry, but the downright "sniffling and holding onto my best friend for dear life" sort of cry. There's only one patient I have ever cried over before in my life, and she was a beautiful baby girl who had third degree burns and whose name the babysitter didn't even know.

Going to the call, I told Lee that I wondered if this would be a difficult call for me or not. It was the first domestic violence call that has happened to fall on my shift. I don't dwell on these things though, and I dismissed the thought as soon as I said it so I could focus on what I may or may not need to do, wondering what the injuries would be if any at all.

She stepped up into my ambulance, a girl around my age. Her blond hair matted with blood and dirt, her legs streaked with red that dripped onto her sneakers that in an unexpected way actually matched the cocktail dress she was wearing. Her friend was right behind her, demanding to know what her boyfriend did.

It was her arm and wrist that were sliced from the glass door. As I opened a bottle of sterile water, I rhetorically asked the cop if they were detaining the guy. I wasn't impressed with his answer and I informed him in no questionable terms that he had better hold on to that guy or I might just leave my ambulance to do so. Punk.

I was doing ok, but I could tell I had better shut the inner Rachel off quickly because my hands started to shake as I poured the water onto a towel. Soon enough, it was just her and I. We chatted and I wasted no time explaining to her that I left my marriage because of domestic abuse. She grabbed my hand and interrupted herself to tell me that she was really, really glad that I was the one with her because she needed to hear what I was telling her. She talked while I tied linen around her body in an attempt to keep her arm together. I told her to not move her arm, and to keep her wrist bent because any movement was causing her skin and fat to pull away from her body like nothing I have seen before. She thanked us over and over as she removed her ring.

I knew time was ticking before I started to feel again, so I quickly gave the nurse a report and got the signatures I needed after getting to the hospital. Lee caught me outside the patient's room and asked the dreaded question, if I was ok or not. I looked at him and I think he said "no" before I could say anything and then it just came crashing down. Somehow, I got outside...maybe without anyone noticing, or maybe with everyone noticing. I didn't really care. Somehow, the computer was moved out of my hands and to another location, and I buried my face into my arms. He held me while I couldn't say anything, then I curled myself into the passenger seat of the ambulance. I really just wanted to curl up in the ditch and die under the moonlight, moving on into Jesus' arms, never to experience pain again.

After I finished my paperwork, he came back and got the computer to finish getting what I needed so I wouldn't have to go inside. By that time, I was doing better though. In an attempt to console me, he told me that the boyfriend was indeed being detained and things were going to be worked out, and I got myself strong enough to move forward.

I said goodbye and good luck to her, watching as the doctor put stitch after stitch into her flesh. Then, I got back into my ambulance and we drove away...

I cried again as I wrote this. You see, I never bled and I have no physical scars, but I know the sound of things being broken. I understand what it's like to move yourself or your beloved little one out of the way quickly, before you are broken too. I still feel sick when I hear certain words or when some people get too close to me. I was not crying for her. She will get out of that relationship and she will be ok. I am ok, too, but sometimes it still hurts, and sometimes I get tired of being strong. Sometimes, I just want to beat the daylights out of him for everything I went through...but even that isn't what makes me cry.

Yes, I grieve what happened for so long. I grieve the fact that I believe in marriage and it was taken away from me. I grieve the thought that my children will not grow up in a home with both parents living in it. But this isn't what makes me weep. Lee told me at one point while I sat in the ambulance outside the hospital that this would never happen to me again, that no one would ever treat me like that again. I doubt he realized it, but that is exactly why I cry. I cry because I want to be worth someone's forever promise. I want to be safe and not have my guard up. I want to never, ever be hurt like that again. And I am afraid that the people who I know won't hurt me will walk out of my life and I will be left fighting for survival again. Completely illogical, I know, but my heart is still tender and I am only accepting a bright future from here on out in life. My standards are very high and I will not, will not be hurt again like that.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched; the flames will not even burn you. 
-Isaiah 43:2

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Dear Ex-Husband;

I am so frustrated by you right now. I write because I need to get my frustration out. I will not discuss it with you because those conversations never get anywhere and I refuse to induce the stress it will surely bring, and I will not discuss this with someone else for a variety of other reasons.

