Every time I hear about another domestic abuse victim my mind immediately jumps to Tina Turner’s 1980’s anthem, “What’s Love Got To Do With It”…
While people have interpreted the lyrics and meaning for decades, it is seems that Ms. Turner was expressing her trepidation about entering a new relationship after working through the emotions and heartbreak of a previous one that was, in her real life case, devastating. Her marriage to Ike Turner was tumultuous to say the least, but she clearly rose above being a victim.
Anyway, I received a message from someone in another state via LinkedIN last week on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving indicating he had seen my home organizing and move management business listed on another third party platform and took it upon himself to do a little sleuthing on my various social media pages to make sure that I truly was a legitimate business and the right person for a particular job. He told me his daughter who lives in the Greater Denver area needed my services to help her pack up her apartment rather last minute, but that was all of the information he provided.
Unfortunately I didn’t see the message until Thanksgiving Day when I finally had a chance to catch up on a lot of emails. I told him I would reach out to his daughter the next day, which I did, but she didn’t answer so I left a message telling her that I didn’t know any of the details but I mentioned if she really needed help over the weekend I would try to make it work.
Truth be told, I had plans to hike both Saturday and Sunday and selfishly I really didn’t want to change my plans. Hiking is my therapy, religion, whatever you want to call it and I try to get on a trail as often as possible when balancing being a, well, you know, responsible adult.
I also had told a friend that I would make her a carrot cake to celebrate her birthday late on Saturday afternoon at a park with a few other people, properly socially distancing of course, a cake that I was in the middle of making when my phone rang around pm on Friday.
It was the LinkedIN inquiry’s daughter.
I stopped my Kitchen Aid mixer, answered the call and listened for over an hour to a story that literally broke my heart. Her husband had been arrested two nights before for domestic violence and she had to get out of her apartment by Sunday and basically go into hiding before he is more than likely going to be released from jail pending a court date for the charges against him.
Imagine having a man twice the size of you trying to break down your bedroom door in the middle of the night, but when he doesn’t succeed tells you that he is going to just sit outside your room until you come out.
Self preservation is such an important thing that we all need to learn and it usually shows up in these scenarios in the form of some serious adrenaline when you have to make the decision to…
…attach a sheet to the bedframe
…open the window
…take out the screen
…and basically shimmy your way down from the second story
Although my circumstances didn’t involve domestic abuse, I was threatened by my former husband’s son who is mentally ill, but I had the ability to remove myself from what was still a very dangerous time in my life without having to jump out of a window in the middle of the night. I can, though, on many levels, relate to the raw and painful emotions this woman is feeling.
Love is so complicated and so hard to just switch off even when your life is at stake. Our society has judged women who remain in abusive relationships.
Sometimes they stay out of fear…
…other times they stay out of love
I know it is hard to imagine how anyone can love someone who physically and emotionally hurts them, but despite the millions of domestic abuse cases reported every year in this country, women are staying in relationships because they haven’t figured out how to take love out of the equation.
So now it’s after 9 pm on Friday and clearly I wasn’t going hiking the next day. I agreed to be at her place early in the morning and then my brain immediately went on overdrive thinking of all the different resources she is going to need to move forward.
I sent her the link to a local agency that advocates on behalf of sexual and domestic violence victims, SPAN , Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence. I attended a rally in Boulder that SPAN had organized a few years ago and learned so much about the incredible work that they do in our community so I knew they could help her not only with emotional guidance, but also legal and housing.
I also gave her the name of a woman I know both personally and professionally, Tracy Malone. She is a narcissistic and abuse coach who is based in Boulder Valley, but works with victims around the world…and she is, to quote another Tina Turner song, Simply The Best! I have no doubt that Tracy will be an invaluable resource for my client in the days, weeks and probably months, if not years, to come to work through the trauma and pain she has endured.
Meanwhile, her current property management company will not let her out of her lease. That’s right, as far as they are concerned it isn’t their problem that she is having to literally run for her life. And any damage to the apartment that her now estranged husband has caused is her responsibility since she is the only one on the lease.
Seriously, when I hear things like this my blood starts to boil and when that happens…watch out world because this Action Girl (as my mother used to call me) is, well, going into full throttle action mode. So between me and the resources available to her I do have hope that she will be able to get past this very difficult time in her life. I need to clarify, though, as I always do when engaged with clients going through any type of struggle, I’m not a therapist, but I am a compassionate human being who has had my share of life experiences to draw upon when necessary.
This was one of those necessary times.
While the packing did get done in less than a few hours yesterday, I found myself apologizing for not taking as much care as I normally would when hired for any move management needs to do a proper inventory and labeling of all of the boxes. But I also knew time was of the essence and function over form was definitely the mantra for this particular client.
More importantly, she really wasn’t physically able to be on her feet for very long since she did injure her leg when she climbed out of her window a few nights before. I had to tell her repeatedly that if she didn’t sit down I was calling her father and have him handle the situation.
I was somewhat joking, but I wasn’t sure if she was going to laugh or cry at that moment.
