Growing up, I did not have a “normal” family, in fact it was extremely dysfunctional. My mother was mentally handicapped as well as my younger brother, and my dad (I call him that instead of a father because he had no hand in raising me) was always over the road truck driving. My childhood does not consist of a lot of good memories, and I have blocked a lot of them out, but I struggle with a lot of my past to this very day. I had to grow up very fast because, at a young age, I had to assist my mother with helping raise my brother who is just a few years younger then me. Now, I also had some VERY dark times in my childhood ranging from physical and sexual abuse to running around in the streets at 10, 11, 12 years of age with kids way older and very persuasive. But all of that is for another article…
Before I go into my story, I want to tell you, the readers, that I have an ongoing struggle with God. From my childhood to today at 28, I have always known that the Lord has been there watching over me, but I have always had a hard time understanding why He has allowed me to be through so much. I am slowly starting to understand that He knows how strong of an individual I am and that I’ve needed everything I’ve been through to make me the man and father I am today. And being a patriot, I understand that we need God on our side to fight the battles we are preparing for. He will give us the armor and protection needed to defeat our enemies, and give us ways to reach out to our other brothers and sisters who may still be blinded by those who wish to take our freedoms and liberties.
I want to tell you about a story that just happened recently. From the time of my parents’ divorce, I have always told myself that I will have a family of my own one day and prove to myself that I will not be like my dad. Not long after serving time in the Navy, I was enrolled at Arizona Automotive Institute and met a beautiful woman through my step-sister. I will call her “Beth”, because I do not wish to use her real name. Beth, like me, had no word filter and would tell you to your face her opinion of you or any situation. She had attitude, and a temper to go with it, which was one of the things that automatically attracted me. I have always liked being kept on my toes, and she definitely did that for me. We connected on a level that I had never done with any other woman, but I would soon realize that it was not the best choice for my life.
After dating for a few years, I thought Beth was the one and wanted to settle down with her. I was ready to start a family and have children of my own. Things started happening while we were in engaged, that should have thrown up red flags, but I think I was so excited to finally start a family of my own that I just looked past them. Beth has degenerative disc disease, which is basically a medical condition in the back that slowly breaks down the discs. So she was on pain meds every day, but it wasn’t until she started taking percocets that my life started going down in a deadly spiral. Before our wedding, she started to change. Lies were a daily occurrence (I didn’t know they were lies at the time), money would come up missing (“wedding planning”), and just her mental and physical appearance was not that of the woman I fell in love with. To me, I thought this was all happening because of the stress of planning the wedding with her overbearing mother, and since I was working 12 hours shifts, I blew it off.
We were married at the end of 2010 in Las Vegas, NV at Caesar’s Palace. It was a beautiful ceremony and, even though I was sick with the flu, it was one of the happiest times in my life. Once we got back to Arizona, things calmed down for a while and everything seemed to be going perfect. Beth got pregnant not long after we got married and I was extremely excited, but also worried because of the pain meds she was on. She was considered a high risk pregnancy because of a rare disease she had as a teenager and of her back issues, so Beth was watched very carefully by our doctors, and I was always assured that the baby would be fine.
While she was pregnant, my eyes started to open up a little bit. Things were starting to change again, but more drastically this time. Large amounts of money were missing, valuables in our apartment were missing, and then I started finding pawn tickets hidden throughout our home. We both worked during her pregnancy and I could never understand why she needed to pawn things, which would cause a lot of arguments and drama between us. We would fight, make up…fight and make up. Leaving her was out of the question at this point because I did truly love her and she was pregnant with my child. I did not want to follow the footsteps of my dad and be cowardly, or run and leave my family just because things got “too hard”. So I took it upon myself to be in complete control of the money because Beth came to me and told me that she had a “spending problem”. Things went wonderful and no more drama until after my daughter, Charlotte, was born.
My daughter was born on June 13, 2011. She was absolutely beautiful and healthy, and I fell in love the moment I saw her.
Shortly after Charlotte’s birth, I wanted to be a good husband and show Beth that I trusted her by letting her have access to our finances again because she kept expressing to me that she wanted to have my trust back. So I did and it was the beginning of one of the worst nightmares of my life.
I began letting Beth pay rent to our apartment complex by getting cash for her from my account and giving it to her to get a money order to give to the front office. About five days after rent was supposed to be paid one month, there was a notice on our front door stating that we were late on rent. Now, I have a little bit of a temper, but since Charlotte had been born, I had been working on keeping my cool because I wanted to never fight or argue in front of her. After Beth got home from work, I waited until Charlotte was down for the night before talking to Beth about it. She had promised me that she paid it and that she would call the office in the morning to take care of the issue. I had my doubts, but I wanted to trust my wife. (Back track a little bit; before we got serious, I told Beth that the one thing that would kill our relationship is her lying to me. I can not stand liars.)
So, long story short, she stood by her claim that rent had been paid and we eventually got evicted (we’d been late on rent several times before this, the year before, because of Beth’s mismanagement of money, so they were unwilling to work with us) from our apartment by the local sheriff. I sent Beth and Charlotte to my in-laws because I needed to cool off while I tried finding another place for my family to live. She stayed there for a few days while I lived with dad’s ex-wife, who I consider my second mother because she helped raise me in my teenage years. While I was there I went through in my head everything that Beth had ever told me and was second guessing everything. Which made me slip into a depression, and I almost left during this time, but could not bring myself to go through a divorce.
