I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that he may hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. (Psalm 77:1-2) ............................................ A journal chronicling my struggle as a woman, to find my way out of an abusive relationship, and to find myself again.

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Location: Georgia, United States

Monday, July 26, 2004

New car, no more cat

Finally, some time to write! Although Emily is asleep in Dale's chair because there's a spider in her room and she can't find it.

Things are going fairly well. The investigators from DFACS came to talk to us last week, and took me, Emily and Abby aside individually to talk. I kinda poured out my heart to them, and before they left, they reiterated that there was to be NO hitting or name-calling in this house. And so far, there hasn't been! Dale laughed the whole thing off, "ha-ha, no big deal" but I think it got to him anyhow, because he's been especially nice, a lot of the underlying anger seems to have dissipated, and he hasn't been doing his usual pacing, in and out of the house. Aah. Some breathing space!

One thing I know has helped make him less angry is that we got a vehicle. It's a '91 Aerostar van. Looks great on the outside, and runs great, very smooth. I like it a lot. I haven't driven a van since 1974, so I'll have to get used to using the mirrors again. It needed new brakes, which he installed, and new tires. The interior needs some work, but the upholstery is nice and clean. We've bought two new tires, but the other two will have to wait until the 1st, when we have money again. Dale put $20 worth of gas in it, and the indicator showed it only half full. Ouch! $40 for a tank of gas?? I could fill up my GEO with $7! The van only cost $600, but with the brakes, tires, tax, license and insurance, it pretty much wiped out the $1300. Plus he gave me $150 to get Abby some school clothes, which I do hope will arrive soon. I have to order her clothes, because there is never anything decent in the stores in her size. Costs more, but I'm glad she always looks nice.

I have to take Emily's cat to the Humane Society tomorrow. I've been telling her since she brought him here (Feb?) that she needed to get a job and get him neutered before he got too old, or he would start spraying, and that I could not abide. Well, she didn't listen, and now it's too late. He yowls constantly and pees on everything in sight. I've told her that even if she spends the money now to have him "fixed", it probably won't fix him, because once a male cat starts that, they usually don't stop, even if neutered. It has to be done while they're young. She thinks I'm the bad guy here, but I can't stand a house that smells like cat. I intentionally didn't let myself get attached to him, because I knew it would come to this. Dammit. But she did go out job-hunting today.

I've been offered a 'job'. It's volunteer work, but something I can do from home, and something I really would like to be a part of. It's with Modest Needs. (www.modestneeds.com) Keith, whose brainchild Modest Needs is, is trying to start state chapters, and has asked me to be the state administrator for Georgia. Of course I said yes. This would be hands-on work, meaningful work, that really and truly helps people down on their luck -- Modest Needs paid our electric bill once -- and I'd love to be involved in something so personally helpful to people. I miss the Peace Corner Group something terrible, but apparently I wasn't meant to lead it. I do hope this works out. I'd be so grateful to be able to help the truly needy. I can certainly be empathic.

Hope all is well with all who keep up with this.


Saturday, July 17, 2004

Connecting, maybe

I just feel like writing tonight. The girls are spending the night with a friend and it's very quiet. Emily got her tongue pierced today. I had to sign for her, so I walked down to the tattoo place with Abby and met Emily and Leah there. I was surprised to see how quickly and easily it's done. Emily barely flinched. This tattoo shop looks like a hospital surgery, it's so clean, and that made me feel better about the whole thing. I remember when guys first started getting their ears pierced, how shocking most adults thought it was. I try not to be shocked, but I don't especially like the idea of tongue piercings. I suppose there are some horror stories out there, but I haven't heard any. In any case, Emily is pleased. We went to Cafe International and Em bought lunch. She's flush with cash from her job, and she seems to be enjoying it, so I think she'll be more than willing to get out there and find another. Hope so anyway.

