Teela Hart

Surviving Domestic Violence


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Lean In


Family

Family

I made a post a while back describing an incident I’d had with Jon in 2010 resulting in right arm paralysis. An all-out military assault of MRI’s, X-rays, poking and prodding rendered an ugly diagnosis. The physical therapy department had become a second home and the pain nearly insurmountable. When asked to describe the pain, the words always fell short. A brachial plexus injury is a devastating and crippling injury from which many never recover. Thunder and lightning had taken up residence from my neck rendering the arm and hand useless. The pain was a special kind of horror; however, the complete and utter betrayal in its ability to function caused the most heartache.

Working tirelessly, wearing a special *contraption* and the unwillingness to accept this as a permanent disability excited the required drive to beat the prognosis. Following nine months of intense therapy, function slowly returned and the pain receded. Unexpected jerking movements resulted in dropping, or randomly flinging whatever object I was trying to control across the room. The unadulterated hilarity of the Freddy Krueger splint coupled with the identified object and its unidentified destination kept me sane.

Fortunately, I retired the splint to the Freddy Krueger hall of fame, however, the daily exercise and muscle stretches continue to this day.

Last week started like any other abnormal, PTSD ridden week with a twist of bitterness and a healthy dash of straight up disgust. However, Wednesday’s flavor of the day changed rapidly from vanilla to rocky road when a sudden severe onslaught of sharp pains traveled between my shoulder blades. The excruciating pain and inability to breath drove me straight to the MD. He examined me thoroughly and had me carted off to x-ray where they discovered I had multiple fractures in the vertebral body of my spine.

Dazed and confused, I proclaimed the impossibility of the situation, followed by a ‘what the hell are you trying to say’ stare. There had been no hideous falls or car accidents; therefore, I was hard pressed to come up with a plausible explanation for the injury.

It was obvious the Doc had been in deep thought over the cause of the injury before spilling the diagnosis onto my lap. It would appear, to the best of my understanding, that there had been significant damage to the cervical and thoracic vertebrae in 2010 along with the brachial plexus injury. The vertebral body had developed multiple stress fractures last week for reasons I cannot explain causing the severe pain I am currently experiencing.

Once I returned home, drugs in hand, shaken to the core with anger, and weeping like a newborn baby, I headed for my room. I could not hide the tide of emotions from my children and of course, they followed in behind me. It pains me that my children are forced to see me in this state. Once again, I failed at being the rock, the fortress they need. However, they do not complain, they are champions. They each take time to lean in, give me hugs and whisper in my ear, “I love you.” I do not have to ask, they instinctively act. When they least expect it, I lean in, give them hugs and whisper in their ear “I love you.” They do not have to ask, I instinctively act.

We are a family, strengthened by our past, weathering the storms of the present, and reaching into the future as we learn that we already instinctively know what it means to lean in.

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Beat Me

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We are fast approaching the end of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  The hurt in this young lady’s eyes is clear, however, she found her voice and I would like to share it with you.  The video brought tears to my eyes as I listened to her sing about her own personal hell and her desire to prevent this tragedy from being cycled to her baby girl.

Chantell finds her voice.

my shadow


9 Comments

Please Don’t Forget About Me


It is not usual for me write according to the daily prompts, however, I have said these very words to my children repeatedly. Please don’t forget about me, the new me, the me I was meant to be free. Therefore, this is dedicated to them.

Within the walls of pain and shame, I hid behind a masquerade of lies. Domestic violence sucked me up and deposited me in the darkest, most crippling place imaginable.

Not only me, but also my children suffered the deepest kind of pain for which I have no cure. I have no ability to remove their suffering, their misplaced guilt and shame, their hearts or their souls.

I do not have to imagine coming to the end of my life; the end rapidly approaches. I have little time to attempt to right the wrongs. I have failed them in the worst kind of way. It has been said, “It is not your responsibility to bear the full brunt of all that has occurred in their lives.” I cannot accept that statement as truth.

I am their mother. A mother’s role is to protect and nurture, not crash and burn before their very eyes. Security ripped from their trusting hands, safety far from reach, and an abundant dose of a twisted, perverted, kind of love filled most of their lives.

In January of 2012, we chose the door leading us away from that horrid existence. The only goal prevalent and revolving about me is to make up for so much lost time. I want to be there for them, love them the way they deserve to be loved, encourage them; make amends the only way I know how.

The legacy I have given is a garish hell from which there sometimes seems to be no escape. I have to, I must, at all costs, any cost, give a new legacy, one in which no one can take away. I must be sure their rightly inheritance befitting over comers, survivors, and lovers of life are well within their reach before I leave them. It is imperative to make them believe that, for without belief there is no hope and I cannot let go of the here and now having left my children without hope for a better future.

I pledge to do all within my power to mend the brokenness I have affected and allowed and to restore their birthright, the only gift I have left to give. I cannot change the past, but I can pave the way for a good future.

It is for this reason that I write every day to spill myself upon these pages so that when I am no longer with them they will be able to feel my presence as real as the life surrounding them. I never want to leave them, ever again and the only way to do that is to leave a tangible piece of myself behind.

For the sake of anonymity, I cannot post the multitude of photos I have taken in a desperate attempt to capture moments I never want them to forget. In addition, if for some reason, those things are lost, I have only the hope that the new memories far outweigh the old, a touch that can never be lost or stolen.