Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chapter 23

After that trip down to Yarmouth Gary started talking about moving down more and more.  I was devastated, how could I leave my home, friends and most importantly Jessie?  I hoped and prayed that it was just a passing whim and that soon his attention would turn to something else.

June came and with it Josiah's high school graduation.  I couldn't believe that my little boy was so grown up.  He had applied to and been accepted at a Bible College in Ontario and would be leaving the end of August.  The summer past quickly, I was kept busy getting his clothes and other things he would be needing ready to go.

One of Gary's brothers at this time lived in Ontario and he was always driving back and forth to the Maritimes with his work, so he offered to take Josiah and Gary up, bringing Gary back home the following week.  It was a very very hard day for me when Josiah walked out that door.  He was so excited.  I held it together until they left.  Then I grabbed Gabby and Emma and cried along with both of them.

Right or wrong, Josiah had been becoming increasingly the person that I leaned on.  There was one day that Gary was very angry with me.  Josiah had actually stepped between us, faced his father and demanded that he leave me alone.  I thought Gary was going to pound him into the ground.  But amazingly he turned and walked away!

Josiah was my "huggy" child.  Elizabeth like to hug on occasion and be near me when she was sick, but on a day to day basis, hugs were not her "thing".  Josiah on the other hand was quick to stop and give me a hug and kiss a least a couple times a day.

Over the next month I fell into a deep depression.  I missed Josiah terribly.  I didn't see it at the time but Elizabeth was missing him too and felt very neglected by me.

Gary went down to Yarmouth for Thanksgiving weekend and I was greatly relieved.  I didn't feel like celebrating.  I didn't feel thankful for very much at this point.  Now at least I didn't have to be bothered with making a big meal, it was only Elizabeth and I, so what did it matter!  But oh it did.  On the way home from church that Sunday morning Elizabeth asked me when we were going to have the turkey dinner and I said we weren't, Josiah and dad weren't there.  In a very quiet and hurt voice she asked, "What about me?"  It was like a knife had been plunged into my heart.  I glanced over at her and she had such a sad forlorn look on her sweet face.  I told her how very sorry I was for being so selfish and not thinking about how she was feeling, and that yes she did matter very much!  I ended up taking her out to a Chinese restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner!  It was different, good and I hope she realized how much I did love her!

When Gary came back from Yarmouth he said that he and Anne had driven around town and she had shown him a lot of houses that the Housing Co-op owned and rented.  He had the number for their office and got me to call for an application.  I was so sad.  Here I had lost my son and I was going to lost my home and best friend as well.  I finally went to the doctor because I couldn't sleep and I couldn't stop crying.  He put me on an anti-depressant and after a few weeks I began to feel a little better.  I also managed to put a different spin on the situation.  I thought maybe, just maybe if Gary got in good with this Pastor down there, perhaps things would change for the better, maybe the abuse would stop!  A fresh start might be just what was needed to finally change things.

After Christmas we put our house on the market and the following weekend went down to Yarmouth for an interview with the Housing Co-op.  I did nearly all the driving now as Gary didn't like to drive much anymore.  I stopped in Lower Sackville to get gas.  Going through a set of lights we were hit by a car;  not seeing us, he had plowed right into my door!  What a horrible jolt.  Gary immediately yelled at me, asking why I had done that! (as I mentioned before, everything was always my fault!)  I checked Elizabeth in the back seat to see if she was OK, she was very upset because she had broken a fingernail...oh my, that was my girl, bless her heart!  After about an hours delay, due to the police and making sure the van was OK for the trip we got back on the highway.  I was very tense driving.

It started to snow on the way and by the time we reached Yarmouth 4 hours later the roads were bad.  We were almost to the Co-op office when I went around a corner and slid straight into a about a bad day!  We finally got towed out and made it to the office.  We had the interview, then went to see the house they had for us.  Gary had said that the houses were all nice except for two that looked like they were half sunk into the ground.  One was painted blue and was referred to as the "Smurf house"!  Yes, you guessed it, we pulled into the driveway of the Smurf house...I couldn't bring myself to look at Gary.  However upon entering the house we found a nice layout, 3 bedrooms, large kitchen and a storage room.  I liked it right off.  We signed the papers, then went to spend the night with Bruce and Anne.

Nine days later our house in Eastern Passage sold.  I didn't quite know how to feel when we got the news.  Elizabeth was excited about the move for which I was extremely grateful.

The last Sunday at our church they had an evening send-off for us.  During the service a family sang a song I had written a couple years earlier entitled, "Like a Sparrow".  It was really something hearing it song like that.  They had a fellowship time afterward in the basement.  The Ladies Fellowship Group presented me with a beautiful box that Lynnette had made.  Inside was filled with cards and letters from all the ladies to me,  what a thoughtful and caring gift it was.  I still take it out from time to time and go through those letters.  One thing that always strikes me when I read them are the many mentions of my smile!  They had no idea of the agony and abuse that smile hid from the world.  I'll always treasure those letters and the ladies that wrote them.

Thursday of that week was moving day.  Our van door that had been damaged in the accident had now been fixed and the van was ready to be picked up that morning.  A group of men from Yarmouth were on their way to help us move.  I was hurrying around trying to shove last minute things into boxes when they arrived.  I really didn't know any of them except for the Pastor.  A couple of them left with Gary to go get the U-Haul truck.  I left to go get the van.  By the time I got back a lot of the furniture was already in the truck.  Elizabeth and I packed up the van with the food from the fridge and freezer, lamps, plants and suitcases and then left for Yarmouth.  The truck was about an hour behind us.

It was dark when Elizabeth and I arrived at the house.  The power had been turned on the day before.  We unloaded the van, locked the door and went to Bruce and Anne's.  Gary was dropped off about an hour later and the truck was then parked in the parking lot of the church until the morning.

At 8:00am the unpacking began.  The house was filled with people I didn't know.  There were ladies in the kitchen unpacking boxes, washing and drying the dishes and putting them in cupboards.  Other ladies were in the bedrooms setting up the beds and making them.  One man was putting up the curtains on all the windows!  Everywhere I looked there was someone I didn't know doing something, it was kind of overwhelming.

By late afternoon everything was in the proper rooms, but there was still a lot of unpacking and fixing up to do.  Someone brought in supper for us and then everyone cleared out.  It had been an exhausting day.  We worked until nearly midnight on boxes, then fell into bed.

Somehow through a sleepy haze I heard pounding.  It took me a minute to remember where I was and then to realize that the sound I was hearing was someone at the door.  I was so sleepy, stiff and sore it was hard to move.  I met Elizabeth coming out of her room wondering what was going on.  I opened the door and there stood Anne.  She asked if we were OK.  I said yes and then asked her why.  She said that this was her third visit to the house that morning.  I guess I must have looked at her kind of strange because she then pointed to her watch.  It was nearly 11:30am!  We hadn't heard a thing and she was starting to think we had all died.  She said she would be back with lunch and be the time she returned we were up and dressed.

Another long day followed trying to put the house to rights.  It would be a few months before all the boxes were unpacked and I felt settled, but we were here.  The newest residents of Yarmouth had arrived.

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