Teela Hart

Surviving Domestic Violence

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One of Our Sons


The definition of faith according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the belief with strong conviction in a system of religious beliefs; belief and trust in and loyalty to God.

Lofty and boisterous, the pastor’s voice boomed through the silent congregation.  “God protects us, He protects our children.”

The church phone rings, the pastor, unaffected, continues his discourse.

Mary runs to answer the phone.  “Nooooooo!!!”  Her cries guttural and agonizing.

I leapt from my seat and ran to Mary discovering her collapsed on the floor, her words incoherent.

“What Mary, I screamed, what happened!?”

“He’s been shot!”  “He’s been shot in the head!”

“Who!?”  “Who’s been shot!?”

“David!”

The carefully laid foundation of my faith came crashing down like thunder rolling across a stormy sky.  My world was spinning, everything around me faded away, my legs failed me and I tumbled onto the floor alongside Mary.  My lungs were in a vice, I could not breathe.  There are no words to describe the grief that consumed me.

Within seconds, which seemed like hours, the congregation surrounded us trying to uncover the cause of the terror that had disabled us.  Their words reverberated as if through water, I could not comprehend what they were saying.  My vision was blurred; I could hear my heartbeat in my ears.  I was in a perpetual state of complete confusion.  My words stifled by something I cannot explain.

“God, God, God, where are you!?”  I bellowed as Jon carried me out of the church.

The visitor’s room was cold and unappealing.  Mary with her tear stained face sat across from me moving back in forth in her chair chanting repeatedly, “God please let him live, God please let him live.”

Karen, her eyes dilated and swollen, sat beside me with the look of shock on her face.

David’s parents (my brother and sister-in-law) were out of town and had been notified, however, had not yet arrived.

The heaviness in the room was crippling as we awaited the doctor’s arrival.

Heart wrenching cries filled the air, hopelessness governed, and an impenetrable fog settled over my mind as the wait for word on David’s condition lingered on.

I could tell by his countenance that once again, wails of pain were about to rush from the room and into the sterile halls of the emergency department.

“I am so sorry, we have done an EEG (electroencephalogram) and the results show there is no brain activity whatsoever.  He is an organ donor; therefore, we will need to transfer him to Duke Hospital for further preparation.  We have him prepared for visitors now if you would like to see him.  You can go in two at a time.”.

David was 23 years old.  He and his girlfriend had been fighting.  Now David is dead.

I discovered that day that my faith had been misplaced.  I had naively and eagerly deposited it in the hands of a God who neither protected me from Jon nor David from Candy.  And as it stands, one of our sons is dead.