The next near death experience I had was last night. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. from a sound sleep with Criminal Minds re-runs playing on the TV I forgot to turn off, having an asthma attack. There is nothing worse than having one of these sneak up on you in a dead sleep because you go from open mouthed drooling slumber (or so I have been told from some insolent bedfellows) to feeling like you are being strangled and drowned all at the same time. You cannot breath in, you cannot breath out, its like somebody has popped a wine cork down your trachea . Where are visions of elephants when you need them? I was sure this was “it” this time although I have suffered from this before. Only now it was lasting well into a minute and my lips were turning blue and I was starting to panic. It’s the panic that will kill and asthma sufferer faster than lack of oxygen will. Panic because you think the next time you try to inhale you will get a bit of air in and you don’t. The panic that you realize you decided to sleep naked and now your kids are going to find you dead and rigored in most likely an unladylike position on the floor after the dogs have given you a good sniff over. The panic because now you’re pissed off at yourself for worrying about all those things you worried about that day, that really don’t matter at all when you are about to hitch a ride on that elephant!
Obviously I lived to tell about it but not without spending the rest of the night awake because I was afraid to go to sleep again and have that happen. Sometimes larygospasms come in twos. So I got on facebook and talked to my friend who was having lunch in Budapest, checked my online bank balance and only got a little short of breath, and put on a nighshirt just in case.
Morale of the story is: Don’t sleep naked and hope that if you see the elephant he won’t let you on his back.
September 4, 2014 is a day I almost lost my oldest daughter. She was the victim on a (sudden) domestic assault. “Sudden” because he had never physically attacked her before. It was bad. It took a long time for him to beat her as she ran for hiding places in their apartment, FInally she made it almost out the door but fell, and he slammed the door on her legs repeatedly as she grasped onto her dog Lucy and tried to crawl out. It was then she thought to call for help. But the neighbours has already called 911. He was arrested and taken into custody. Because the apartment was in his name as he was the main wage earner (as a police officer) she was given 4 hours to move out of the apartment. FOUR HOURS to relocate her life, her belongings, with no where to go. Thanks to the kindness of friends,and my brother and sister-in-law re arranging their day to help her pack what she could in the time allotted (before he got out of jail) Emelia made it out with basically the clothes on her back and her cat and dog. She was unable to retrieve her furniture, her bed which was a good one, and he subsequently sold it all. She was battered, bruised, traumatized, frightened, and lost. She loved this man and thought he was the one, and as she said 90 percent of the time they had a wonderful time together, laughing, sharing interests, he was her best friend. So she lost her best friend that day in a way you never want to end things with someone you love.
There had been “signs” that all was not right with him. Arguments would be initiated over trivial things. He couldn’t let things go. He was controlling. He often tried to make her feel inadequate. Leading up to the beating (which you can imagine was well done as he was a trained police officer) there had been an escalation in his fighting mood, and I had to intervene a few times in the 48 hours preceding the event to calm him down and talk him out of his hysterics. My last words to Emelia the night before the attack, when I had spent two hours on the phone with them on speaker, mediating this argument, with him saying Emelia’s attempts to settle things were nothing more than sarcasm on her part (bizarre), my last words were “Milly you have to leave him ,you have to get out of there this weekend.” The next morning it happened. It started over her rubbing his arm as a way of saying good morning. He took offence and just started beating her. He smashed her lap top, broke her phone, ripped the closet door off and destroyed her clothes, he hit her everywhere but the face, bruised ribs, scratched up arms, bruised thighs, calves, severely sprained wrist when he bent it back as she tried to defend herself, and a couple of good punches in the stomach. Emelia had never been in a physical altercation before. She fled and ended up in the street below, calling me, barely audible between the sobs. she was in medical shock. The Vancouver Police Department treated her with dignity and care. After it was all over, the medical checks done, the photographs taken, the statements given. they took her to her friends house where she would couch surf until she figured out what to do, where to go, where to live and how to get furniture, even just a bed., to give her some dignity in her recovery to start over. He had sold her car, much of her furniture while they were together, replacing it with “new” stuff, he preferred things that way. A police officer even brought her some food at the end of it all after realizing she had not eaten all day, and they continued to check up on her from time to time, as did Crown Counsel. It was gold star treatment for a domestic assault victim and I owe the VPD a debt of gratitude to this day for treating my baby girl with kindness and grace. He lost his job with the police force. They don’t put up with bullshit like that. He was charged with assault, mischief and uttering threats. He was put on a one year peace bond. That ends next month. My daughter, on her own, found more work in order to be self sufficient and to start over, working two jobs, working to exhaustion some 18 hour days, managed to get her own apartment in a nice area of town, furnish it over time off Craigslist, make new friends now that he was no longer in control and isolatiog her, and she benefited from the one year of counselling the Victim Services offered to her and lucked out with a wonderful therapist who really knew how to communicate with Emelia at her level. Her level of mistrust, victimization, sadness, sarcasm, and high intellect. Emelia is the Gold Standard for women in domestic violence situations. she never let it happen a second time. She did not go back even though it would have been the easiest thing to do because he had the money, the home, all she had to do was tow the line and hope that something she said didn’t brew and boil over in his paranoid, narcisstic mind. All she had to do was walk on eggshells. She chose the hard road. And it was hard. There were many phone calls home crying, sobbing, scared for the future, was it worth it? Was she doing the right thing? Her body was aching, exhausted. She missed him. she missed the man in the times he wasn’t emotionally abusive and controlling, But she could not erase the memory of trying to escape and the beating getting worse as she tried to get out the door. She remembered her terror at leaving her cat in the apartment and worrying what he would do to him to get to her. She used her common sense, and she continued on a difficult, often isolated journey away from him and towards herself.
