When your abuser dies

One day a few months ago I wondered what I will do when my mother dies. We haven’t spoken in years and at the age of 46, I am still scared of her. Even though I know physically she no longer can harm me I fear her words. Thinking about this has propelled me to start writing a novel about something along those lines.

Tonight H and I are grilling steaks and there are potatoes and asparagus with garlic cloves roasting in the oven. I’m having white and he is sipping red when the phone rings disrupting the music streaming through the house. It’s my neighbor. Quick summary: my neighbor’s husband began sexually harassing me two years ago. I tell the wife and suggest he has dementia hence his inappropriate comments. Sure enough, the diagnosis is frontal lobe dementia. No one in their family realized he was behaving differently until I told them how he was stalking me and suggested they test him. Even after the diagnosis, the wife insisted he was harmless. We installed cameras and have a video of him pleasuring himself on my front porch. We had cappers added to our 7-foot privacy fence so he could no longer gawk at me when I sat in the backyard. We had a fence installed in the front so he couldn’t see our cars since he only came over when my husband’s car was gone. After he threatened to kill my husband one day when he confronted him trying to get into the house we hired an attorney. Attorney writes a letter saying that while we are sympathetic we don’t want to live in fear and spend even more money fortifying our home. Wife responds she does the best she can and can’t watch him 24/7.

The police come out three more times and one even walks me through where I am allowed to shoot him, taser him, and when I should let my overly protective boxer pit mix loose. You see with a diagnosis I gave him protection the law didn’t afford me. The day before Thanksgiving I get a call from the wife I no longer have to be scared because she had to commit him. I’ve landscaped my front, put in a new garden and have even bought new deck furniture to enjoy. I feel safe outside.

The call tonight was to let me know he died Wednesday. She said, “with frontal lobe dementia not only are they overly sexualized, which is what we tried to tell you, but death comes quick.” I told her I was sorry for her loss and if she needs anything to let us know.

H was livid. She was trying to guilt me about being abused by her husband. Whether he could help it or not he still kept me in a state of fear and worry. He had been committed two weeks before I could drive down my own street and my stomach not knot worrying he maybe in the front yard.

What will I do when the women who abused me physically and emotionally dies? I hope it feels like this moment does. Slightly sad but with a sense of relief.

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