Beyond Violence - Moving Forward
By Christine Dubey
It was as if it just happened yesterday about (18) eighteen years ago tonight. My  husband whose six years my younger and we were married under two years. Our first son was less than a year when this happened. The honeymoon was over before it had begun. He was drinking all day into the early afternoon. He was drunker than drunk. There was no romantic honeymoon night. That should have been my first red flag thrown.
 He was an alcoholic and it took me months of living in denial before I could come to that realization. I thought, No please I couldn’t have made a mistake again! I’m smarter than that!Anyways, the night before the chaos he had got drunk again and passed out on the coach. His drinking buddy friend had called to talk to him, but he was too tired and still mad at him from the other night of drinking with him that even turned into my X punching him in the eye. He talked to his friend anyways for about a few minutes, told him he was too tired, and then hung up on him.
     His friend called back and demanded to talk to him. I told him he doesn’t want to come to the phone he wants to sleep. He said it was urgent and pleaded with me again. I tried to wake him but he was insistent he wasn’t moving from that couch.
I told his friend but he said he wasn’t hanging up the phone until he came to the phone. I asked if I could help but he said no he wanted my husband. So I said okay and just left the phone off the hook with it dangling down to the floor then went to bed. I thought he’s drunk; he’ll fall asleep while waiting on the phone. An hour later I got up from an unsettling sleep while thinking of him still possibly still on the phone. I checked, thought I heard snoring and hung up the phone. I seemed eerie and thought maybe I should go to his apartment but thought I’d better not.
     The next morning I dropped my sons off at daycare and school then went to work at the hospital. I got a call from my husband at work. He said, "His friend had just hung himself in the shower." Apparently he had gotten so drunk, he passed out and accidentally had the phone chord over the shower head, it cut off his oxygen, then died. I was shocked, angered, and then felt responsible for his death as did a lot of other people. I stayed at work till my shift was over, picked up my sons, went home. My first two sons were from my first marriage and were picked up by their father. It was just my youngest son who was about a year old and I left in the house alone.
     My husband still wasn’t home and missed dinner. I worried that he would either seriously kill himself and or be drinking and doing drugs over the incident with his friend. I feared how he would be when he got home. I put our son done to sleep in his crib.
It was about nine o’clock when he stumbled through the door. Just as I suspected he was drunk. I prayed he would just go to bed and not want me for sex. (When he was drunk he wanted sex whether I wanted to or not. If I didn’t have sex with him I was accused of having sex with another man. Most of the time he either forced sex on me or I would give him...…… just to get him to fall asleep and not have to worry what he was going to do or say to me. I soon began to hate the smell of beer.)
     He surprised me by just sitting down on the couch and watched TV with me, I was on pins and needles waiting for that other shoe to drop, and it always does. About a half hour of watching TV, he just stood up and went into the bathroom. He was in there longer than usually. I thought maybe he was either hugging the toilet or taking a shower. I heard a couple of loud noises and wondered what he was doing.
He then came out quickly, sat back down on the couch again. Then about ten minutes later he said, "I just tried to hang myself in the shower." (My thoughts at this time were; I was angry with him for trying yet again, not telling me before going in there so I could call 911 or the helpline, and he’s done this soooooo many times before but usually by overdosing with pills. I was so tired of hearing this and him not doing anything about it. I just shrugged it off for the first time and told him to call 911 if he felt that way.
     I tried to leave him many times but he always got to me by threatening and really trying to overdose himself or say he was suicidal.)This is what I said to him, "Oh well, I’m glad it didn’t work and that your okay." "You know you can call helpline that I embedded the number into the framework with red ink whenever you need it.
Just then still drunk, he stood up again suddenly from the couch and said, "You’d better call the police now while you can." I ask why. Do you still want to kill yourself?" (Following him into our sons room while he was still sleeping) He said, "I’m staying next to his crib go do what you must do."
     I quickly started heading towards the kitchen to where the phone was calling his bluff by hoping he’ll follow me to get him away from our son who was still sleeping. He began following as I knew he would but surprised me by punching out windows beginning in the living room and now into the kitchen. I continued reaching for the kitchen phone on the wall which seemed I was going in slow motion or it was all a dream. They didn’t have cell phones in those days.
