Thursday, July 15, 2010
I tried to follow the warmer weather as best as I could. But the radio did not work more often than it did. Just before the broadcast cut out, I thought I heard the weatherman say snow was predicted for elevations as low as 1000 feet. I had hoped we'd be safe at 840 feet, but this was an unusual cold front that no one in Lee's Summit, Missouri was prepared for in late September.
"It's cold in here mommy." I could see my daughters breath frosted in the air.
"I know it is sweetie." I begin to feel it; the pain in your heart that you experience where hopelessness resides.
"Can't we turn on the heater?"
"No baby, we can't."
"Not even for a little while mommy?" Rrrip. It tears in half.
"I'm sorry baby. You know we can't. We can't afford it. How about if you climb under the covers with me til you get warm, okay?" There was plenty of room for my six year old to sleep with me. Well, nit plenty, but I'd make do. I always did.
I lifted my blankets in invitation and shivered as her ice like toes penetrated my clothes. Laura was like her mother. If her toes were cold, the rest of her followed suit. I didn't worry much about BJ. He could have slept through the coming of the ice age, with his footie pajamas, and burrowed head in his He-man sleeping bag.
Josh on the other hand was not yet old enough to hide beneath the covers if he got cold. I reached over to touch my 16 month old child sleeping beside me. I tucked his blankets around him tightly making sure he was secure in his mattress of clothing and towels that were spread over the back floor portion of the 66 Nova we had been living in for more than two and one half years.
As my daughter happily snuggled down, I knew sleep would evade me. My brain was engaged full throttle, focused on the previous year's events that brought us to a life of beggary.
During our time of even less than poverty, I had been shot at, stabbed and beaten more times than I cared to remember. But I had to remember. I could never allow myself to forget for within those memories lie the strength to do what was needed to be done to secure my children's safety. As I lay there taking in the sweet breath of my daughter, I had no premonition that those horrific years would be less frightening than the years to follow.
Your life may flash before your eyes just before death, but those flashes are more clear, more vivid the evening before you give your children back to the monster that forced you to hell in the first place.