In September 2012, just a few weeks after my son’s death, I went on a date. I had not dated in a long time, but the idea of going out to dinner seemed great at the time. It was something to take my mind off the crushing grief I was experiencing, if only for a couple of hours.
I was not in any frame of mind to start dating. I did not intend to start dating, but somehow, I started to date this man. Soon, he was separating me from my friends and family. Nothing I did was correct. I was “too independent”. He was “the man” and I was supposed to do what he said. This did not go over well with me. I had never been treated this way. I refused to do things the way he started telling me to do. I refused to stop talking to my family and friends. He called me several times a day to see what I was doing and who I had seen or talked to.
Eventually, he stole money from me, quit his job, and tried to take over my life. Also, he was arrested for driving under the influence. I was reeling from my son’s death and all the details that I needed to handle. Arguments were frequent and became shouting matches. I started recording the arguments. I became concerned that these arguments and the verbal abuse would escalate into physical violence, but he would not go away.
After talking to the local sheriff’s office and Safe House, I learned he had a conviction for stalking and was on probation. I was advised to be careful and not to be alone with him. The woman he was convicted of stalking came to my house. They were back in some sort of relationship, which was a violation of his probation. She started calling me, looking for him. His mother called me, begging me to be good to him. I considered suicide, the situation was that bad and no one would take me seriously. All of this just in the first few months after my son died.
Eventually, I had the sheriff escort him from my property when he refused to leave. Over the next 18 hours, he called my home phone and cell phone over 80 times. I was afraid to go home and was staying with a friend. I got a new cell phone for friends and family to contact me and saved all the texts and voice mails he left on the other number. Eventually, I left town for a few weeks, coming home only to get a restraining order and swear out a warrant for his arrest when I learned he was sitting in my driveway and in front of my house, waiting for me to return. It was almost six weeks before he was arrested and held without bond pending a hearing for probation violation.
In April 2013, his probation was revoked and he was sent back to prison. At first, he wrote me and even found a cell phone to call me. Finally, he left me alone. No letters, no calls for a year. Peace at last.
This week I received a letter from him. My hands were shaking as I opened it. I considered sending it back or throwing it away, but I know from my prior experience that I need proof of harassment. The letter was full of promises that he was a different man, that he loved me and missed me, and that he went to church every day. He begged to see me, wanted to call me and wanted me to write him. There were no apologies for what he did. He wanted me to feel sorry for him. His letter described the horrible things that had happened to him in prison and mentioned that he that he was up for parole. He actually asked me to pray that he would be released so he could come see me. I thought I would faint right then, thinking he had been released from prison. I was not the victim in the case that resulted in the prison sentence, so I was not informed of any parole proceedings.
Hours of research indicated that he was still in prison and that no parole had been granted, nor is a parole hearing scheduled at this time. He managed to upset me through a letter from a prison about five hours from me.
There are people on this earth who have no goodness in them. They exist solely to take advantage of and control other people. They lie, steal and cheat. This man is one of them. He will not acknowledge that his behavior resulted in his arrest and conviction. In his mind, this is all my fault.
If you meet one of these people, run. Run fast and far. Do not become friends or lovers with them. Do not believe their promises. They can turn the charm on and off like flicking a light switch.
And, that is all I can think about after getting a letter from prison. Running.
Quote of the Day
“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments, but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.”
“The be-all and end-all of life should not be to get rich, but to enrich the world.”
– Bertie Charles Forbes
About Bertie Charles Forbes
Bertie Charles Forbes, known as B.C. Forbes, is remembered as the founder of the long-running Forbes magazine, aimed at investors. He was born on May 14, 1880 in Scotland. He worked as a reporter for a Dundee newspaper until 1901, when he moved to South Africa and founded a newspaper there; but he stayed just three years before moving to the United States, where he became a financial editor and columnist. His sons Bruce and Malcolm succeeded him as editors-in-chief of Forbes. He died on May 6, 1954.
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.”
– Richard Bach
I just read this and my heart is still pounding. It is powerfully written. It shows raw emotion over a friend’s suicide. As I read it, and it’s long, I thought about my son. I wondered, is this what he was thinking when he took that one fatal step, never letting anyone know he was hurting before he did it.