** domestic violence trigger
A year ago I was woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call that stopped my heart.
My sister was in the hands of a surgeon who was trying to repair her windpipe after her throat had been slashed by her ex partner.
After being kidnapped and abused over a period of hours, she had survived two attempts on her life by him and now having a tracheotomy was the only way to save her.
Anyone who has sat in vigil, waiting for news from a surgeon knows, the seconds last longer. We were lucky that day. She is still here. Scarred. A little broken and growing stronger every day. A survivor.
Following those first few weeks, She was inundated with good wishes and acts of kindness by complete strangers and friends alike. The kind of acts that make you feel not alone in your pain and 'we' were all incredibly grateful for that support.
Through it all, She forgave him. Instantly - from what I could see. Not because he deserved it but because She knew and saw and had loved him, as the deeply flawed individual he was. Scarred himself by drug addiction and the mental illness that comes with it.
In the past year I have watched as She has clawed her way 'back' to a life of normalcy. In her own way. Deeply immersing herself in her work to get through memories and thoughts of the fateful hours she endured. I am proud of her strength beyond measure. She is, after all the older sister I looked up to and wanted to be 'as cool as'. Now, even more so.
It is the anniversary now. In the Northern Hemisphere, you are celebrating Samhain. The night that marks the turn into the darkest part of the year. A night to honour those who have passed over. For celebrating death and the recycle of rebirth. Which all seems fitting for what happened at the end of October a year ago. But here, in the Southern Hemisphere, we are approaching Beltane.
Beltane is the marking of the peak of Spring and the passing into Summer. A time of high energy and an abundance of fertility. An emergence into the bright light of summer and a time to act on new ideas, hopes and dreams.
An energy change that I hope will come to reside in my sister. If simply wishing could make it happen then I would wish for Her to feel peace. Deep, impenetrable peace. A sense of renewed hope that Her world is capable of feeling whole again. That this anniversary, will mark not the first year that has passed since 'it' happened but the first year since She survived. I wish Her to see She is strong, She is brave, She is unstoppable. I wish the ending of her grief.
Because of all things, Her grief right now is boundless. For those watching, they see only the ending of the physical violence. They do not see that he was a person who was loved by Her, before the end came to pass. They do not see the deeply troubled man who needed help he couldn't bring himself to ask for.
Many of you will not understand the grieving for a man who caused so much pain. You do not have to. You only have to show empathy and compassion to another human being. Both to Her and to him.
We all have made choices in our lives that have negatively impacted those we love, and even those we don't know. Being alive means we have the power to ask for forgiveness and to strive to right our wrongs.
He cannot. The man who caused the pain and the grief for Her, committed suicide hours after he thought he had killed her.
I do not believe any of what happened over those hours, were the actions of a well balanced man. I forgive him. I can because I still have my sister. I can because to do so, allows him to find peace wherever he now is. That, to me, is important. In a world going crazy empathy and compassion should be a basic human characteristic we embrace.
Forgiveness allows us to move forward, truely move forward. Which brings me to my final wish for Her. I wish for others to forgive him for what he did to Her.
For over 9 years he was part of Her family. A stepfather with moments of real joy with Her children. He was loved, unconditionally by Her granddaughter. He was funny and quick witted. He could be kind, loyal and caring. He was deeply flawed but still deserving of a funeral, with people to say that his life had meaning beyond his final hours. I wish for him forgiveness. Wherever he is now, I send him peace, for his actions and for himself.
In the spirit of Beltane, I wish him a safe journey onwards and for someone to say his name with kindness and a fond memory. If you cannot do it for him, then do it for Her. To allow her grief for the man She loved to pass.
I love my sister with all my heart, to see her pain over the man she once loved causes me pain. I cannot fix it or heal it. But I can forgive him. Let Her find Her way back to who She is. She is good and kind, shares all She has and deserves a life that is less hard than this last year has been. I am so proud of Her for finding Her way through the pain and the grief to still be standing today. She has taught me a lot this past year. Strength. Resilience. Forgiveness. Compassion.
She is a light through darkness and a journey unfolding.
Sister... May your next year bring you joy. I love you x
Brad, safe journey onwards
** domestic violence trigger