Angels Along the Way Angels Along the Way

I never considered myself a victim of Domestic Violence. I thought it was just fighting with my husband when he came home drunk or didn't come home at all. I was very much in Lust with him and wanted to stay true to my wedding vows: in good times and bad; however, the bad seemed to outweigh the good.

My first child was born in 1980 and had open heart surgery at 7 months old. While she was fighting for her life; he was fighting me and wanting to live the single life. God sent the Angels to wrap their wings around me and give me the strength I needed to focus on her. My daughter was the Star that shined bright in the midst of all the darkness. Even after all that, I still wanted to honor my vows for better or worse. I was ready to leave with my child and raise her by myself when I found out that I was pregnant. For richer or poorer--now how was I going to take care of two children by myself?

In 1982 a son was born who became the Sunshine in my life in the midst of all the storms that I was facing. When I came home after working overtime that Saturday, I opened the door to find my children (both under two years old) left in the house alone. I was the one working while they were at home with their father, but because I did not get there in time for him to go out, he left. I finally understood after the police officer told me that I needed to consider leaving (that was the Angel of Safety), so, I began to plan my escape after he was arrested on other charges. He called me at work, threatening to kill himself and the children. He left jail on work release, came to our home, and cut up all my clothes. While he was at work, I packed up all I could with the help of my brothers and moved into my new apartment.

After about 6 months of living a peaceful life with my children, he found out where we lived and wanted his family back. He was moving out of state and wanted us to join him for a new life. By this time I was out of Lust with him and wanted nothing to do with him. What about the children, don't they have a right to have the total family package? I was raised by my Mother and had always dreamed of the happy family with Mommy and Daddy and the house on the hill surrounded by the white picket fence. So I moved to Reno, Nevada in hopes that my children would have the life I had always dreamed.

Till death do us part-- After the honey moon stage was over, he stopped coming home from work. We only had one vehicle, so I was isolated and I only knew the people he knew. He accused me of sleeping with his friends and actually blacked my eye one night. He would say to me that if I didn't act like a man and fight back that he wouldn't hit me. The final straw was a knock at the door with a woman asking me to tell my husband to stay away from her. He was asleep on the sofa and would not respond to my calling his name. So, I picked up the machete and began to chase him around the house. It was not until I heard my 4 year old daughter screaming at me and telling me that we don't have to take this and we can move back to Kansas City (The Angel of Wisdom). I began to put my plan in place and we left heading to KC. I never looked back and I prayed for God to take the hatred out of my heart and turn it into Love for my children. I am a "Survivor" of Domestic Violence and it is because God sent his "Angels along the Way" to guide, protect and love me. He carried me on those long journeys through life when I didn't have the courage or strength to walk. I now have the angel of "Love" looking over me "My Mother."

Artist's Note: A major reason why survivors stay or return to the abuser are the children. She wants her kids to have a healthy family, but wanting and getting are two different things. Often survivors find themselves in this emotional entrapment of cultural views, i.e. wedding vows, and lose themselves in trying to make the relationship work. In the case of this beautiful and loving person, she listened to the angels around her, telling her that she "doesn't have to take it." With all that in the past now, the angels have spoken again and she has chosen to use her experience to help others by developing Moma's House, a transitional living facility and healing program for young women. She is an angel herself.