The weekend of Mother’s Day 2017, I was expecting to be pampered. Mother’s Day was a holiday a looked forward to because it would mean that I would have a reason to be appreciated. I would get flowers, cards… maybe even a fancy meal. It did not matter whether or not it was a homemade meal or at a fancy restaurant. It would mean that someone would be putting forth the effort for me to feel special… At least that was the expectation.
Between 7 and 8 PM Friday, my husband took a hammer to our 23-month-old son’s playpen. I could hear the aluminum clanging all the away upstairs. Running down, I tried to stop him only to get pushed out the way. I watched as he waved the hammer around, visualizing out loud how he wanted to bash it into a person’s skull. He sounded like a cold-blooded killer and I could smell the whiskey that he had consumed. Those were his starting drinks. He usually started drinking right after work at 7 PM.
‘It was a release’, he said. I’ve heard all the excuses. ‘Life’s boring without it’, ‘I play better games with it’… There was very little I’ve heard.
Then, at 2 AM, he rips the covers off of me; awaking me from a deep sleep waving around a gun. I tried reasoning with him, asking him to leave, but at this point he was extremely drunk. Nothing would get through to him. I reached for the gun to get it away from him and it turned into a struggle. In the end, I got the gun, but he got hurt, trying to keep hold of the gun. He yelled and screamed as I hid the gun, but when he came my way, he called me everything else, but my name. A ‘crazy bitch’ is what I remember the most, but also that he wanted ‘a divorce’.
I tried to help him, but he refused and left the home, saying that he was going to the hospital. Immediately, I called my family who was 1,000 miles north. I was crying and scared that my husband would come back. They paid for me to leave my home and fly to them. After that, I was making a lot of decisions in a matter of minutes. I took pictures on my smart phone of the damages he made in his drunken anger and of the bottle of whiskey he had bought maybe 12 hours earlier. It was a handle of liquor and half of it was gone. He also had beer.
I packed as much as I could for myself and my son. I knew I could survive with very little. My son however, needed more. He was still in diapers. He would need plenty of them, clothes, food… One thing I made sure to bring for myself was my computer. All my work as a designer and any and all photographs from my phone uploaded to the cloud. He could do anything with my computer. Destroy my work; go through any and everything that I have been hiding. Research on alcoholism, divorce, custody… What would he have done if he found that, I wonder? He always said that he did not have a problem and like an naïve fool, I blindly believed him. I never truly realized how emotionally draining this was until that night.
I left my house with three shirts, three pairs of pants and a handful of undergarments stuffed with my son’s necessities in his diaper bag. I stuffed more in a backpack along with my computer. I grabbed my son from his crib. I took out his stroller from the family car. I strapped my baby in the safety straps, flung the backpack on my back and hung the diaper bag from the handle of the stroller. After that, I ran like hell. My brother arranged an Uber ride for us to the airport. The driver was nice and comforting as he drove down the highway to the airport. It was good for me because I was shaking as I held my son in my lap. Tears ran down my face and my breathing was ragged. I remember thinking: “How could this have happened?” My journey was not over; it had just begun.
It was around 4 AM, I had a flight in approximately 2 hours. I had to get through airport security with a sane mind. After all that, I called my mother, his parents, the police, the hospital… All of this before I left on a plane. I looked a mess. I ran on 2 hours sleep.
When I finally made it to a bed, I cried or rather I wanted to, but I was all cried out. For years everything involving my husband’s alcoholism was kept secret. He drank alone in our living room. I tried to have somewhat of a normal life, but I always covered for him. Imagine going to a dinner party where everyone is a couple and even though you are married, you are the only one there. Friends and family members asked about the alcohol, but I tried to keep it quiet. But you run out of lies eventually. The truth is too shameful to tell.
The thing that people probably have not realized is that your whole family unit becomes part of the alcohol cycle. My baby is involved in this. Me trying to keep the peace in my household lost myself in this. I get depressed; I have anxiety; I went through a high-risk pregnancy and post partum alone while taking care of an infant alone. This is all while dealing with emotional abuse from my husband.
Everyone has their opinions on what I should have done or could have done differently, but no one asks those questions more than myself. I was sleeping. Was there really something I could have done? I don’t know. I don’t think that I’ll ever know.
It has been two months since this has happened. Since then, I’ve been trying to pick up the pieces of my life and reprogramming my brain. For a long time he made me believe this was my fault. Today, I am putting it on record that his alcoholism is not my fault. Mother’s Day weekend of 2017 may have been a sad time, but I put it as a time that I put my son first.
© 2017 Denalia Evans