Months melted into a year. There were court hearings dotted throughout, and I spent most of my time trying to drag us through the weeks leading up to them, hoping that each one would be the final hearing. Sentencing dates were set, then postponed, then rearranged, but finally the day came. I had spent the months leading up to it trying to remain focused on moving forward. I didn’t want to attend the hearing; I didn’t want to see the monster, or hear the details read out in a disdainful tone by the judge. I was afraid that going to the sentencing would bring all the shock and horror back tenfold, when it had taken me this long to get it under control – at least enough to be able to go about my daily life.
On the day, however, I knew that I had to attend. Regardless of my tangled emotions, the fear and the contempt for the creature I would have to face on the day, I needed this. A phone call detailing the sentence wouldn’t be enough, I needed to see him go down. I hoped that when my daughter reached an age where she understood fully what she had been through, I could offer some comfort in that I saw the situation through to the end. Shaking in my heeled boots, sweating all the way through my suit jacket, I was met at the crown court by six of my closest friends. Heads bowed and lips pursed we marched silently into the public gallery, and sat through what felt like the longest hour of my life. I held my best friend so hard I’m surprised I didn’t hurt her, as the judge’s words washed over and through me. I wasn’t following everything she said, rather, trying to keep her detailed, condemning speech at arms length so as to keep my feelings in check. I stared at X, handcuffed in the miniature prison, hoping to bore a hole in the back of his head. The look that he gave me as the bailiffs lead him down into the holding cell below was one of pure, molten hatred; and I felt satisfied.
For days afterwards I couldn’t remember anything the judge had said; I couldn’t recall the building we had been in, only the court room, and that look. I was completely emotionally drained, but the relief was slowly setting in. There would be no more phone calls, no more court paperwork, no more lying awake at night worrying about whether he would serve the time I wanted him to. The judge had given him much longer than I was told to expect, and even though that wouldn’t repair the damage he had done, I was grateful. He was gone for good, and we had more than a decade stretching out in front of us in which to get on with our new lives.
There were good days, where everything seemed so normal that I could almost forget about the events of the last year. There were bad days, awful days, where getting out of bed felt like climbing a mountain, and sleep was so elusive that I sat, silently crying, drinking strong alcohol well into the early hours. Then, most surprisingly of all, amid the chaos of being a single parent, there were days when I felt bored. There were days when I contemplated our future, and how I could start working to make it better than it was forecast to be, and felt as though I was an utter failure.
While parenting is a full time job, it does not pay the bills. It does not buy my daughter the things she deserves. I looked into childcare and realised that getting a part time job wouldn’t even cover the expense. I needed to be able to work more hours than that, but I couldn’t leave my daughter. This settling period in her life was too important, and I still felt wary of leaving her in anyone else’s care. I looked into working from home and was met with the usual Avon opportunities, catalogue deliveries and survey jobs.
I spent yet more weeks, maybe months, stuck in an endless rut of wanting to move forward but not having the resources. I searched again, for people who had found themselves in a similar situation, hoping to take some pointers about how they had moved on. I drew a blank. That is when I decided to write this blog. It probably won’t make me any money, but it might help me to heal. Even more importantly than that, it might help someone else to heal. If I can reach just one other person who has suffered or is suffering something similar, and let them know that they will be okay, then this blog is worth every ounce of time and patience and emotion that I am pouring into it. Nobody should have to face such a life altering, world destroying situation alone.
I don’t have all the answers, I am not a professional, and what worked for me may not work for you; but I definitely can say, “I know what you’re going through,” because I too
have gone through it – and I want to help.
This is the story of what happened to us so far. We are somewhere in the middle now (perhaps this is chapter five?) and I would like to invite you along with
us as we navigate obstacles and conflict, and move on with our lives, to find out what happens next…