Number One: would you PLEASE knock off those habits of yours that you KNOW absolutely infuriate me because of how disrespectful they are? No matter how many years I have been calmly telling you that I can't stand you constantly reinterpreting what I say in order to tell me what I really mean or really think (when that is NOT what I said and you are ALWAYS wrong, anyway, because what I tell you is really what I mean and think!), you still do it. You still do it! STOP! And then you ask why I seem upset when you talk to me...

Number Two: would you PLEASE do a few things around here that I have needed done for months if not years? These are things that I CAN'T DO myself. You know that even married to you, I wouldn't ask you to do something I could do for myself. If I am asking you to do these things, maybe that means I really need them done. Like could you lower the lawn mower? It's ridiculous what I go through to mow the lawn here because you can't be here long enough for me to do it. I need the blade lowered so I don't have to mow as often. I also NEED you to hang the curtain rod. Sleep is far more difficult when light is coming through the window and it's only a matter of time before the pin tacks that are holding the curtain up come out of the wall and someone steps on it. Also, move your truck cap while you're outside lowering the lawn mower blade. It's difficult to maneuver around.

Number Three: figure out how to spend less money, because I am picking up your tab and it's not acceptable. YOUR cell phone habits run up the bill and I end up paying the difference. You use my Internet, and I have to pay $60 a month for that. I have no desire to make money off of you, and I have every intention of being able to fully support our children myself...but I do not care to pay your bills, and I feel like some of that is happening.

Number Four: when you read this, you will be mad, no doubt. Why? Because it might make you look bad to someone. Please don't confront me about it. I need to vent somehow, and this is the only way I can think of because while I really just want to go running until I pass out right now, I have to take care of our kids, clean the house, get all of their laundry washed, pack their bags for tomorrow, pack my work and weekend stuff up, and go shopping all before bed time tonight. And it's something like impossible to go running with two toddlers. I am not concerned with the fairness of my statements right now, nor am I concerned with who reads them because after all, this is my blog and my place to get stuff out. Maybe sometime I'll start sharing stories of the past. That should rock the boat...

Your pissed off Ex-Wife

PS- I understand that you are unable to afford an apartment and vehicle right now that would accommodate our children. So until then, when you have to use my house and my van when you are with them, please try to help out with the cleaning of each.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Thousand Fireflies Deep

Ya know what? I am happy. I don't mean "count all of your trials joy" sort of happy, but the real sort of happiness that you experience at your core. The kind that can't be shaken because even when you get an unexpected bill, you find the contents of a toothpaste tube squeezed out onto the counter, or your ex-husband puts your mind through a blender, that happy part of you isn't touched. It's in a place all of its own at the center of your heart, pumping joy throughout every artery in your body.

Joy unshakeable. Peace unquenchable. Hope with wings like an eagle.

It started with love like a firefly...

Obedience and understanding opened my door to the outside. It wasn't getting "rid" of someone that changed my life; it was finally realizing that God had something different in store for me than where I was, and that part of Him loving me is allowing justice to happen in my life and to stop the oppression. Only once I was willing to break out of that bondage in faith, not knowing what the future would hold or what survival may entail, was I able to begin to breathe again and start to feel the hand of God again. You see, He will not touch us unless we let him.

It took a while to get to the door even after I began to run for it. It was like finding your way through a dark garage that is piled high with stuff, boxes and shelves making a winding maze, and in my case, a labyrinth. Your adrenaline pushes you to be as fast as possible in your escape, but carrying and protecting two small and vulnerable children along the way slows you down as you elbow your way through the mess and pull their faces close to your chest. The thing about a dark labyrinth is that you don't know when it will end, you are unsure of the correct route that will lead to the end, and you don't anticipate all of the debilitating obstacles you bump into along the way before you get to the end. But eventually, it does end and you can begin to dust yourself off, put band-aids on your wounds, and watch the purple of a bruise fade away as you heal.

Once that door opened though, I was able to step out and into the beautiful night. Fresh air, a million stars hovering overhead, and a thousand fireflies deep. Everywhere you look, you see the twinkling and memorizing beating of tiny beads of light, like crystals against the midnight darkness. Like a firefly, it's that love that gently touches you, surrounds you silently, and gives you space as it dances along side of you. It moves with you, and becomes part of you as your eyes process the light it gives. It's peaceful and fluid. There to illuminate, remind you of beauty, and protect you from the night. And if you should ever forget that love is there, it will radiate again and remind you in its lullaby way, a thousand fireflies deep.


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