I wish I could stop worrying. I hope Dale can find a halfway decent car and have enough money left so I can buy Abby some school clothes. I know he's not going to want to give me a penny, and he wants to buy himself some jeans, but I really want Abby to go back to school looking nice. She's lost 25 pounds, and I'm proud of her. Like me, she has a long way to go, but we're in this weight-loss thing together, and so far we're even at 25 lbs. I want her to feel really good about it, and that means new clothes. I need clothes, too, but Abby comes first, in my mind.

I also wish I didn't feel so sad all the time. The new anti-depressant is working, because I feel that disconnection from any deep feeling, and that's good, because it probably means I won't feel suicidal anytime soon. I don't like not being able to feel deeply, though. It feels like I'm cut off from a big part of myself. Not just the bad, but the good also.

Nothing to report. Just feeling cut off from the world, and wanted to connect. Not much of a connection, is it?


Friday, July 16, 2004

Abby's 15th birthday

Abby's 15th birthday today. It was better than expected, for her and for me. Tracy and Steven came, and Dale went to the grocery store with them while I went to Gainesville for my app't with Dr. Connell. I got a ride with Logisticare, the Medicaid-paid service. The driver was a wonderfully irreverent African-American lady, and oh, boy, when we got on to the subjects of politics and then men in general, we had a great time. We agreed on everything. I gave her the URL to the PCG website, and she promised to take a look.

Tracy got Abby some really nice jeans, which she sorely needed, and she really liked all of her other gifts, especially her new hamster, whose name is, officially, "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream." Just call him Cookie for short. He bit the crap out of my thumb, but he's the cutest hamster I've ever seen, white with brown patches all over, and very furry. Abby got tons of phone calls from people wishing her a happy birthday. She wouldn't read the sentiment I wrote on her card out loud, nor the one from Zada, so I don't know what Zada wrote. But she was very pleased with her day, and I'm so very glad. Last year was just so awful; she needed this to make up for it.

The day started out badly. Three guesses why, and the first two don't count. Dale and Emily had a spat, and he hit her. Slapped her hard enough on her face to leave a handprint. She cried so hard. Of course I told Dr. C., and I suppose he will report it.

Supposedly someone is coming from DFACS tomorrow to continue the investigation into Dale's abuse. Dale talked to me about it today, and expects me to go along with whatever lies he tells. I don't know if I can do it. I will be SO glad to talk to Jo again and find out what is up with my case -- where I stand with the attorney, the time-frame, etc.

Dale gave Tracy the check he got, and she will come up Tuesday to take him car-shopping. I think what I will do when the time comes for him to be served with the divorce papers and restraining order is make sure I'm gone somewhere with the car. He'll be house-sitting for Tracy and Steven in October; maybe he can be served there? Oh, man, October seems way too far off. I need to talk to someone!!


Tuesday, July 13, 2004


The check from the oil company came today. Now we just have to figure out a way to get it cashed, and we will have a car. Or rather, Dale will have a car I get to use, as always. It's never bothered me before, but it does now. Oh well. I tried.

I asked him if we could buy a car in both of our names, but he said that it would be "too complex" to do. Oh. Yes, the little lady just doesn't understand the complexities of car-buying. He gave me that funny "don't you trust me?" look and tone of voice. I asked about insurance, too, and he assured me that it wouldn't be less expensive if the car was in my name only. Why wouldn't it be? I have a perfect driving record.

"Anyway," he said, "when I get my settlement, you'll be able to pick out your own car. Won't you like that?" Sure I will. When will that f***ing court date ever come, I want to know??? I am so afraid he will abscond with car, settlement, everything.

Dale went with our neighbor, Kimberly, to Cleveland today to see if he could get the check cashed. I asked if I could go, and he said Kimberly was not feeling well, blah, blah, blah. In effect, NO. He spends lots of time with Kimberly. She's in her thirties and a little smaller than I am, but not much. She's really pretty, though. I wonder, but I don't much care.

Emily came to me today and said the same thing Abby's been saying for months -- she wants him gone. She had planned to move in with him wherever he moved to, but after spending these past months with him, she has definitely changed her mind.

