Monday, February 13, 2012

"Retired" In Peace Whitney

I don't remember the first time I heard Whitney Houston bellow out one of her many beautiful songs but I do know that many,,,many of them have gotten me through some sad and lonely days when I was alone!  When the movie The Bodyguard came out I fell in love with her music in a totally different, more adult, more feminine way.  It empowered the woman within me to stand up for myself.  To not allow trials and difficulties to "get me down"  and to STOP letting people run over me.    Seriously...I do mean that.  I may have a big sounding voice but I don't vocalize or should I say, I didn't vocalize my needs when I was a young lady.  I thought you had to be totally submissive in a relationship if it was to be the "June Clever" dream life I desired.  Weird, eh?  I'll save those details for another post....
I found so much peace in her voice. So much emotion in the way she carried her words to the next level that chills would and still do run through me when I hear certain songs!    It was 1992 and I was struggling in a second marriage that promised to be my "lifesaver" when it turned out to be the most physically, verbally and emotionally abusive relationship I have ever known.  My children were watching their step-father literally slap me around on a pretty frequent basis.  I can remember going to sleep at night wondering if I would wake the next morning due to his anger and the rage he had inside him.  Some people ask why and how did you stay...but there is no easy or quick answer in that.  I was a woman with 3 small children and thank God I had my career in nursing and it took the act of the physician I was working for to make the necessary steps for me to finally get away from this abuse.  I woke one morning and had ran the kids to school, the youngest I would take with me on the way to work as he went to Trenton Street Baptist Church daycare near my office.  On the way back I stopped at the bottom of our street (we lived deep in the hills and country of Harriman, TN on a one way street.   I stopped at the car dealership he and his brother ran together to grab a soda out of the vending machine.  It took all of a minute.  When I arrived back at the house I began dressing in my scrubs when suddenly Billy's violence set in.  His jealousy of wanting to know why I stopped to get a soda...why...why.   The simple answer was I was wanting one to drink and there was nothing in the house but OJ and milk.  The next few moments of my life were a blur and still are.  I remember the first of many hits to my face...then somehow I am in the bottom of his shower and he is kicking me over and over with my son Bret screaming in the background.  I remember thinking, "Cover your head, your temples Bridgitte, cover them" and I did.  I don't remember his leaving the room but when I opened my swollen eyes I knew there was blood from the taste in my mouth.  I grabbed a towel and ran.  God place Bret right in my path and I picked him up and put him in the car.  My gosh, he wasn't buckled in or anything and I remember getting to the dealership and pulling in.  Wilma, an employee walked up and screamed for John, Billy's brother.  John told Wilma to take me to the ER and I begged no, no, take me to Dr. Foote's office where I work.  For the next several hours the girls at the office came one by one hugging me, reassuring me, telling me Bret was at daycare and the police knew not to let Billy pick up the kids.  There were county officers everywhere.  In and out of the room asking questions about him.  Then his older brother Freddie walked in and I felt the room darken with doom.  Freddie was the town Constable.  I was fighting the police force in some way.  However, Freddie bent down and said how sorry he was and he kept telling Billy to get help.  It was then I learned he had done this to his previous wife Faye.  Dr Foote came into the room at just this moment and said, "Bridgitte, I've called your father, he's on the phone. This has gone on long enough, he is going to kill you."   When I saw his brother agreeing with a nod of the head at the moment Dr. Foote handed me the phone receiver....I became so overwhelmed with emotions.  No one...No one can know the thoughts that go through ones mind in a split second.  Hearing my Daddy's voice on that phone and him saying, "Honey, it's gonna be okay.  We're gonna come get you and the kids."   Even as I type this I am bawling like I did that day.  Just at that moment the soundtrack from The Bodyguard began playing over the office speaker.  Hearing each song brought back so many emotions, so many memories and yet  as it continued I became empowered.  Just as I lay back down the voice of Whitney singing, "Yes, Jesus loves me" came on and I knew my Father and my Daddy were going to take care of me!
It took Orders of Protection, warrants, countless trips to see the Judge privately to try and understand why Billy didn't appear each time and how he continued to be granted continuations.  Finally after videos being captured of him wearing a black ski mask and all black clothing at 2 am on the farm, my phone lines being cut...I was granted a divorce without him present.  My Daddy and my Uncle Bobby planned a midnight move to get me out of town after we led him to believe I was going nowhere. His brother and the Judge had him arrested and held on a huge bond for a couple of days so arrangements could be made to get me out of town.    Dr. Foote and Dr. Terry were beyond so giving and so kind in helping me with hiding out and getting me and the kids to a safe shelter.  It was horrible.  Sheer hell.  To think I put my kids through all this brings a surmountable amount of guilt but after countless hours of counseling and I do mean hours...I realize a person can get to the point of feeling worthless after a person continually degrades them.  
Dr. Jim Terry gave me the soundtrack The Bodyguard one day on a cassette.  Yep,,,a cassette!! lol  He knew I walked after work while the kids fished and it was a way to clear my head at the end of a day and before going home to tackle homework.  I still have that cassette!  I even added this soundtrack as one of my first purchases when I was given my iPod.  To this day while walking on the treadmill at the gym or at the local park here...with the first beat of the song, "I'm every woman" begins my blood gets a little thicker.  My steps get faster and broader.  I notice my shoulder taking on a stance of their own.  The song speaks to me.  It tells me the opposite of what others hear.  It says, I CAN DO IT, and everytime I think of you you better have fear cause I'm strong, stronger than I thought I was and I am every woman, It's all in me.   You put me though hell but I survived so baby, you better watch it cause it's not me you have to answer to!! was a lot more than I ever expected to write!!  A LOT MORE!  I'm not usually that open with details.  
Whitney, I think you knew how beautiful you were inside and out and that you had a magical gift of voice.  I think you got lost somewhere like I did.  You seemed to be trying so hard for your beautiful daughter.  I understand that when you get so low some of those closest to us have no idea because we hide it from them.  They may find drugs (precsription)  in you blood but you know they will in mine too so personally, I'll believe in my heart no matter what you took you never meant to go forever.  You're a mom.  Moms don't leave their kids.  We do sometimes find ourselves clinging to them for our lives when we have no one else personally.  You told Diane Sawyer in a 2002 interview that in ten years you wanted to be "retired".  You are my dear.  Retired and at home with your heavenly father.  You never, never failed to proclaim that , "Yes, Yes, your Jesus loved you!"  for that's the part of you I will carry with me.  

Like I said, I wouldn't normally share this story.  In fact maybe only 2-3 people know it until now...I believe that I should share some of my struggles for two reasons.  1:  I feel like God has led me too and I won't question that.  2. If one person, just one, can obtain any amount of strength from my sharing then so be it...but moreso, to share His love and to share that there is always a HOPE! Hope, a future and life in HIM!

Jeremiah 29:11 - 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' 

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