Now We Know

But didn’t we already? I mean, really, deep down?

Oh, my. I didn’t think knowing her cause of death would hurt so much. I’ve tried not to get swept up in the frenzy of pre-judgment, the swirling sea of speculation and conclusion-jumping. I have kept my distance from the personal pain of her family, her loved ones…even the pain of onlookers and hang-arounds.

It still hurts. Even though I see some truth in certain societal prejudice creating a higher level of media interest, still it hurts. For me, I think it lies in her openness, naiveté. So schoolgirl-ish, eager to please. Happy. Blonde. Hopeful.

A Different free-spirited blonde: “Party Girl”©SusanToddMartin2019(sold)

That is not her fault. And it doesn’t do to focus on the social imbalance, not right now. Some may disagree, and stand on soap boxes and toot their messages throughout the land. That’s for them.

A never-silent voice from my past: “I can still “Reach Out and Touch You”©SusanToddMartin2018 ; even past State lines, from prison bonds and the grave his hold still haunts me at times…Such is the legacy of domestic violence.

For me? It hurts. Like a baby bird fallen from it’s nest, limp in my hands, I want to fix her. I want to swaddle her in my favorite fuzzy blanket, hold her like Mary holding Jesus. I did not know you, Gabby, but I know you. e

You were me, at 17, drinking beer with my friends and my new boyfriend. When, in an instant a fist struck my laughing, open mouth. Spitting beer and a piece of tooth out behind a tree where he had marched me, saying I would ‘never disrespect him in public’.

I closed my laughing mouth that day, at least when it came to telling anyone about abuse. I could talk about “anything” to family, anything but THAT. And, for me a huge part of the silence was shame and embarrassment. How could I admit I got it so wrong? The family wanted the future marriage with all the trappings, wedding albums, grandkids. They bought him Christmas gifts, let him sleep in their home, share the holiday table. Giggling with Mom and friends over future plans, seeing the romantic movies, going to the weddings of siblings and friends. So much family pride at a daughter married off…

I remember my brother glimpsing him treating me bad, some rude remark made on the side, my face burning with embarrassment: He sat me down the next day, “Don’t go with him, he’s no good…” But Dad would have a Scotch on the porch with my abuser, making jokes about ‘the womenfolk” and “keeping a firm hand”, the knowing glances and cigars puffed…WAIT!! I wanted to scream. I don’t want this anymore!!

But the abuser promised behind closed doors : ” If I can’t have you nobody can…”

My heart cries out for the loss of a beautiful life, for the suffering of her family, and empathy for millions of others who have had to suffer and/or die at the hands of their mate…the person closest to them. I hope that others who are in violent relationships can tell a trusted confidante, find a safe exit and save their lives. Better yet, learn to treasure the life they have, value themselves without settling for a boyfriend of girlfriend who hurts them(mentally or physically). Take Gabby’s tale to heart, and live!!


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