late yesterday, i got an email from a friend of mine that disturbed me very much. this past weekend, she had to call the police on her spouse. i don't know the details, but i do know the person in question has experienced anger and control issues in the past, and i've been worried about my friend for a long time...especially since she has very little children.
fifteen years ago this month, i found a letter from a divorce lawyer on my ex-husband's dresser, accepting a retainer to represent him. i don't know if he intended for me to find that letter, but i remember the absolute terror that coursed through me. my ex liked to use the threat of divorce as a club. what he forgot was that clubs can be picked up and swung the other direction.
he wasn't expecting me to serve him with papers first. to me, it felt like the bravest thing i've ever done. it took me a long time to stop being afraid of him and he spent years and untold energy attempting to use the legal system to punish me for having the temerity to leave. he's a lawyer, and he used every ounce of influence and knowledge of the courts against me in every way he could.
but i knew i had to leave ... i had to leave for five reasons. one, he wanted me to stop writing and he was doing everything possible to stop me. the small successes i'd enjoyed were too much for him to handle. you wouldn't be the first woman to put her career on hold for her family, he told me, the day i knew that we were really done.
the other four reasons were our children. somewhere i'd come to the conclusion that the relationship i was modeling for them was a dysfunctional one, that if my children were to ever have an idea of what a healthy relationship looked like, it wasn't going to be the one between their father and me.
everything i know about domestic violence tells me that my friend is in a great deal of danger, that the cycle is escalating, and that there's a possibility that the next time - and there is always a next time - the police won't get there in time to stop something terrible from happening.
this evening, on the tide of the waning moon, i offered the last pineapple from hawaii outside on my altar rock to the five Directions and these four fierce and guardian goddesses: White Buffalo Woman, Brigid, Mama Pele and Hecate. i put my friend into Their keeping and offered a pineapple quarter to each of them in turn. i asked Their blessing on my friend and her children, to keep them all safe.as i finished my small ritual, the wind, which had gone very still, suddenly began to blow.