Poor Emily. Her boss called today and told her she was fired. He said it was because she was too shy with customers. Hmm. Wouldn't it have been better to have sat her down and talked to her about this and given her a chance to try and do better? I think firing someone over the phone is pretty sleazy. She was so happy there. She came home happy every day, which, believe me, was brand-new for my Emily. And she loved the work, and her boss. She doesn't seem terribly torn up about it, but Emily is like that. You just never know how anything will affect her. I don't know if she's really very upset or not, and she doesn't seem to want to talk about it, at least not right now. It's worrisome. It took so much effort to get her to go out and look for a job, and I have no idea how she'll react when I tell her she's got to do it again. Dammit! I'm just angry at everything tonight.


Saturday, July 10, 2004


Sooo... Dale let something slip today. Accidentally or on purpose, I don't know. But now I have no doubts, absolutely none at all.

I don't really even remember what we were talking about; his settlement money, maybe? But he said he was going to be going to Mississippi when he got it. (Mississippi? What the heck --WHO the heck?-- is in Mississippi?) I asked if he was going to vacation there, and he said no, he planned to live there, on the beach somewhere. Excuuuse me? I told him I didn't much like the idea of him skipping out on the kids, and he said, "Well, they hate me anyway." Which is true, but wouldn't the better thing be to try and fix things with them?

So he plans to move far away, and to hell with being a dad, once again. As if I have that luxury. As if I want it. So now I know. And I know Dale, too. If he can manage to skip with every penny of his settlement, he will do it. So no more qualms, no more questions, no more decisions, no more agony. If he thinks I won't use everything I can to get child support, he's sadly mistaken there, too.

A measure of peace in this for me. Now I just feel an urgency. Everything MUST go down neatly. I hope I can talk to Jo as soon as she gets back from vacation. And I need to get myself and the girls into family counseling, to deal with all that's about to happen.

Thanks, Dale. It must have been burning a hole in you, to have spilled it.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Abby called me tonight from church camp. She's been gone since Sunday and comes home Friday. Before I got to say more than hello, she asked, "Are you okay?" I assured her that I was, but she asked for reassurance twice before I got a chance to ask how she was. She said she hadn't wanted to leave me. I told her I was just so glad she was able to go and have a vacation from all this. We had a good talk after that, and she's having a wonderful time. At one point her counselor (Abby herself is counselor to little kids this year) got on the line and told me she had "just fallen in love" with Abby. Well of course. It's very easy to do with that kid. I'll be glad to see her again, but I wish she could have another week away. But her 15th birthday is next week. I just hope it goes well. Last year her sisters didn't even come, and it was quite horrible. Zada leaves for India on that day, but hopefully at least Tracy will come. I'll guilt her into it if I have to!

Okay, the DFACS thing. After Abby called me at the hospital and told me her dad had hit her, I told my therapist and my doctor, so of course it was reported to DFACS, as I knew it would be. The next day I talked to Dale, and he told me someone had come to the house to investigate, "thank you very much." I told him I had been very upset by Abby's call, and told my therapist, not remembering that the law required it be reported. But he pretty much laughed it off, especially in telling me about when they asked Abby, in front of Dale, if she was afraid of him. She was getting ready to go to church, and simply told them she didn't want to talk to them, and left. Why did they do that? Is that standard procedure? If so, it's pretty damn dumb. Anyway, I was told by my therapist that DFACS would want to talk to me, and Emily too, who wasn't home at the time, but so far I haven't heard anything at all from them.

Dale says he told them "the whole story", whatever that means, and told them that if they really wanted to help this family, they'd help him get his disability, as if they could. Truly, it was just a joke to him. And maybe it is, and no follow-up will be done. But I can at least be grateful that now DFACS has a report on at least one occasion of abuse here.

I talked to someone named Nellie with Hope House yesterday, and she sent me an email later saying that they will definitely be helping me with divorce proceedings. I am so grateful. She said she will get back to me as soon as she has more news from the attorney. I sure wish I had some way to communicate with them besides my furtive phone calls whenever Dale is out of the house, and email.

