Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Result of Needing a Hero

My spirit needs quiet and serenity once in a while. It recharges my emotional batteries. I’m like my father in that regard.

I deliberately left my wheelchair home.

I deliberately left my cell phone home in the bag that hangs on the back of my wheelchair.

My grandson was with me. We would only be gone, at the most, an hour and a half. Half of that time I would be sitting in my car alone, but it would be cool, quiet and re-energizing

When the man accosted me the best I could have done was push on my horn, but his arm was across the horn and I couldn’t get to it.

My car automatically locks when the doors are shut. So he couldn’t have opened my car door and pulled me out.

My windows roll up automatically, but the key has to be turned to engage the automatic. If I had been able to get to the key I could have rolled the window up and caught his upper body half in and half out of my car. But, if he had had a gun that would have been the opportune time to use it. Shooting a gun would have shattered the window and most likely killed me.

When I got home after the incident the men in my house, which included several of grandson’s friends, became irate over something that they had had no control over. I had to answer their questions again and again. I had to describe the situation to each of them individually, while the others listened and paced.

I don’t know what the man’s intentions were. Rape doesn’t seem reasonable. Car jacking and rape seem a more reasonable possibility. Maybe all he really wanted was the feel of a woman’s skin and lips on his. That doesn’t seem plausible either.

I couldn’t leave the area. My grandson was in the building. There weren’t any other people around that I could call for help. I couldn’t call the police; I didn’t have my cell phone. I didn’t see where he ran, because I was trying to keep my dog from jumping out of the car window and chasing him.

As I sat in my car and tried to calm the adrenalin surging through my body I stroked my dog’s head and twisted my neck left and right to make certain that he wasn’t coming back. I didn’t feel any residual trauma. I didn’t cry until the men in my house showed me how frightened they were for me.

But then ... the day after it happened I was driving John to the pharmacy when all of a sudden I was overtaken with memories so vivid and frightening that I thought I was going to have to pull the car over. And I haven’t been able to rid myself of them.

This is difficult for me to write, but I feel like I have to put it in words to get it out of my head. In the 1970’s I experienced a date rape. Date rape wasn’t a term that was used then. So, because I had known the man for a bit, and had been on a date with him, everything became complicated.

It involved a lawyer, three doctors, a minister, and two heart broken families. It also involved a hospitalization and an unexpected pregnancy for me.

The woman that had wanted six children had been told over and over that she would have to content herself only one child, and that one was a miracle, or so they said.

The rapist’s doctor called me and said that the world would be a better place if men like him killed themselves. My personal doctor, after he discovered the pregnancy, yelled that he had seen what had been done to my body. “You’re going to have an abortion!” Abortions weren’t legal then. That was a very frightening statement. My minister said that if I had been his daughter I wouldn’t have been there talking I would be going through the process to have the abortion. My parents were grief stricken. I was pregnant with a child that would be their grandchild. The man’s parents begged me not have an abortion. It would be their ’only’ grandchild.

My quiet peace loving father, that had never hurt another human being in his life, thought he saw the man driving on the freeway. He grabbed the lug wrench that was in the car and followed the man for an hour. He followed that car until the man stopped and got out. It was then that my father realized it wasn’t the man and what he would have done if it had been. My father would have severely beaten or maybe killed a man because of the hurt that had been done to me.

I was surrounded by angry doctors, a minister that had counseled me to do something that went against his beliefs, and two set of parents that wore worry and fear on their faces. I was sick, frightened and torn apart by what I believed and what life was handing me.

Then it was taken out of my hands. I had a massive hemorrhage and was rushed to the nearest hospital. It was a teaching hospital. I didn’t know that the human body could lose so much blood and still survive. The surgeon performed a D&C with me awake because he was worried about putting me under.

The next morning as I was sitting on the side of my hospital beda young man in a white coat walked into my room. He came over sat down beside me and put his arm around my shoulders. He wasn’t angry, he wasn’t grief stricken, and he wasn’t making moral decisions. He was an intern that had been involved in my surgery. He sat with me and talked to me. He let me cry. He let me hate life for a bit. He let me hate the man for a bit. He let me spew all the confusion, fear, and anger. Then he quietly talked to me. He said things that I will never forget. He filled me with love and hope again. In fact, I have tried to live my life by many of the words that he shared with me.

Because one young man took the time to show compassion to a damaged woman I came away from that experience still liking men and still liking sex. I remember him as an angel sent to heal me.

I haven’t thought of that trauma in years. In fact, many of the people in my life know nothing about it. I have grown beyond that memory.

The man that accosted me in my car has brought it all back like a giant wave. I feel more personally invaded because of his ability to bring back the memories then because of what he actually did. My dog took care of him. Now I have to take care of putting the memory back where it belongs. That may take some time.

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