Thursday, November 25, 2010

Burns and Compassion

After my husbands arrest in August of 2008 I was stressed beyond belief.  We had just moved in to this new city.  I knew no one.  I did not drive so visiting my kids was impossible.  My disability did not even cover the rent let alone any other expenses.  I looked at my dogs and cried.  With the sick place my mind was I thought that my husband was the only person on earth that might ever love me.  I thought I could not live or function without him.  My depression worsened.  After a week I called his boss to see how he was doing.  I talked to them about the upcoming rent and my worries.  They said they would talk to him.  A few days later the extra money I needed to pay the rent and some bills appeared in my mail box.  I could breath for one more month. 

2 weeks later I got a call from his boss telling me that my husband was in the hospital.  That he had been in an explosion and had sever burns to his hands and face.  But that the hospital was releasing him and he had no place to go.  I told his boss that there was a no contact order in place and she told me that if it was her husband she would show some compassion and bring him home.  So I told her if she heard from him to tell him to come home.  When he showed up I was in shock.  I didn't recognize him.  He had third degree and second degree burns to his hands and face.  I asked him what had happened.  He had been living in our Suburban for the past several weeks and to keep warm and to cook his food he was using our little propane barbecue to cook in the car.  He said one night he had thought he had turned off the propane but clearly he had not.  In the morning when he woke up he went to light his cigarette and the air exploded around him.  Burned up the inside of the suburban pretty good.  Someone the explosion and call the fire department.

For the next week and a half I waited on him and took care of his every need.  When he was well enough he left.  He was worried about being caught by the cops.  Though every so many nights he did come back for a night and a good meal. 

At the end of September I went to the mental health department and asked for a therapist.  I started seeing her weekly.  By the second visit she was asking me if anyone had suggested I attend domestic violence consoling.  I told her no.  She asked if the department was aware of my husbands abuse and attempts to kill me.  I told her yes.  He had told them himself.  She was shocked that they didn't even suggest domestic violence consoling or any other services that might help me since it was so obvious that I was suffering from sever spousal abuse.  She suggested I attend a women's group at the women's shelter for just that purpose.  She also set up an appointment with a psychiatrist that she said was very good.  She also asked what parenting classes the department suggested.  I said they never told me what ones to attend.  They just said to attend parenting classes.  So she put me on the waiting list for the 2 main ones that she knew the department in this city always suggested.

I started the women's group with my service dog and at first I was really nervous but after a while I started to open up some.  I was so confused.  I wanted my husband still but I wanted the abuse to stop.  During all of this I was calling my kids several times a week to talk to them but had not been able to see them for lack of funds and transportation.  Then in November my brother in law died of cancer.  So my husband and I drove there for the funeral.  On the way we stopped at my mothers house to drop off some presents for the kids.  When we walked in my 3yr old son was sitting on the time out stool against a wall soak and wet and shivering.  I asked my mother what she was doing.  She showed me a spray bottle and told me the department told her that she could spray my son in the face if he talked back or threw a tantrum on the stool during a time out.  I was shocked but said nothing.  After the funeral when we got back I placed a call the next day to the department.  I told them what I had saw and what she had said.  The worker was sceptical of my story and said that they never told that to my mother.  They later told me they called her and she denied it and when they spoke to the children a few days later they also denied it.  When I heard this I started to feel cold with fear.  The lies and cover ups were starting and I had no idea what I could do about it.

That Christmas was so tight that I had no money to get the kids anything.  I applied with the city for the adopt a family program and also a friend of mine that was 3 hours away got a collection of toys and presents from friends of hers.  All of this we got together and then a few days before Christmas my husband brought it down to the kids.  I found out a few months later that many of the toys were either given away or thrown out and she later claimed that we didn;t give the kids anything for that Christmas.  Also in that month my husband and I were caught breaching the no contact order.  I was put on a 3 month probation and the judge was very kind.  He understood women that had been abused by their husbands like I was and understood the hold on them.  He told me to seek help.  The logical part of my brain knew he was right.  The sick part didn't and didn't see anything beyond my husband.

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