The spirit of man can endure only so much and when it is broken only a miracle can mend it. John BurroughsSeven years. Seven years equals two-thousand, five hundred and fifty-four days. (there was a leap year in there). Another way to look at it is as sixty-one thousand two-hundred and ninety-six hours, or three million six-hundred and seventy-seven thousand seven hundred and sixty minutes.
No matter how I look at it, it is significant time. Significant moments to live this one wild and precious life in the rapture of now.
And that's me.
Seven years ago today, I awoke to a beautiful May morning. Crystal blue sky. Birds chirping in the trees. Sunlight sparkling on the water flowing lazily by. The world was awash in colour and sound and texture and smell and feeling and I was numb. Cold. Frozen in time. Stuck in a time warp where I believed the only way out was for 'him', the one who controlled me, owned me, determined my fate, to kill me.
And I waited.
On this morning seven years ago today, I stood out by the river sipping a cup of coffee thinking about all that I had lost. About my daughters who were so lost to me and yet, in my mind at that time, so much better off without me. I couldn't let myself think about the alternative. That what I was doing, what I had done, had hurt them. I knew it had -- but I told myself -- being there with them, being there with him, that would have been worse.
I stood outside watching the river pass by and prayed for this pain, this horrid existence to end. I prayed for an ending and a blue and white police cruiser drove into the driveway opening the door to a new beginning. I remember holding my breath as I watched them pull up. I didn't dare think. I didn't dare let any thought go for fear they'd hear me and drive away thinking, 'we've come to the wrong place'. I remember watching two car doors open up, two police officers get out and I smiled. I smiled. Just like a normal person with nothing to hide would smile.
And behind that smile, I remember the fear. Deep. Visceral. Aching. Burning fear. It clawed at my belly. Dug into my spine and gripped me in its jaws of steel. It held me silent. Held me in place, in that place defying gravity's pull that would have lifted me off and catapulted me into the cosmos -- a fleck of dust with no value in this realm.
The police approached. Asked for Conrad and I pointed up above the garage beside which I stood. there was a beautiful lofted room up there. A lovely hideaway where we had been hiding out for the past four months as Conrad struggled to find a way to get out of the country and I struggled to keep myself in that space where I did not awaken his anger. Where I did not do or say or look or feel something that would cause him to scream and yell at me.
I pointed towards the staircase and led the way. Ellie, normally excited to see visitors, cowered beside me as I walked up the outside staircase to the room where Conrad lay sleeping. One of the officers asked, "Who are you? The wife?"
I remember thinking. "Who am I?" I didn't know. I had no idea.
I opened the door. Conrad was lying in the bed. The TV blared. I announced our visitors and in that moment, time shifted. Life changed and everything was different.
In that moment, I knew -- I had received a miracle. And in that miracle, life suddenly had promise, possibility, potential. I couldn't see the challenges of the road ahead. I couldn't see the darkness that would still want to steal my peace of mind, or the fear that would erupt in moments of distress, but in that moment I could see the truth -- they were taking him away. Removing him from my path.
I'd say it was an answer to a prayer. But it wasn't. I didn't prayer for all those months for him to disappear. I'd prayed for me to vanish. To be erased. To be gone.
Note to self. When a miracle walks in, don't sweat the details. Embrace the reality of the moment and live it up.
Seven years ago today I was set free.
In my freedom, I have learned to dance, to sing, to rejoice in all that is miraculous and marvelous and unbelievably true about me. Beauty and the beast, I have learned to embrace all of me. I have learned to wonder in the wonder of me -- and not to sweat the small stuff.
I am blessed.
Seven years ago today, I believed all hope was lost.
Today, I know the truth. Hope was never lost. I was.
And now I'm found.