I dialed 911 and talked to the policemen. He was asking me my address and what was going on at the same time my husband was smashing more of the window, turning over the kitchen table and now the chairs one by one. The officer on the line asked if I was okay and did I fear for my life. I said come quickly I don’t know what he’s going to do I’ve never seen him quite this way before.
      He told me to stay on the line. I complied with the officer until my husband left the room and was heading toward our son again. I told the officer I couldn’t stay on the phone any longer in fear what he was going to do next. The officer was pleading with me to stay on the line as I dropped the phone to the floor to run after him.
     My husband headed right for our son and again he put the side down on his crib but thank God he was still asleep as I put the side back up. My husband was again was crouched down on the floor to the side of his crib. He said to me, "Don’t touch our son." "I’m not going anywhere without him and if I touch him he was going to leave with him."I then quickly but walked back towards the kitchen to first lock the door so he couldn’t get out. (If he left the apartment I would have stayed up all night worried what or when he would be like when he came back again and the police were on their way.)
Then I started over toward the phone when he tried to open the door. "He said to me open the door." I said no, the police are coming and you’re going to stay here and wait for them." Just then he grabs my throat and started strangling me. I thought, oh my God why did I lock that door? I can’t scream or cry out help! He’s choking me even harder as I try to squirm away and move his arms off my neck, but to no avail. I then thought of my sons away with their father and our son lying awake now in his crib. What was he going to do with him after I’m gone?
     His hands kept getting tighter & tighter around my throat until I couldn’t breathe. I could hear sounds on the front porch coming through the broken window. I was thinking, if only I hadn’t locked that door! What was I thinking! Where are the police? Is that policemen still on the phone? Can he hear anything? Did he send a cruiser because I don’t even hear the sirens?!
It was just like a thriller scene from the movies. I was trying to stretch my arm and hand to reach the doorknob to unlock the door but my arm was about five inches too short. I know there must be police out there I hear someone. His hands tightened more, now there was no more air to breathe.
     I was determined I was not going to die nor was he going to harm or raise our son! With all I could muster from the deepest power within and feeling the adrenalin pumping pushing up from my toes up to my heart and into my arms; I managed to reach my arms to his body to be able to shove him with the last bit of strength I had, into the kitchen counter. It took him off guard to make him release my throat for an instant. It was just enough time to quickly unlock the door as he was attempting to grab me again.
     I immediately opened the kitchen door and there stood "a" policemen who calmly stood there asking me if I needed help. My husband left into my son’s room at the same time he saw the policemen standing in the door. I knew my husband was heading straight for my sons crib to lower the side rail down again. (Why he felt it necessary to lower the side rail down I still don’t know till this day!)
     The policemen wouldn’t come in until I gave him the go ahead. He literally had to ask me if it was alright for him to come in. Once in our apartment he looked around at the kitchen and calmly said, "It looks as though you’re having trouble in here." I said, "Yes, I am, it is my husband. He’s drunk his friend committed suicide yesterday and he’s out of control." I told him to come follow me to my son’s room. I had to turn lights on the way toward his room.
It was kind of scary because my husband was unpredictable tonight and didn’t know for sure where he was lurking. I could see my husband now crouched down again next to the crib with the side rail down and now our son was awakened again with his hands on the rail.
     I said to the policemen as we got closer that my husband won’t let me near our son and I’m afraid he’s going to fall out of his crib. I told the policemen that he was threatening to take him away if I touched him and I would suffer the consequences.
The policemen told me silently that there were many police officers outside in front of our first floor apartment waiting for his signal to let them in with my okay. They were he said, going to surround my husband where he stood to take him down. He said they dealt with him before and know how strong he is to take down. (I didn’t know this about him.) The policemen also said that I was not the only one whom had called the police. He said all your neighbors could hear what was going on and was worried for you and your son’s life.
  There were at least seven officers plus their captain of some sort of swat team outside waiting for the word to come in. He said to me,   "While the police officers surround him you go and grab your son on my word." I agreed while I watch my son learn more how to pull himself up to the rail and way wishing they would do it quickly.
