Dear Lily June,
I’ve got my fingers crossed that you didn’t notice this last day of the quote challenge took me five days to return to. In all fairness, it feels to me as if yesterday was five days long.
It’s been five days filled with a lot of tears, a lot of whining, a lot of needy gripping at my hems and collars. And that’s just from my co-workers. I come home to you from work each day, and you lean in as if to say, “Tell me about it, Ma.” And I do. I babble on about book orders that go unplaced and emails that go unread and courtesy that goes uncourtesied (curtsied?), and you put your tiny hand on my arm and say, “Giggy. Giggy squeak.” And it’s true, little one. Giggy giggy squeak.
You are an endless source of comfort and beauty in my life. And that means, this October, during a season dominated by fear and death, I have been contemplating my greatest fear: losing you. Not today, Lily, while you are under my watchful, albeit a bit sleep-deprived, eye. I have to imagine what might occur if I were to lose you–literally or figuratively–to an abusive relationship sometime in your future. Because, as I’ve mentioned in the past two posts, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this is weighing heavily on my mind.
One of the most effective tactics of an abuser is to isolate the abused. He or she will sometimes subtly, sometimes explicitly, distance the abused from his or her family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, acquaintances, etc. until the person is almost entirely reliant on the abuser–economically and emotionally. And then, if the abused goes to escape that crippling isolation, they’re often in the most danger of all–the danger of being hurt or even killed in retribution.
Your Grandma Raelyn had the strength to leave a relationship like this. Your Grandma Alison had the strength to leave a relationship like this. Your Aunt Loren had the strength to leave a relationship like this. And God willing, if you ever find yourself trapped in a situation like this, you’ll have the strength to escape, too. Some aren’t so lucky even after their escape. One such person was Leidy Bonanno, the daughter of poet Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno, who was found strangled to death with a phone cord by her ex-boyfriend in 2003.
Because I cannot, without permission from the publisher, excerpt Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno’s poetry about this loss here, I can give you this for a quotation: “Ladybugs.” Please, little Lily, read more, either on this link, or in her book Slamming Open the Door.
I do not know this woman. But this mother’s wringing, gut-wrenching grief as delivered in the poems excerpted above makes me imagine stepping into those shoes. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to aid your escape, Lily. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to prevent your isolation and abuse in the first place. But I can only point you to the door of life. It is your hand which will turn the knob; your legs which will walk through it.
I’m again, one last time, grateful to Patricia, author of O-pen-u-nated, for nominating me for the Three Day Quotation Challenge, and I apologize to her for my delay. She, too, is a working parent, so hopefully she understands how these things can happen.
One last time, I give out the Rules for Three-Day Quotation Challenge:
- Thank the blogger, who nominated you. (Hi there, Patricia!)
- Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days in your blog. It can be your own, or from a book, movie or from anyone who inspires you.
- Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavor.
And here, one last time, are three new nominees:
- The author of IAmSomeonesMother–This teacher, and parent, has much to teach through her blog, about both teaching and parenting.
- Deb Allen of White Deer Girl–Another extraordinary photographer, Deb Allen posts life-altering quotations fairly regularly, so this should be right in her wheel house.
- The author of Smirk Pretty–I’ve rarely been as inspired reading blogs as I have been reading her 100 Things I Can project. Again, as she references texts regularly on her site, this should be more a yawn than a stretch for her.
I hope at least one of the nine nominees I’ve selected across the three posts will keep this going. And Lily June, I hope to hold you–if not in my arms, then in my heart–for the rest of my life. But let’s do the arms thing, which means you’re close and you’re safe, my unimaginably loved daughter dear.
- “Ladybugs on Jurmala beach” by Rulexip – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ladybugs_on_Jurmala_beach.jpg#/media/File:Ladybugs_on_Jurmala_beach.jpg
- Bonanno, Kathleen Sheeder. Slamming Open the Door. Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2009. Print.