Dear Mr. exH,
You have said so many things to me, through your actions, words, legal threats, harmful terrorizing behaviors, and deceptions.
You were sitting across the courthouse floor from me, and obviously agitated. You were moving your arms with wide exaggeration, sighing very loudly, kicking your legs up periodically and trying to balance an oversized old shoe box stuffed with papers. You were rubbing your head, fidgeting with your glasses, crossing and uncrossing your arms – in constant agitated movement. I could not hear you, somewhat deliberately on my part, because I am afraid of hearing what you have to say. However, I could not help but hear the agitated anger and frustration in your tone. Everyone on the courthouse floor could hear you, and were aware that something was not right with you.
I desperately wanted to comfort smooth that out for you.
I desperately wanted to walk over, hold your hand, remind you how important you are to some people, and to tell you that we were going to be okay. We just need to get through this hard thing, and we will be okay.
I wanted to encourage you to listen to the professionals who will help you, if you allow them.
I wanted to encourage you to listen to what you know is true about our son’s well-being, safety, and health.
I wanted to encourage you to keep faith in your team of experts who want to support you.
I wanted to encourage you to take good care of yourself, so that maybe one day our son can know you as a safe, healthy person who likes and loves him.
I desperately wanted to do these things, and I feel guilty every day that I could/did not do these things any time that I saw you after April 2014.
While I recognize that doing any of that would put our son’s and my lives in literal jeopardy, the emotional pull is almost too much to bear. You need help. You have always needed help. I could not help you when you were with us. I cannot help you now. I have to remind myself of this multiple times every single day. I feel like a failure.
I have failed you. You have a severe degenerative mental illness and I could no longer pretend that I could care for you.
I have failed our son. I brought him into a family where his father is incapable of providing for him, either emotionally, physically or financially.
I have failed myself. I allowed an abusive situation to continue in my home, subjected my child to this, A CHILD, and set myself and my child up to be left penniless, unemployed, on foodstamps, on medicaide, working though PTSD, etc.
I am not really sure how to move on from knowing that you want to murder us.
I am not really sure how you have moved on from knowing that you want to murder us and cause us physical and psychological harm.
No one has shared any information about your condition or treatment, to me. Every interaction I have had with you since April 2014, has been alarming and further confirmation to me that you remain unwell and unsafe for us. The information I have about you, other than my personal observations (confirmed by others surrounding me and observing too) reaches me third or fourth hand.
You are ill.
I pray for your peace and comfort.
I pray for you to be treated well and to have healthy, safe, and meaningful purpose.
I pray for you to feel empathy.
I pray for you.
I pray for our son to keep safe from further harm from you (or anyone).
I pray for myself to be healthy and safe in order to be able to keep our son healthy, safe, and thriving.
I am sorry that I was unable to care for you adequately.
I am sorry that I was unable to see you for who you really are.
I am sorry that I relied on my eternal optimism, hope, hard work, and prayer to overcome your insurmountable fundamental challenges and mental illness.
Now that I know better, I pray that I do better and make better choices.
This letter is about me, I get that. It is about me telling you that despite all of the pain you have brought into my life, I continue to struggle daily with guilt about the entire situation.
This is the story of an abused person. As long as the guilt sits with me, as long as I feel that urge to run over and reassure/comfort you, as long as I internally vigilantly look for signs of distress in our son, I remain an abused person.
You have put a definition of myself in my life story that I do not want or like, yet like most of life’s tragedies, I have no control in making it go away. It happened. It is. I am. This is who I am. This is a part of me. This is not about ‘letting go.” This is about recognizing the real struggle of domestic violence and mental illness. This is about making some attempt to learn from it, grow from it, reconciling the immense guilt, and making different/better informed decisions as a result.
I will not be coming to hold your hand or comfort you in any manner.
You will never be a safe person for me, or my son.
But, I will allow myself/us to pray for you.
Safe and appropriate.
Now, in this moment of release, I feel like I can do this hard thing.
I pray that you take good care of yourself, and if that is not possible, I pray that others are taking good care of you.