We will be getting a vehicle soon. Dale signed papers that came in the mail today, selling the oil-lease rights to his last bit of land, 2.5 acres, in Texas. Sure wish he'd thought of that sooner. We have gotten the very occasional, very small check from that over the years, and what we're getting isn't much -- $1,375 -- but it will be enough to buy some sort of used car, and that is the current desperate need. My puzzle right now is trying to figure out how to get that car put in my name, which I don't know how to do. I have never had a car in my name, except my GEO, which I bought two years ago and sold last year because we needed the money more than the extra car. I still miss it. I just don't see him letting me do this. I think he's suspicious enough already. He acts really funny around me sometimes, like a man having an affair (not that I was ever good at spotting THAT!), but I hardly think that's it. Just......suspicious. Scares me. I'm gonna try, anyway. I think that since the wreck, insurance may cost more for him, so I'll try that angle. If it doesn't work, well, I'll just have to hope I can get it in the divorce settlement.

God, how I hate lying, conniving and being sneaky. And truth be told, I hate hurting him. He is a human being, after all. But most of all, I hate seeing the kids hurt, and I'm pretty darn sick of it myself. If this is what it takes, then it is. I just wish there was another way. It's hard on my soul.


Monday, July 05, 2004


I just learned how to enable the 'comments' feature, so you can now comment on my posts if you're so inclined.


I got home from the hospital Thursday night. Eight days isn't enough time to change much, but it helped. Laurelwood is a good hospital; one of the best unless you're super-rich, I guess. I'm so fortunate to have been led to it so many years ago, and so very, very fortunate that Bert was such a good friend and took me there. Not that he gave me much choice, but I really didn't want one. I just wanted someone to care enough, and Bert did. Dale knew I was suicidal, and it mattered naught to him. That bites.

It's been okay since I got home, and there have been a few highlights. One is that Emily got a job at the glass-blowing shop, making much more money, and having much more fun than if she'd found a job at some fast-food joint. She's exhausted from these past few days....it's the busiest time of the year here, and she's working hard. I'm proud of her, more than she can know.

We went to the local pizza place two nights ago. Abby had been looking forward to listening to the music; there's a guy that plays guitar and sings on the weekends. But as we went to sit down at a table on that part of the deck, Dale said no. One of our neighbors was there with her family, and as he's feuding with her, he refused to sit at a table near her. The girls were upset, and so was I. Dale was just angry. As soon as he finished eating, he left, and we took our food and went and sat with the neighbors. The musician, I don't know his name, always asks if anyone wants to sing, and he'll play the guitar and give the mike to any takers. We all tried to talk Emily into getting up and singing. She has a beautiful voice. She chose a Metallica song, and even though it didn't exactly show off that beautiful voice, she really got into it, wowed the crowd and even got cries of "Encore! Encore!"

Then Abby decided to sing "Imagine", but she was shy once she took the mike, and we couldn't hear her, so I got up and finished the song with her. We had a wonderful time, the best in ages and ages. A night that started badly and ended oh so well, and a memory I'll cherish.

The latest highlight was tonight, when Zada, Tracy and Steven came up from Gainesville to watch the fireworks with us. We found a spot directly across the river from the pyrotechnic guys, and the fireworks were exploding right over our heads. Helen puts on a great show for such a small town, and tonight's was the best ever. It was so much fun to hear the little kids squealing with pure delight. I never, ever get tired of fireworks; I'm a kid myself when it comes to that, just like Christmas. I especially like the ones that are so loud you feel them as well as see them. It could go on for hours and still be over too soon for me. Everyone was in a good mood. Zada is leaving for India on the 15th, so this is the last time I'll see her for months.

DFACS is now involved in our family drama. Abby called me one night last week while I was in the hospital, sobbing her heart out because Dale had hit her twice. Of course I told my therapist and my doctor, and they notified DFACS. More on that later. On Tuesday, I have to get in touch with the lady from the shelter and see if I can get things speeded up on the divorce and restraining order. I am so ready now to have this done. But I have to do it right. More on that later, too.

This is something my good friend Tomas sent me a while back. Seems fitting to me tonight.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.