I am a lover of stories, yet few stories have stopped me in my tracks like Lisette Johnson’s.
A dear friend of mine sent me Lisette’s blog, aptly named ShamelessSurvivors.com, knowing that her history must be shared. I was glued to my seat and my mind did not want to believe what my eyes were seeing in her stories.
On October 4, 2009, while our 9 and 12 year old children played in the basement of our ranch home, my husband of 21 years walked into the bedroom, declared his love for me and shot me in the chest. Running past him I was shot again. As I ran from the house, trying to scream to our children to get out and call 911, he shot me in the back, then turned the gun on himself. By the grace of God I am a survivor. We are survivors.
I was preparing to leave a marriage of increasing abuse and control. The closer that day came, the more abusive he grew. I never imagined his emotional abuse could escalate into physical violence. I never imagined he was capable of it, nor did I understand leaving is the most dangerous time for domestic violence victims. I did not ‘self-identify’ as a domestic violence victim.
Sadly virtually everyone knows someone who is or has been in an abusive relationship; a sister, mother, daughter, cousin, aunt, friend, neighbor or co-worker. If they don’t, they will one day. It is my hope that readers will be inspired to understand the complexity of abuse, and support these women. For those who are currently in it I hope to encourage you to leave fear, be a survivor too, and reclaim your life that is waiting to be lived.
Each blog post is touching, poignant, at times mind-numbing. Each makes me want to reach out and hug this woman whom I’ve never met but for whom I have an admiration that is huge and indescribable.
Surely whatever darkness I dream is far away and cannot hurt me. I will awake to hear the crickets in the cool fall air and be comforted by familiar surroundings. He will stir and draw me close, gathering me securely in his arms. We will slumber, entwined, peacefully.
The stories Lisette shares, not only of her but of her children, and other children who have suffered abuse, will eventually be compiled into a novel of her life story. I will wait for it, trying to imagine what she went through, and trying to conceive living life as she’s had to.