Anger and Tears – Domestic Violence and My Friend

(I recently rediscovered this post and decided to share it again.  It is bittersweet, but I felt the subject of domestic violence made it worthwhile to repost.)

Driving to my niece’s wedding two weeks ago, we passed two county sheriff’s vehicles and a state trooper’s car, all running with lights and sirens, as we made our way through town that afternoon. They were heading in the opposite direction, and I was (almost) wishing it wasn’t my day off – so I would be at work and know what was going on.  But we continued on, and I knew I would hear about it a few days later at briefing when I went back to work.

Over the weekend I heard that a woman in my little home town had been shot and killed on the street the previous day. This was the reason for the sheriff and state trooper response.  The man who killed her had been found and arrested that night.

It wasn’t until I went back to work two days later that I realized the woman who was killed was a friend and high school classmate. She and I had been friends since freshman year of high school, both of us very involved in the drama club and the school newspaper.  She had been a nurse for 25 years, and worked at a nearby nursing home and care center.  She and I regularly attended the same church.

We held her memorial service today at that church. It was a packed house.  I shed more tears than I expected.

My friend, like so many other women, was a victim of domestic violence.  She had been in a relationship that turned abusive. I don’t know exactly how long she struggling with the weight of all this; she wasn’t the kind of person to complain or make a big deal about her problems.  She was always more concerned about other people and their problems, and doing whatever was in her power to help them.  She was kind, and generous, and had a smile that could melt an iceberg and light up a stadium.

She had a restraining order against her abuser her a few weeks prior to her death, and he was sent to jail.   Numerous times today I heard people say she was lately starting to blossom again, starting to dream again, and was more joyful and full of life.  She was restored into the lively and loving friend we all remembered.  And this man put an end to that.  He stole a precious life away from us.

Even though I know I will see her again in heaven, and there is comfort in that, there is a part of me – the very honest, human part – that is so angry he could do that, would do that. The pain he induced, breaking her spirit while she lived and then ultimately taking her life, makes me so angry.

Statistics say that the most dangerous time for a woman who is experiencing domestic violence is when she leaves her abuser. Unfortunately, that was true in my friend’s case.  Her abuser walked away from his prison work release program, found her and shot her.

As a 911 call taker, I often speak with callers who are involved in a domestic violence situation.  They are scared for their lives because a spouse or significant other is drinking and has a history of violence toward them (for example:  Calls Like This Make Me Love My Job!   ).  A fellow dispatcher was recently forced to listen as an abusive boyfriend broke through a bathroom door and basically executed the young female caller while she was on the phone with the dispatcher.

It’s not fair. She didn’t deserve this to happen to her; not any of it.  None of them deserve it.  She was one of the most giving and decent people on the planet.  God had gifted her with a beautiful and precious spirit, and she shared it with so many people.  She was called an angel, disguised as a nurse.  I know we should be glad for the time we were able to spend with her.  I just wish it could have been longer.  I hope the pain and tears go away.  But I hope the anger and outrage never does.



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