Sometimes I think those signs aren’t just giving us directions while we drive or walk they’re like signposts alerting us to that bump we are about to hit in our personal life.
I haven’t felt like posting for a week now. I have certainly been walking across a bit of a rough surface and it’s not because of my bad leg.
He came after her with an axe. It sounds like the opening line to a scary novel or the opening scene of the latest slasher flick, doesn’t it?
But it really happened. Those of you who have read this blog for a while (and I thank you SOOOO much) will know of my sister’s volatile marriage and the history of domestic abuse she has endured.
I haven’t written about her situation for a while because things have been quiet –almost too quiet. The thing with an addict (my sister’s husband) is that even when they are not engaging in their addictive behaviours they are still addicted. You can see the lure of the addiction lurking behind their eyes. The last time I saw my brother-in-law I saw his addiction like an aura hovering above his head, almost made flesh. And I knew. I knew she was gonna blow.
My brother-in-law went after my sister with an axe last week. At 11AM. He had been drinking since dawn and had consumed over 14 bottles of beer. I couldn’t consume even half of that without ending up in hospital but he did and he kept moving like a demon from the pits of hell rising up through the fire.
After the 14th bottle of beer he realised he had run out and told my sister to go and get some more. She refused and that’s when he blew.
I’ll spare you most of the details. They are actually quite upsetting for me to write about. My sister is physically unharmed but he was arrested and charged with 6 offenses including arson (he threw furniture out onto the front lawn and set fire to it,) resisting arrest (he swung a punch at a cop,) and cruelty to animals (he poured petrol into my sister’s fish tank.) He may go to jail for up to 4 years.
Miraculously, the fish survived. One of the female police officers was a fishkeeper herself and she filled the bathtub with water, purified it and got them out of the contaminated tank. Her actions really saved them all. As of today they all seem completely fine even the old granddaddy fish – Cedric – who is over ten years old. It would have killed me if he hadn’t made it.
On Monday I went with my sister to court. There is an AVO (apprehended violence order) against her husband that needed to be brought into effect. He is not allowed to be violent towards her (including verbally) for the next two years. Nor is he allowed to drink. If he does he will go immediately to jail.
It was so depressing at the court house. Most of the cases there on that particular day were to do with domestic violence and it was heartbreaking to see it. Not just the black eyes and bruises but the lowered glances and almost palpable loss of any kind of hope.
As we sat in the waiting room I prayed that as a result of my sister witnessing all that misery that she would stand up and say – ENOUGH, ALREADY . I’M OUT OF HERE – and would get the next train out of her one-horse town (or maybe in her case just move in with our parents.) But she didn’t. And she hasn’t.
Her husband came after her with an axe and even that – something that could have killed her – isn’t enough to make her leave. When I realised she wasn’t going to leave the enormity of the whole thing just hit me and I had the worst panic attack I have ever had. I couldn’t catch my breath at all. I really thought I was going to die. I am powerless to help my little baby sister. He might kill her. She has an AVO against him and they are still living in the same house. The whole thing is so messed up I can’t even begin to figure it out.
I’ve asked WHY a million times. I’ve read all about domestic violence. I’ve had friends who have stayed and who have left marriages which were subject to violence. I know how hard it is to go but an axe – an axe. You’re not going to bounce back from that one.
I don’t know what to do. I really don’t. For the first time ever I am really angry with my sister for letting this be her life. For making this be all our lives. I just don’t get it.
I saw an old neighbour of mine at the shops the other day and she said I looked stressed and wondered if it was because of my injury. My injury is fine. It’s almost completely healed, but I said it was bothering me a bit because I couldn’t tell her the truth, I couldn’t say: My brother-in-law threatened my sister’s life with an axe and she hasn’t left him. How can you say that out loud? How can you say it? Most people wouldn’t understand why a woman in that situation wouldn’t run for here life. Truth be told, I don’t really understand.
Do me a favour will you? If you are in a relationship where there is mutual respect and care and consideration and love; where all you have to complain about is that your spouse leaves the toilet seat up or always eats the last piece of cake; give that person the most enormous hug you ever have. Right now. Tell them what they mean to you. It sounds cliched but those people really are the salt of the earth. The SALT. They make life worth living. When we see a road sign that indicates there is a rough surface ahead we know we can walk on the road without falling because of them, because they are there for us, because they keep us safe. Hug them tight right now and don’t let them go for the longest time.
Hold them tight.