“You were mine then and you are mine now. Even after all of these years, I never stopped thinking about you and knew that as soon as I could get to you, I would come back for you. While I am not saying it’s good that you are a widow now, I believe that God did that so that I could have you again. Take some time to heal but don’t take too long because I need you as my wife now, so get your mind right. I’ll be waiting”.
The above statement is what allowed fear to grip me when it comes to being in a relationship again. On the onset, one might think that it’s a simple statement and that I should be happy that after 20+ years, an old love would return to have another chance at loving me again. Well, I thought it was cute until I realized the person that was making the statement was a seasoned version of the younger man I loved 20+ years in the past. It has been over 20 years since I stood face to face with this abuser. The difference now is that I am older, a little wiser and not as naïve as I was back then. I do have options now, but I second-guessed them when standing face to face with this man again.
I am 2+ years into my widow journey and have been living a reinvented and repurposed life. It hasn’t been easy the past 2 years since my husband’s death, but I’ve managed and I have been healing. My late husband was a Chicago Police officer, military veteran and was an amazing man. While no relationship/marriage is perfect, we made it work together until death separated us. I never worried about him hitting me or doing anything to harm me physically. He was my protector and he vowed to protect me from the past abusers and anyone that would try to hurt me ever again, and he did that with honor and dignity until he died. When he died from brain cancer in July of 2012, I was devastated on many levels and realized that I no longer had that protection I was so accustomed to. For years I haven’t worried about looking over my shoulders, barring my windows, sleeping with knives under my mattress, being cut with knives by someone, puking my food up because I have to stay thin or being punched because someone had a bad crack day. I have lived in what I considered a “safety bubble,” until now.
I haven’t really talked about the return of one of my abusers until now. Why Now? Because as we approach Domestic Violence Awareness month in October and given the Ray Rice situation, I wanted to give a different perspective on when abusers return AFTER victims have moved on towards healing. One of my abusers returned last year after spending time in prison, “transforming” his life and wanting a wife. He said that his only plan while in prison was to find me when he was released. While he had been out for a couple of years during our conversation, my question was why did you wait until my husband died. His response was, “God told me to wait until now”. At that time, I was less than a year into the widow’s journey and was still grieving heavily. I was desperately missing being a wife and the companionship of my husband. I didn’t want to deal with the frustrations in getting to know someone again or learning to fully love again so I entertained the thought of “what if” BRIEFLY! By “entertaining” I mean that I had a few conversations with him but during each one, it was more and more apparent that the same person was hiding in a beautifully aged shell and he had not changed at all.
If I said I was eating, he would say, “don’t eat too much because I don’t want you to lose that figure, you know how I feel about my women being fat”. If I said I was working, he would say, “Enjoy it now because you won’t be able to do all of that running around and media stuff when you become my wife”. If I said I was tired because I was up late working, he would say, “When you become my wife, you will have to adjust your hours to be in bed at a decent time. I usually go to bed around 8pm so it’ll be an adjustment for you, but we’ll make it work”. He had not changed at all except in aging beautifully and adding the façade of God to his life. When I told him I wasn’t ready for a relationship and that I didn’t think we would be a good fit this time around, he didn’t want to hear it and assured me that I was in denial because of my grief, but that he wasn’t going to let me get away this time.
I have no plans on returning and hopefully he will believe me now if he reads this article. While I do believe wholeheartedly in second chances, all bets are off when it comes to this man. I have encouraged him to move on and to leave me to my life now. He still tries to contact me but I don’t respond. I don’t want go down that sexually and emotionally scarred path ever again. Is there a level of fear I have in writing this article? Yes. However, what’s more important to me now is sharing my story of choosing to move forward living, loving and laughing freely, without being punched because someone had a bad crack day.
What would you do? Would you return after so many years?
If you are in a domestic abuse situation and need help, visit http://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Dawj is a living an unapologetic reinvented life! Join her journey of living, loving, laughing and learning!
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