There were five police officers surrounding my husband with the Lieutenant that had talked to me watching them. As they took my husband down I swear I could see a smile on his face. I quickly grabbed my son on the Lieutenant orders. I held him tightly into my chest as I put my arms around him, kissing his cheeks while wrapping him up in a blanket and getting out of the way. I watched as they wrestled him still and brought him outside into the police cruiser down to the police station.
      The Lieutenant told me to put my son back down in his crib to sleep because he needed to talk to me in the kitchen. I got scared when he said that and feared they were going to take my son away from me. I rocked and quietly sung my son to sleep. I placed him gently back into his crib and put the side rail back up for the last time.
I walked back towards the kitchen as I seen the table and chairs were put back into place. The phone receiver was still dangling from the wall. I hung up the phone per the captain’s orders now and sat down as he requested. As the Captain was talking to me other policemen were going through my refrigerator and cabinets. I asked them with control and sarcasm what they were looking for and if they were hungry all they had to do was ask me and I would get them something. They said they were checking to see if I had food in the cupboards. I said why. I asked you here to get him out of the house not to check through my cupboards to make me an unfit mother.
      I told the police officers it was a good thing I had just gone grocery shopping. He said why. I said because you would get me for not having enough food in the house if you were here yesterday and saw it bare before I went shopping. I said I called you here to get him out. I’m not being neglectful to my son. I said if you take my son away from me you are victimizing and punishing me again.
They then stopped looking per their Captains orders. The Captain then asked me if he strangled me. He said because if he did, then we would have to take your son away from you to protect him. I of course then said, "No, he did not strangle me at all. Then my husband’s friend and girlfriend who had also called the police were now also sitting across my table and said, "We know he was strangling you." "We could see your silhouettes from the outside kitchen window and your neck is very red." I said, "Do you really think I’m going to answer that question?" "You’re not going to take my son away from me." "I protected him!" "No, he did not try to strangle me!" He then asked what provoked him. I told him about his friend committing suicide the night before but he said that wouldn’t be enough to provoke him.
He said, "Are you having financial problems?" I said yes, but that was not it! He insisted it was and proceeded to tell me that if I paid at least five dollars on every bill that none of the companies could shut us off or say we weren’t paying our bills.
     He then said he wasn’t going to take my son this time because my house was clean, I had food in the cupboards and refrigerator, and my son seemed to be well fed and cared for. I thanked him again and he told me to make sure the landlord knows about the windows and we’ll have to repair them. I said I know, but I’m not fixing them, my husband will.
     I didn’t worry about him coming home and attacking us again in any form because the Captain assured me they were keeping him overnight. The next morning I went to work after dropping my son off with the babysitter. I looked in the hospital admittance and I’d seen they had my husband there overnight and had released him home again.
I worried all day he was going to get our son at the babysitters and what would happen when he got home. Would he retaliate? But, he didn’t. He acted like it was another day and nothing had happened the night before. He then said he would fix the windows acting like a completely different person with remorse until we left that weekend for Canada for his friend’s funeral. That’s another story…….
     I have gone back to school at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, CT through a government grant and received my Associates Degree in Human Services, then went to Springfield College in MA at their School of Human Services, their excelerated weekend college for adults going back to school, where I just recieved my Bachelor's of Science Degree in Human Services, both in May 2009.
     My sons look up to me and later maybe my grand-children as well.  I will change their legacy from abuse to thriver.  I also enjoy drama-theater and the arts.  I have been in a play called, "Will You Hold My Child?" for abuse awareness in the historical Warner Theater in Torrington, CT. I was in Tunxis Community College in Farmington, CT first play which is still on their Podcast.  I'm also a member and done plays for the Plainville Choral Society, in Plainville, CT in which you can also check out their website. They've been at the Bushnell in Hartford, CT with the famous conductor,Ed McNamara. I'm with Susan Omillian's Avenging Angel writing group and CT-Alive where I've written poems in which one was published in Tunxis Community College literary & Art Magazine along with two of my art pieces. You can do anything you set your mind, body, and spirit to, as Springfield College motto is.
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