Friday, March 29, 2013

My Near Death Experience

The last EMDR (Eye movement desensitization reprogramming therapy) session I had with my counselor was on my father strangling me. The vision in my head of it then, is so different from what it is now. 
I loved to dance. I still do.
Back then my best friend Jennie and I would go tearing down the road in the middle of winter in what we called our “slidey shoes” whipping down the side roads that were covered in ice. She would pull me down the road like a racehorse, both of us giggling like a couple school girls… then I would pull her…I’m sure there were times that we played “crack the whip” …kind of like you do in roller skating days back…and I’m sure the both of us ended up flat on our backs on the road laughing like a couple of crazy teenage girls. What a memory. We’d go racing down the hill fast as we could to get to the galleria. A dance place that no matter what the weather was like outside, there you could let off steam.
 One weekend they had an all-night party at the Gallereia all the way into the wee hours of the morning. Jenn and I were the last to leave. We were there till 7 am!
But this is not that memory. There’s nothing happy about it.
The night I came home from dancing and tried to sneak Spaghetti out of the fridge.
In my house eating after 10 was a cardinal sin.  You ate after 10 am for breakfast or 10 pm for dinner you were in trouble. That I almost died for eating is laughable. It doesn’t make any sense. But in my parents’ house, nothing made sense.

Many times before, when he beat me, I would pass out. I know what passing out feels like. Many times over.
Everything goes black. When my dad hit my head against the wall and I passed out, I was not coherent and not hearing anyone till I came to.
One week before I almost died, I had a gym class where they had taught self-defense.  I had thought at the time that maybe I could finally fight him off.  I learned the techniques. I realize now how sad that is, that I even had to feel that way.
I remember opening the fridge because I was hungry and the next thing I knew, I was staring into the angry eyes of my father.
He started to attack me, and I did the first thing I could think of that they had told us to do with an attacker.
I grabbed at the softest part of his body parts, if you get my drift.
That took a hell of a lot of guts for me. Usually, when he attacked me, I would go completely limp. Like someone who had just given up. Like a prize fighter who realizes they have just lost a fight and all the light goes out of their eyes.
But I should not have had to feel like a prize fighter. I should have been allowed to be a kid.
I should have been allowed to eat, damn it.
Instead, any time I went the least bit out of what THEY thought was out of line, (Eating for instance) I got beaten into submission.
I swatted weakly at my father, who now had his hands around my throat.
I was looking up into the face of a mad man, completely out of control. It didn’t even look like him to me; it looked like a man possessed, someone alien to me, this red faced, spitting monster with his hands so tight around my throat. It felt like he wanted to will me out of existence with his bare hands.
Suddenly everything went black.  I stopped struggling because it didn’t hurt anymore.
I didn’t feel his hands around my neck and I didn’t have to struggle to breathe anymore. And strangely, there was peace. I have never felt anything like it in this life.
There was chaos all around me. One of my sisters told me my face was blue.  I could still feel myself there even though I was gone. I could hear EVERYTHING going on around me. I had a heightened sense of awareness even. And I could hear my mother yelling “You killed her”!!! And though I was trying to move to let them know that they were wrong that no, I was still alive, I couldn’t move.  Which led me to believe, maybe I wasn’t  breathing. All I could think was…huh….I’m not breathing. It doesn’t hurt anymore.

All around me there was chaos.
All I could see was blackness, but there was an indescribable love. Pure, unadulterated love that just flowed through me. Told me everything would be ok, that even though I wasn’t breathing, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was love. Everything that I had felt was in the past.
I have heard people who have had near death experiences say that they felt that love and weren’t worried.
I wasn’t worried.
One woman even said that when she was in a car accident and lost a daughter she felt that love. As she was walking down a corridor with her little one, that little one kept walking to the end of the corridor without her and she knew it was ok to let her daughter go.
That feeling she had is what I believe I felt.  It was ok to let go because she felt that love. She felt that peace and she was able to let go.
I was able to feel that love. I was enveloped in it. I knew it. It was familiar. Everything else didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that love. I was held in it. Cradled in it.
It was like God held me in his hands. I was held by love. Telling me that despite it all, he has always been the one in control.
People talk about that darkness before they go through the tunnel.
I think I didn’t go “far enough down the rabbit hole” to see that tunnel.
Suddenly I gasped and I was back.
When I got up, my mother gasped. The whole family stared at me.
Nobody said a word.
The only thing I could think of, in that awkward moment was “I had to get a drink of water”.
My throat was on fire. For at least a week afterwords, I was hoarse. It was hard to talk.
Out of habit, and out of a feeling of after that experience, I desperately wanted comfort.

So I walked to the sink, and picked up a tiny red plastic cup that I had been using since childhood. When I was little I would beg my mother to get me water from that cup. It must have been so annoying to fill it soooo many times. BUT, she would fill it over and over for me.
I realized that I had so many eyes on me, but that I was totally alone. I filled up that cup on my own that time.
I took a sip, and this intense, burning hatred just welled up in me. I just couldn’t stand it anymore.  I threw the cup, water and all at my father.
And he tore after me down the stairs and, as usual, shoved the door to the downstairs bathroom right over my foot. Usually after he beat me he’d come in and force me to let him clean me up, which was even more humiliating.  THIS time, he came right in and started in on me again. Bam bam bam…my blood from my nose going everywhere…

Next thing I knew, our neighbor was standing in the doorway of the bathroom.
“GEORGE!!!” She screamed.
What happened after that was a whirlwind of police, going to the police station, questions, answers, and a terrified 16 year old girl, cracking jokes and pretending to be ok when inside I wished I really WAS dead so I didn’t have to go back to who knows what punishment.
My sister said that one other time I was choked, but I don’t remember.  Ava called the cops, or tried to. He stopped strangling me and said to her “What are you doing!”  To which she said “What am I doing?? Look what YOUR doing!” And he stopped.
After that incident, the phone was always dead. No one could call the cops whenever I was being abused. Which I have said before is a strange, STRANGE coincidence. (Did my father take it off the hook before he beat me? Or did my mother do it?) My sister Lauren had to desperately run to the neighbor’s house 3 doors down to finally call the cops on the day I almost died.

That God held my life in his hands and didn't end it speaks volumes to me. He CHOSE not to end it.
My life had only JUST begun.



4 comments:

  1. Re-reading this now that I have some time to focus & really take it in. I am happy that you are finding healing. No one should ever have to go through this.

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    1. I agree.... no child should ever have to go through anything so traumatic.luckily I have been led everywhere I need to go for healing. which continues everyday.

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