I finally found another apartment complex that would take us. We moved in a couple days later and I forgave Beth for everything, but deep down I did not trust her. I questioned everything she told me, and wanted to know everything she used money for, which is not how a marriage should function, but I needed to make sure my family was taken care of. But, with me not trusting her, I just kept pushing myself deeper into depression because, at the time, I did not talk about my problems. I used to talk about them with Beth, but I no longer trusted her with my feelings. I dealt with them on my own and tried to work them out. I slowly became a ghost in my own home. The only happy times had were with my daughter, and I barely talked to my own wife anymore.
After a while, I started to realize that Beth had a prescription pill problem. She had pawned her wedding rings one day and I found the pawn ticket and completely lost it. I demanded to know why she needed money and she finally told me it was to buy pills illegally. I had asked her repeatedly in the past about this and she had always denied it. But, she assured me that she did not have a problem and that her prescriptions from the doctor were just not enough to help her get through the pain. Now, you must understand that I hated seeing her in pain, and I was already so far gone mentally at this point, I believed her. This is one thing that I beat myself up constantly after I left because I could have possibly put my daughter in harm’s way. Thank God nothing ever happened.
Things got progressively worse. She would go into my wallet while I slept (I worked nights, so I slept during the day) and take my bank card and withdraw money so she could buy more pills. She would always make me feel guilty when I would ask her about it saying that she was buying things for our daughter, but I never saw any of it. After a while, I was so beat down mentally, that I just did not care anymore. I went to work, did a 12 hour shift, came home and slept. Id wake up, spend some time with Charlotte, and do it all over again. Sometimes going days without saying a word to my wife. I had eventually slipped so deep down into rock bottom that I was making mistakes at work, drinking heavily on my days off, and not even spending time at home.
When I finally hit bottom, I had a plan. I did not want to be in this situation anymore. I felt like I was not being a good husband or father, I felt like I was the scum of the Earth because I could not control what was happening to my family. My wife didn’t listen to me, we were broke even though I had a good paying job, and I was always asking for loans from friends and family. My plan was simple, wait until my wife and child were asleep, then use the pills that changed my wife to take my own life.
A few days before I was planning to do this, a friend of mine, named Sheryl, who I had not spoken to in years got a hold of me on Facebook. We had grown apart because of personal issues in both of our lives. I wasn’t too personal with her at that time, I just said the normal “Hello”, “How you doin”, “how’s the kids” kind of stuff.
The night came when I was planning on doing the extremely cowardly an selfish deed. I went to the bar across the street from my apartment just to be away until I knew that my wife and child would be asleep. I had maybe two beers and a shot, and left. On my way back to the apartment, I knew I was ready to do what I had planned to do. I wasn’t going to write a letter, I wasn’t going to let anyone know. I went in, gave Charlotte a kiss on the forehead, and went into the master bathroom where I knew Beth kept her percocets. I grabbed the pill bottle and went into the other bathroom with a glass of water.
I sat on the edge of the bathtub, and closed the bathroom door with my foot. I undid the cap on the pill bottle and poured a handful of pills into my hand. Just as I did that, I got a text. Now, here is where I know God had a hand in this. I could not NOT answer that text. Something forced me to open my flip phone and saw the text from Sheryl. I can not recall what it said, but I answered it. Without even thinking about it, I was having a conversation with her through text messages in one hand and the handful of pills in the other. After about ten minutes of jibber jabber, I put the phone down and was ready, or so I thought. She sent me another text, and again…something forced me to look at it. The text read, “So tell me about Charlotte”, I sat there and began telling Sheryl about Charlotte. And after a few texts back and forth, I began to cry. I have never wept so hard in my entire life. Sheryl just kept asking more and more about Charlotte and nothing else. I was no longer holding the pills in my hand, I had actually dumped them into the toilet without realizing it. I began to feel strong again, like I had my soul back. I was still deeply damaged, but I was definitely not a “ghost” anymore.
After about an hour of talking to Sheryl about Charlotte, I sat in the bathroom looking at myself in the mirror and just thinking about what a coward I was for what I had almost done. About how I had made a promise to that little girl that I would never let anything happen to her and how I have been through so many battles and won. I promised myself that night that I would never let anything depress me that much ever again. That I will always talk about anything that is bothering me.
I left my wife a few days later and we divorced about a month after that. I do not blame Beth for everything. I screwed up as well by not trying to get her help. It takes two to tango and I was as at fault for the break up of our marriage as she was. Charlotte is now the center of my world and I will do anything to ensure that she is safe and well. We currently have split custody of Charlotte, but I am now in the process of fighting for full custody because of recent things that have happened with my ex-wife.
I didn’t realize it then, but God sent Sheryl to stop me from doing the unthinkable. I was at such a deep dark time in my life, I don’t think he could get through to me on his own. I will always believe that He sent Sheryl to stop me and He was the one forcing me to open my phone to read those messages and answer them.
Sheryl, I know you will read this because you are a follower of this group. I want you to know that I value you being in my life. You are truly my best friend and a true angel in my life.