Two years ago, rock bottom reared up and hit her with a wallop.
Two years ago, she was reminded how precious life actually is.
Two years ago, she started over.
Learned that family love is for always. That you can always go back home.
Two years ago, she began her first steps of taking back her life and learning that she was her own master.
I had given up hope of making her see the wonderful woman I knew she was.
She had given up, and nothing I could say would be heard. Eventually I stopped trying to change the course of her life. I foresaw a steady decline and after a couple of years, could no longer bear to witness her decent into her hellish existence.
It hurt so much to put up that wall. But I had to protect my own heart, which was near broken from seeing the suffering which she didn't seem to care to escape from. I was depressed and exhausted with worry. Part of me was dying because I felt I had lost my sister.
She lost custody of her children, and I knew that had to be killing her. Despite all her issues, I never doubted that she loved those kids. After that, I existed in a world where every phone call could possibly be the Police saying she had taken her own life or accidentally overdosed . . One day that phone call came.
We were on vacation half way across the country, at a family reunion of my husbands side. Keith took me aside and said lets go for a drive, just us two. I thought he just wanted a moment of peace from all the hubbub of the relatives. He just drove us a block away and pulled over. He told me he had received a call on his cell from Carols former partner, the father of her children. Oh GOD! I closed my eyes and waited for him to tell me she was dead.
She was hurt, real bad and was in the trauma unit. He didn't get details of how, what or why, just that she was in very serious condition. Right then, our holiday was over. We went and packed everything up and the next morning headed back for home.
When I walked into her hospital room, all the animosities and resentments that had been between us for the past year or so were vanished. Instantly, once more, we were just sisters. Everything that had been wrong was gone. Our love for each other rose up from the depths as we cried together. I wanted to take her in my arms and hold her tight, but her body was so broken that all I could do was kiss her cheek and hold her one good hand.
She had been beaten black and blue by her drug dealer boyfriend. In a frenzy, he had viciously assaulted her, tried to break her neck. But some thing happened as he was strangling her. She started thinking of her children and didn't want them to grow up without a mother. Suddenly, she wanted to live like she had never done before. She found strength in her love for her children to fight him off. As sirens drew closer, he snapped. Telling her"Now look what you have done. All your screaming, has the cops coming". Then he went to the closet where he kept his gun threatening that he was going to kill her. She believed him. The closet door blocked the way to the apartment exit, and she dared not try to leave by going past him. He was like a mad man. Pure adrenalin launched her beaten body out the closest window. Unfortunately, it was three stories high. That's when rock bottom came up to meet her.
When she landed, she had crushed several vertebrae and shattered her right hand.
Surgeons spent hours trying to fuse her back together. Her saving grace, is that her spinal cord was not damaged, so she would recover. How well, would have to be seen. They put fourteen inch rods along either side of her spine, used bone composite to mould new vertebrae, and pinned the rods to what good vertebra she had left. Her hand , they said, looked like a bag of potato chips that had been hit with a sledge hammer. They had pieces of bone that they didn't know what to do with.
She was bed ridden for two full weeks. Only able to move with assistance, being sure to keep her back fully aligned , turning in a log roll. Then a full body brace was made for her. She could only get up out of bed with it on. Every movement caused excruciating muscle spasms to course though her whole body. It was mid summer, and that brace was thick plastic. She would be sweating from both pain and the heat of this brace after just a few minutes up. Her first few weeks she could take just a few baby steps at a time. Some days she was afraid to get up at all, because she knew it was going to hurt! We all took turns sitting by her bed, putting cool compresses on her back. It would be a while before she would be able to sit in a chair.
She would go to the window to watch them for a few minutes. Glad to see them having a little bit of fun. After all, They hadn't witnessed the attack, but were old enough to realize their mom could have died. When they weren't swimming, her daughter spent much of her time clinging to her mom. The same day she was in the trauma unit, Her daughter was in the cast clinic with a broken arm, she had fallen on a slide when her other aunt had taken them out. So they were broke arm buddies together. When she was in the pool she had plastic bread bags taped over it!
As bad as it was for her, the physical recovery was a breeze compared to the emotional healing she had to face. For weeks she woke up terrified, dreaming that he was coming for her. Though he was in prison now, she couldn't shake the fear he had instilled into her. I had taken a leave of absence from my job and was nursing her in my daughters room. She took a lot of comfort from our dog and cat, who would lay with her for hours. We had lots of time for some long soul searching chats, which were the beginning of her "counselling" After a few months, she got stronger, and I was able to take her to a support group and for counselling.
She has never looked back. Since that day, She has been working hard to remake her life.
She has relearned the value of the person she is. She is recovered from the injuries as well as can be expected. She is back to work and in a place of her own. The almost two years she spent here have brought us to a closeness we never had before. We learned a lot about each other.
She has more courage than just about anyone I know.
"Two years ago, I hit rock bottom. It was the best day of my life!"
Happy Anniversary Carol. I love you and admire your strength and courage. Keep up the fight to live. If you can pull through that, you can do anything!