October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Today is the last day of October, so I want to write one last passage related to Domestic Violence.
There is someone very dear to me who has been reading these passages this month, a friend of mine from the time after my escape. In the ‘getting by and trying to make ends meet’ phase of raising Angel on my own, I had the good fortune to meet a woman who was an enormous blessing to me. We shared laughter through the toughest of times.
My friend had a daughter Angel’s age, so when we could get together, the girls got to play. However, as was often the case, we had our chats on the phone after the girls were tucked in for the night. I lived across town from her and didn’t have a car at the time, so getting together was a challenge.
Once in a while, I would read to my friend over the phone. Angel liked Amelia Bedelia books – probably because mommy laughed when she read them. I’m not sure she understood the humor in the author’s use of literal and figurative language, but I thought Peggy Parish’s books were funny and so did my friend. I would only read one book at a time when I had one from the library, but it broke the ice for other adult conversation that I so desperately needed. I have fond memories of sitting on the kitchen floor, legs stretched out in front of me, balancing a book in my lap and trying to turn the pages with one hand while I held the phone in the other.
When the laughter subsided, we were able to hear each other out and we’d talk for a while. I have always been so very grateful.
Once, my friend told me that she needed some parsley for something. I had some to share. A postage stamp was cheaper than a jar of the dried herb or the bus fare to deliver it to her, so I sprinkled some of my parsley into a paper that I carefully folded to hold it. I sent it across town to her. When it arrived in her mail, she gave me a phone call and asked me if I had sent her some marijuana.
At the time, I couldn’t even imagine why she had asked me that question. I didn’t do drugs. As it turned out, en route to her mailbox, my green dried parsley had turned a very different color. We both had a great laugh over that, but I still think of it when I plant my parsley and dry it at the end of the season.
This post isn’t about Amelia Bedelia or parsley as much as it is about healing and moving on. Healing doesn’t happen overnight and moving on can be total crap with every footfall for a while, but with friends who ‘get it’, there is always hope and a shoulder to lean on.
To my friend: a world of thanks to you. I was just in your old neighborhood last week. Who knew that I would later come to know that the building across the street from where you lived would be an important part of my career. I don’t get there often, but when I do, I send you good wishes wrapped in gratitude and memories. We made a new ‘normal’ didn’t we?
To anyone who stops here and needs to know: “Hands are not for hitting. Words are not for hurting.” Neither is acceptable behavior. I have a T-shirt with those words on it. I bought it years ago from the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women in a grassroots campaign to prevent battering before it starts. I am not wearing that shirt today. It’s black and I have it tucked away for safe keeping.
Today, I am wearing purple . . . because it I like it and it looks good on me!