How does this all end? I sit here wondering how I will write the ending to an unending book.
I come home one night, and turn on the lights to darkness. He’s sitting on my bed like in so many of my PTSD night visions. I run for the door; he catches me and pushes me against it covering my mouth as I scream silently and flail like a maniac. Then I remember I might know three martial arts moves, so I go still for a second to center then do a crazy krav maga slip with elbows and fists, escape and kick him to the ground, pull out my gun from my underwear and shoot him in the heart without a blink.
Nope, that probably won’t be it. A little unrealistic. A little too hopeful. How I wish it would end. Me powerfully killing him cold, avenging the blood of my son.
The real ending ends with him in jail. That’s unquestionable. That must happen, okay, Hashem, are you listening? I’ll do it my way. Your way better be jail. Or what, Rina?
I can’t rebel again. I can’t go rogue again. I can’t be an unbeliever. I’ve tried it all and got nothing and I have nothing left to threaten Him with.
Please help me accept your way with emuna and joy. (But jail, jail would bring me so much joy.)
Can I live in this neighborhood happily, safely, with him a mile away?
I don’t see him anymore. I don’t worry about seeing him. Not as much. But I’m still on edge worried that something more may come. Something more to me or my kids. Something more to someone else or her kids. Something bad. Is that trauma that hasn’t left me yet? Or is it premonition?
Maybe the ending ends with me feeling strong in my emotions about the whole thing and in my emuna. No matter what the ending.
Does it end with forgiveness? Oh no. I’m not ready for that. Unless I think of the spiritual world and all the spiritual elevation that G-d willing has happened to my neshama (soul) since this awful child abuse. If his soul agreed to that for the purpose of that, and is just playing his part in that, I can forgive him. But I don’t know how the world really works. I don’t know if souls conspire before birth with plans for tikkun. Planning out that type of evil for the sake of uplifting a soul seems so grossly morbid. I don’t know if it’s all free will and random acts of humanity (random but foreknown and perfectly orchestrated by Hashem).
My heart. My heart wants my sons to know that this mattered. That this was really bad to someone other than our family. That this was bad by law. My heart wants to hold my sons and say, “He’s in jail. For a long time. You’re safe. We’re safe. Someone cared. Let’s go play at the playground again and not worry about him showing up.”
When Bentzion came home, I expected him to be timid and victimized. From our balcony, I watched him walk in with a CPS caseworker. He shrunk and looked around and asked cautiously, “Is Daniel here? Is Daniel coming?” I ran down the stairs to him. I flew and I grabbed him and I swore to him as I held him, “No, he will never ever be here again. He is not our friend. He is gone.” And that was it.
My son came inside the house, my 2-year-old warrior, and said, “Daniel is going DOWN!” He danced it and stomped it, his victimhood shed, he chanted with his brothers and pointed to the ground, “He’s going down!” I laughed and I cried and I thanked G-d for my strong sons and I wondered what the CPS caseworker must be writing in his notepad about all this. But my boys were home.
There’s another ending, one my fingers don’t want to type. One that determines where home is for them, and how often, and when. One more common, less dramatic, more painful. Will I lose my children again? That one feels dark and slushy, like the darkness of the Makos, the plagues. Paralyzing. Terrifying. I can’t see my hand in front of my face. The connection to his goodness hasn’t severed, no matter how much I chop at it, and chopping in the dark is dangerous. I wait for Hashem.
That ending ends with my boys knowing the truth about both of us, and with me having power to make things good for them. That much I know, I hope. In a house with a pink tree in the front and a trampoline in the back.
I named The Abuser Daniel because it means “G-d is my judge.” This gives me peace. Until I remember and fear G-d’s mercy, which must be one of the best things to fear. If G-d chooses mercy, I will pray and pray and pray for my heart to accept it, and by accepting it to receive that mercy for myself and my sons infinitely multiplied.