My youngest daughter just got married to a fine young man. She was beautiful and radiant.
As I gave my daughter away when the minister told me to, I sat down next to a picture of my deceased husband. He passed away four years ago.
Lisa was our last child. Most likely, she saw the truth.
She saw the way my husband treated me after the other two children had gone off to college.
She always said, “I saw how daddy treated you.”
Though I was happy that my daughter was marrying a good man, I felt my inner sadness for not having a good man in my life at my side.
I should have known better.
I should have known that domestic violence didn’t qualify you as just being physically beaten up and attacked.
There were 30-plus years of mental anguish, intimidation, infidelity and lots of “business” trips.
Though I was sad throughout our marriage and felt emotionally “beaten down.” I didn’t know that this was labeled domestic violence.
I was happy for my daughter.
But I didn’t want to sit next to him — that framed picture.
Even though he was dead. The picture of him in his younger years with our daughter at two years old stared at me.
I always felt trapped. I didn’t know how to move. I didn’t know how to break free of this man. I lived my life through my children.
I always knew my life with this man was null and void. I was naive at first and then just numb.
What a sad existence.
Finally, four years gives you plenty of time to think when you’re by yourself when everything is unwrapped. When the naked truth stands in front of you.
He was there for the children. The plays and concerts and birthday parties and football and chorus and proms and high school and college graduations. But he was never there for me.
I misunderstood what domestic violence was.
I misunderstood that working 60 hours a week as a nurse was domestic violence. I misunderstood that his infidelities followed by “I’m sorry” were meaningless gestures.
I didn’t want to sit next to his picture.
We had scattered his ashes on top of a mountain top — cancer. To his liver. His pancreas. His lungs. His lymph nodes.
He never had cancer before.
I almost wondered if it was karma that attacked him.
This wedding was bitter-sweet.
I wanted a husband with me but a husband that loved me as much as I loved him.
I wish I could scream from the mountain tops.
Domestic violence. Yes, it can be physical violence. A black eye, a fractured arm, a punch in the gut.
But it can also be mental abuse like isolation. Intimidation. Infidelity. Manipulation. Put-downs and constant ridicule.
I grieve my last 30 years to a man I should have never been with.
But the light is shining on my daughter.
A new day. A bright tomorrow. With a young man that respects her. That cherishes her. That loves her endlessly.
May that circle be broken. That circle of sadness, isolation, and unspoken grief.
And may they both live a happy life together full of love and respect.
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