It has been a year. She is a new person. She is physically healthier, mentally healing, has a new job with lots of potential for income and growth, an apartment that is hers, and hers only, with furniture that is hers, and hers only. She will be buying a car this week to commute to her new job. She is on her way.Many women who were beaten a year ago by their boyfriends or husbands remain in that living situation. Some left and went back. Others made excuses, thought they could change him, thought if they only acted differently themselves he would stop getting mad
and using their body to take it out on. My daughter said once is too much, and fought her emotional instincts to go back. She followed her head not her heart. She will fall back in love one day, when she is ready. She still doesn’t trust totally. She still carries hurt from that day. But she is laughing again. She likes what she sees when she looks in the mirror. She has made new friends, not friends he approves of. She has rekindled friendships he did not allow. Emelia has defined herself at 25. She is a courageous, smart, kind, giving person, who wants to be loved, one day, by a man who will never put his hands on her except in affection. She is a self made woman, who came back from the brink of darkness and horror, and did it all by herself. As all women of abuse must. People can help you do it, but you have to make the decision to reach out and take what they are offering. Too many turn their backs and return to the darkness because it is easier.
Emelia Coryn is a warrior princess. She is not one to mess with. She is the true definition of an independent woman in 2015, and she is going to make a difference in the world. She is an artist, a writer, a cat and dog mom, an athlete, a tough mudder, an evolving gardener, a loyal friend, who has overcome disappointments in her life with grace and a lot of humour.
That’s MY girl.
Sunday is a day of rest, right? I like to think of it as such, especially with my life as I am lucky to rest, alone with my thoughts, free of demands made of my mother status, even whilst on the toilet. In fact, going there must send out a red alert to the previously occupied children that it is time to have a big fight with each other, make the dog yelp, break a window, or tell the Jehovah’s witness at the door that “mom is going poo, she will be there in a second.”
I have to plan my sleep-in days like a military operation. It requires a great deal of intelligence on “the enemy” (aka my children and pets and even my mother who, as an old person, goes to bed at like 7 pm, is up bright and early at 6 am and likes to call!) When her husband does this it is even worse because he sounds really really cheerful.
I am telling you, it is a war out there! A war against the most basic of human rights…..SLEEP!
That’s me third from the right ..marching like a warrior.
Reconnaissance, counter-insurgency, target acquisition, perhaps a convoy to ensure my peace and quiet in restful, mouth-open slumber for just a couple more hours.
Today is a perfect example of a planned Sunday morning sleep in. The insurgents??? Three teenagers, a ferret, and a sledge hammer and my dogs.
This is how it went down.
Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. Phone rings. My son is calling me from the soon-to-be-vacant house I am putting up for sale and currently working on FIXING IT UP A LITTLE!!
“Hi mom? Can I tear the kitchen apart?”
Me, thinking he is looking for something to eat, “No there is no food there anymore.”
Him, irritated, like I am supposed to know exactly why he needs to “tear my kitchen apart”, “My ferret stuck her head in a hole by the dishwasher, well, sort of a hole. We have to take it apart, we have a sledge hammer.”
Me…silence as I try to wake up a little from my intended noon sleep in mission.
“What hole?” I ask.
Capital letters now because he is annoyed and talking to me like I am a deaf dense old lady. |”IT’S HARD TO EXPLAIN, WE JUST HAVE TO CHOP OUT SOME STUFF AND TAKE THE CUPBOARD APART.”
Me…”Well I guess if yo have to do this to save the ferret’s life, ok, but……”
Him, “That’s all we needed to know.”
Then I hear my cell phone beep and since I have one eye open anyway, I reach over and look.
Here is the photo he sent me.
(please note all kitchen cupboard doors had been ON yesterday when I was there CLEANING up the kitchen!) And I think that’s a drill on the counter next to someone’s shoes!!!
And this is NOT my ferret….I don’t care for ferrets…they make me stand on a chair when I see one…..it is not even supposed to be at the house.
So Operation Ferret Recovery was completed with the ferret being alive and well and drinking alot (as I am right now) with, sadly, the cupboard doors “accidentally” splitting in half (I suspect the sledge hammer combined with teenage panic) and the bottom shelf of the under-the-sink cupboard suffering grave injuries. Not to mention to carved hole in the corner to the left of the ferrets head….I am sure this will all make for glorious selling features!!
My son said that he and his friend would “look for” some wood clue today and try to glue the cupboard back to a whole from two halves.
So, I hung up the phone, rolled over and went back to sleep, hoping to survive the “War on Slumber.” Problem is my dogs were determined not to wave the white flag.
My daughter Emma who got into bed to sleep with me suddenly asked ” What’s that smell?”
I guess one, or five of the dogs decided to drop some “biological” weapons because they had been kept contained too long. Dammit.
So I gave up. And not quietly. I kind of had a tantrum. I threw the covers back dramatically mumbling a profane run-on-sentence that certainly lacked decorum, stomped out of bed and right onto an improvised “land mine” left by one of my loose-boweled canines.
This was not my finest hour.
I could have been someone young, thin, sexy, hot, a talented singer, dancer, entertainer, just like the people sitting next to me on stage at the Tidemark Theater last Friday night. The world was my oyster. My mind was free to be whoever I chose. In public, on stage and raising money for any cause I could think of.
Why was I not Angelina Jolie (beautifully sculptured cheek bones, not an ounce of fat on her and gets to sleep with Brad Pitt – dammit) No. I am an 82 year old short plump slightly bad tempered monarch who gets to sleep with Prince Philip every second Thursday and one Saturday a month……come on!!!!