For the record, she laughed.
But her father?
He apparently cried when he read my text, letting him know that I was officially making his daughter a member of my “tribe” and that he and his wife could find comfort from across the miles that their little girl, no matter how much of an adult she may be, including having a very successful career and has been the breadwinner for most of her relationship with her husband, will get through this awful experience and come out on the other side stronger and happier.
But then just as I was going to bed last night I got a text from her that unfortunately made me feel like she wasn’t quite at the “anger will propel you forward” stage…
I told her I completely understood her feelings about abandonment. I went through that with my ex-husband even though he wasn’t the one trying to hurt/kill me. And I had a lot of people accuse me of abandoning him in his time of need, but then a light bulb went off and I realized he, in fact, was the one abandoning me and our relationship by deciding to go against all of the professional advice we had received with regard to managing his son.
Guilt is a horrible thing and it rarely is justified especially in cases of domestic abuse.
The best advice I had for her at 11 pm on Saturday night?
I wasn’t expecting to go back and help her today, but she asked me if I could and, once again, there was no way I was going to say no. I didn’t think she was going to need me since the movers were more than capable of handling what really was a small move with very little left for them to actually pack. As it turns out, though, I am so glad I was there for multiple reasons…
1. I was able to assist the movers with the “stragglers” as I call them…the stuff that kind of morphs out of nowhere on moving day that needs to be put in a box or thrown in a bag last minute. Even as efficient and organized as I am when doing a packing job, inevitably there is at least one “LAST BOX…WEIRD STUFF” box. And yes, that is exactly what I write on the box so it is obvious that anything that got put in it will more than likely be the part or piece that you are looking for when you start unpacking.
2. And I also am glad I was there to make sure that she was sitting more than standing.
But the best reason as it turns out that I was there?
Capturing this photo!
What an emotional moment with the moving company coordinator (on the right) hugging my client.
Yes, it is blurry intentionally as to protect my clients identity, but it still conveys the overwhelming joy she felt when the moving company coordinator knocked on the door at 9 am holding a poinsettia for her to take into her new life this holiday season.
And before anyone gets all judgy about two strangers hugging each other in the midst of a pandemic, I just don’t think either one of them really were able to stop themselves. Nor do I think any of us can say with all certainty we wouldn’t have impulsively done the same thing.
Seriously…in all of the years that I have been helping people with any move management services I have never had a moving company go so above and beyond for a client like this.
Pink Dot Moving, they literally had me at hello and I am now going to be their biggest fan/referral source! And even though the pandemic has drastically reduced the number of business cards any of us want or need, I will do everything in my power now to get them into the hands of everyone that will be needing a mover!
And their motto…“We Move Stuff” ?
I obviously feel it is pretty aligned with my company name and mantra, It’s Just Stuff. But I think they need to update their motto to say…
“We move stuff…and will move you to happy tears at the same time.”
And can I just say…these dudes rock the pink look. They tried to look tough but behind those masks they were mush. Super nice guys who worked incredibly hard and showed so much sympathy.
I wish I could share more of the photos from the past two days but they could potentially reveal who the client was and where she lived. And while I cannot imagine her husband will ever see this blog I would never want to be responsible for him finding her, nor do I want him coming after me for any reason.
And now it is Sunday evening and while I didn’t have much of a weekend in terms of “fun” there is no doubt I had one that was extremely fulfilling and rewarding to say the least. And, yes, I am very proud that I was able to “show up” for this woman. Giving up two beautiful days to be outdoors is the price I will always pay to help someone in desperate need.
What am I not proud of?
Racing home after helping on Saturday only to realize I didn’t have confectioner’s sugar to make the cream cheese frosting for the carrot cake I had started the night before so back out to the store I went.
And then I proceeded to make a huge mess in my kitchen frosting the cake…sort of…I’m a great baker, but admittedly a terrible cake decorator. I had no more time to spare which meant clean up would have to wait for when I got home after the birthday celebration.
Then I unexpectedly ended up helping another friend immediately after the birthday celebration who had just moved into her new place, but cut her foot pretty badly the night before and needed my help getting some things done.
I finally arrived home at 9:30 and as I turned the corner to walk into my kitchen truly regretted my decision several hours before to leave it in such chaos…
I decided not to reveal the entire disaster because I am afraid that no one would ever hire me again…or at least not if I am claiming to be such a great organizer 🙄
If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, please take action.
If you are the victim…contact any of the local resources in your specific community or ask your friends and family for help.
And if you know someone who is a victim, please don’t wait for them to ask for help and definitely take action and then ask questions.
The fact that this woman had called the police at least three dozen times this year and they never took the appropriate action is yet another reminder of how women are still treated as if we ask for men to commit such violent acts against us.
One final thought…I know the birthday cake was meant for my friend but I feel like it is yet another way for her to acknowledge what a pivotal moment she is at in her life.
Here’s wishing her and all of the other victims of domestic abuse who find the courage to climb out of a window to escape their abusers…
“Happy Re-Birth Day”!!!!
Be safe…be well…be kind.