I understand. I do. Recovery isn’t a straight line. People have set backs. They fall off the wagon. I’m not supposed to take it personally. I won’t help anyone if I turn into a co-dependent mush melon. It’s just he’s never hit me before.
I look at the last entry in my journal and I think about how naïve I was. How I even stopped writing because I thought everything was going to be OK. I believed everything he was telling me and that it was going to be all right. We may eventually get back to all right but nothing is ever going to be the same. Not ever.
As soon as he did it he scared himself. As soon as he did it he truly did realize what he’d done. As soon as he did it he also realized everyone at the church’s 4th of July picnic had seen. What I saw was the pain and fear in his eyes and I did the worst thing possible. I stepped forward to comfort him and tell him it would be OK.
All I could see was his hurt and I wanted to fix it. Just like all the other times. And I made the same stupid mistake of forgetting that for him to really get better he’s going to have to take responsibility and ownership of his actions and learn to reroute the ruts in his thought process. I’d learned the same thing about my same old/same old reactions.
Behavioral therapy helps, but only as much as we apply what we learn. I can see that now. But in that moment I just wanted to make him feel better and I forgot that Daniel’s go to reaction anytime he realizes he has behaved badly is to blame something or someone else for what he’s just done … and usually explosively.
That time he hit me with his closed fist in the side of my head and I fell to the ground. The last thing I heard before I blacked out was him screaming, “This is your fault! This is all your fault! I didn’t want to come today but you made me!! I should have listened to my parents and never married you! Look at what you made me do!! You’ve ruined my life!!!”
I woke up on a gurney as I was being loaded into an ambulance. I heard Daniel’s mother crying, begging the sheriff not to arrest her boy … he was a good boy, if they’d just let her take him she’d get him calmed down, he’d say he was sorry and everything would be ok, they were only making it worse by trying to force him into the car. It was horrible.
Then I saw Cal. Maybe it was unfair but I had to do something. I refused to cooperate until the EMT went and got him.
“Cal please. You’ve got pull.”
“Aria I’m just a deputy and there’s over a hundred witnesses.”
“Please,” I begged.
“Aria …” He stopped then took off his baseball cap and scratched the short stubble on his head. He was in civvies since he was off duty. “Look, I understand. He’s my cousin and it’s killing me to see Aunt June so upset. But …” He stopped and shook his head. “Aria you didn’t see it but he resisted arrest and on top of that hit the sheriff and spit on him. My hands are tied.”
Knowing I was about to cross a line I asked, “Cal? What … what if he’s … what if he’s sick and not in control of himself? What could we do for him then?”
Cal looked at me real hard, the way I’d seen him look at people he thought were lying to him. “What do you mean he’s sick?”
So it came out. It would have come out one way or the other but this way it kept Daniel out of jail where he didn’t belong. He was Baker Acted for being a danger to himself and others. Now instead of Daniel being in jail I’ve been ostracized by the rest of the family for being the one to make it public. The only reason Mr. and Mrs. Lowery even speak to me is because the doctors at the hospital won’t tell them anything and his other doctors, the ones at the VA, won’t release anything to them either, not even if I give them permission. I guess that is payback for the “falsifying signature” incident.
The family is in a huge mess. Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and just die and get it over with. Part of me feels like it is all my fault somehow. The rest of me tries to control the anger at how unfair life is.
Why is it so hard to learn that lesson? Life is not fair; it never has been, it never will be. As a matter of fact fair doesn’t even exist … it is just a concept that barely applies to children’s games. No way does it have anything to do with real life. My big brother drowned when I was a baby and I don’t even remember him. Then my parents died, mom from cancer then dad from a heart attack. Next came foster care after my grandfather died and the court wouldn’t approve my great aunt and uncle to be my guardians because they were “too old” to take care of a teenager. I couldn’t believe it when Daniel asked me out that day after church. I’d already been half in love with him from the first time I saw him helping to collect the offering during the Youth services on Wednesday night. And then to have him want to marry me right after basic training before he was sent overseas, it was like a fairy tale. Getting pregnant on our three-day honeymoon was a bit of a shock but I had the baby to love while his daddy was gone … then I didn’t have him; he was taken from me too and I had no one to blame for that either, it is just one of those horrible incidences that happen in life. And now this with my Prince Charming.
It isn’t just the family this is affecting. There are people in the church taking sides too. I don’t think anyone is being malicious, you just feel powerless and don’t know why … but there are no answers, all you can do is deal with the way things are.
I’ve got an appointment with the pastor tomorrow to talk things out. He asked me to come by his office. He says he is trying to understand but I’m afraid he’s going to see something in me and that really will turn out to be my fault that everything is like it is. I never thought anything like this would happen. I can’t let it go any further but I just don’t know what to do. But if I’m the problem I have to know.