, , , ,

Everything Happens For A Reason.

Last week I took a stroll into my past. While at my mother-in-laws newest home, I realized I was only a few miles away from where my son and I were abused 19 years ago.  I drove and sought out the 3 locations where my precious son and I once lived in terror.

While traveling through the city, I also made a stop at the police station to thank the detective again that handled my sons Aggravated Child Abuse case. Unfortunately, he was not on duty, but was able to leave the now “Sgt” a voice mail on his phone system. I left the memorable police station with great pride. 19 years ago the Coral Springs Police Department and Sgt. Mangini treated my son and I with the utmost respect. We were very fortunate. I have not heard the same story from all victims of crime. A few days after my walk through those doors, Sgt. Mangini returned my call informing me that he was thankful that I had called and was glad that my son and I are doing well. We were unable to see one another while I was in town, but I am thrilled that my message was passed on and he knows his hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed. Years ago after our case, my son and I had also sent the department a note informing everyone how wonderful a job they had done with my son’s case.  You may know as well as I do, that LE usually hears about the negatives issues.  If you have a positive experience with them,  let law enforcement know.  They have a job that typically is unappreciated.  But they are the first individuals we go to when we need them.

I proceeded to drive to the first apartment where Pat (my ex-fiance) and I lived (along with my son and Pat’s teenage daughter) and took a photograph of the ‘home that had no love’ from a man who I thought I knew at the time.  I then realized we lived only one mile from the police station.  I never thought about that years ago.  I then took a picture of the street sign.  Sample Road.

Next, down the street to the apartment that my son and I moved to after one of the many times Pat abused me.  Only about 2 miles from Pat’s apartment.  I wish I had been more educated about domestic violence at the time.  I sure did make it easy for Pat to stalk and harass me.  I am not being hard on myself; just realizing how little I knew about abusers and the red flags that I wish I have been looking out for.  It wasn’t until after my son was abused that I moved 2000 miles away. I believe everything happens for a reason!  Once again, this apartment was also off of Sample Road.

I then took photographs of the Holiday Inn, now LaQuinta Inn, just off the corner of Sample Road and University.  This is memorable because during the time I lived in the above apartment, I had filed a restraining order against Pat.  He was stalking me daily at work, following me practically everywhere I went, and at home.  One thing he would do is park his car at the Holiday Inn, which was only approximately 1/2 mile from my apartment.  In the back of the Holiday Inn was a golf course.  Through the golf course he would sneak into my apartment complex.  Once he reached my apartment, he would peek in my windows, or bang on them, and then leave items at the door.  I would then call 9-1-1. He would see the police coming, leave the premises and run through the golf course to get back to his car and leave.  The police would never see him, nor be able to catch him.  The police caught on to what he was doing.  Pat caught on to the police.  Pat ended up parking his car at various locations and was never caught.

While I was at the Holiday Inn taking photographs, this was the first time I saw what he actually did “from his eyes”.  I never had been at that location.  Amazing to think Pat went to that much trouble just to get to my apartment to stalk and harass me and my son.

Unfortunately, after a few months of Pat stating he was on medication and going to counseling, I relented and moved back in with him.  This next house is where we then moved in together ~ again.

Next, I drove a few blocks to the house that Pat and I moved into together with my son and two of Pat’s kids, when we were engaged.    This is the house we lived in when he abused my son.  All of these locations were in a 4 mile proximity of one another. This was also off of Sample Road.

Then I headed down a few miles east on Sample Road to the nightclub that Pat and I visited frequently.  How does this building fit in to my life?  More irony.   Pat and I went to this nightclub quite often.  On one occasion we had a horrific fight and I ended up leaving and walking home.  I walked approximately 2-3 miles in the middle of the night, and was stopped by the Coral Springs Police.  They asked me if I was okay – I informed the officer of everything that happened.  The officer offered me a ride home, but as a young 25-year-old ‘stubborn me’ at the time, I declined.  Looking back I realize just how dangerous that was to walk on that road in the middle of the night.  The officer was looking out for my safety.  There wasn’t anything else the officer could have done to protect me (of course, my guess is he continued to drive around to make sure I arrived home safely).  That is what I experienced from this police department; they did Protect and Serve.  This nightclub is also where I first met Mackenzie Phillips.  She and I went down memory lane last November regarding this club when she and I were in Charleston.

Is it irony that I lived in three different dwellings on or off of Sample Road and I experienced domestic violence at all three locations ~ and I provide “samples” of domestic violence in workshops, conferences, etc.?

Everything Happens for a Reason.

Is it irony that I met Mackenzie Phillips years ago at the same nightclub I frequented with one of my abusers and then sat with her again in Charleston with Angela Shelton discussing the Army of Angels this past November?

Everything Happens for a Reason.

I am so thankful I am at a place in my life now that I can revisit these locations and not be triggered.  The only experience that brought tears to my eyes last week was when I was standing in the back of the Holiday Inn and saw the field that Pat ran through to my apartment to terrorize me and my son.  I had never seen his trail before.  It was something that I had forgotten about until I was actually standing in his tracks.  The tears were bittersweet.  My son and I have come a long way in 19 years.  Standing there in Pat’s tracks reminded me of the growth and how far we have come in life.  How much self-respect I now have for myself.  My son and I could have died at the hands of the man who I “loved”.  Instead, we were fortunate enough to have escaped and now live joyful lives.  We moved on to break the silence of abuse.  Turned negatives into positives.  That is what my flow of tears represented.

Having the understanding, background, experience, and insight as to why women stay in abusive relationships is why I do what I do.  My passion drives me.  I am honored to be able to share my experiences, as well as my education on this topic and more, when I speak publicly.

Everything Happens for a Reason.  Life’s Greatest Sorrow can be Your Greatest Purpose.  I have always known God put me on this earth for a reason, and I am proud to be continually growing in spirit.

While driving to the locations, a Coral Springs Police officer just happened to be driving by.  Notice my purple ribbon representing domestic violence tied to my car that is also in the picture.  Hmmm.

I have omitted large portions of information in this blog.  Please look for my upcoming book, “Life’s Greatest Sorrow Can Be Your Greatest Purpose”.

Please visit my blog soon for examples of what someone could do if they find themselves in domestic violence situations, such as the above.