My Eternal HOPE
I never truly understood the meaning of hope, sure I could grasp the concept but I never really possessed the feeling in it's entirety. I always had FAITH that things would turn out the way they should, even if it took longer than I thought it should. But, still, the true meaning of hope escaped me much like the meaning of peace, calm and strength.
8 years ago I thought I had found the meaning of it. 8 years ago my step father, who's repeated r*pes had led to my pregnancy, was arrested for aggravated sexual assault. Oh my gosh I couldn't believe it! I had finally had enough and reported him to the authorities and they believed me, just as he had told me they wouldn't. I had thought my nightmare was over and found out how wrong I was.
See after the arrest comes all of the other stuff... The emotional and mental stuff of recovery and PTSD followed. 'Seeing' him wherever I went and swearing I could hear his voice, though he was locked up thousands of miles away. Having to lock my bedroom door at night thinking if I didn't he could get to me. Swearing that I could feel his eyes on me anytime I ventured into the dark and KNOWING I was seeing him in my 'dreams' anytime I dared to be so exhausted that I must sleep. Then there was the technical of investigations, victim impact statements, offering a plea deal and eventually conviction. He was convicted of the stated offense and received 17 years with a minimum of 7 to be served before any chance of parole.
September 3rd my step father entered the parole review process that in the state of Texas can take from 3 to 6 months. I was immediately transformed into that little girl again. I was that 13 year old terrified child and the grown woman trying to survive all at once and I realized that when I thought it was hope that I had before it was just an illusion. At least for me, I felt I couldn't have true hope as long as I had fear, I had to confront the fear head on. I had to write that letter to the parole board, the first one I would ever complete.
I did it, I had to. I couldn't fail for if I did and he got out I KNEW I would lose all faith and hope for the future, I would fall into the depths of disparity and might not make it out another time.
Then TRUE HOPE came to me. It came in the form of a phone call. On Tuesday, September 17, 2013 my life changed so drastically and finally took a turn for the better.
I was at work and quite the spacy anxious mess. See the night before I had SLEPT, and I slept well. No nightmares, not fretful and it kind of weirded me out. Around lunch time I looked at my phone wondering why I hadn't gotten a text yet and saw I had a missed call from a blocked number.
I immediately knew it was victims services in Texas, though I couldn't figure out how I knew. They have never called me in the eight years he has been in custody so why would they now? All the message said was that I was registered with them for notifications and that they had a very important matter to discuss with me concerning him.
So for two hours I called off and on and FINALLY got ahold of them. The gentleman went through all the typical things, "you are so and so and your the victim of so and so". Then he said the words that would change my life forever "Jennifer this call is to inform you that the offender died while in custody on September 16th"
Oh my Holy Lord, are you freaking kidding me?!
I started crying immediately, the kind of crying filled with beauty and relief. I had been in the fight for my life for 18 years and it was FINALLY OVER. He apologized for upsetting me and I told him there was no need, I wasn't upset he had just delivered the best news he could to a victim.
The world immediately looked different to me. I could see a world where I know my daughter will never be harmed by him. I could see a world where I now KNOW I will be okay. I finally had HOPE, not wishful, REAL HOPE.
I can hope for further recovery, for peace of mind, for a better world. I can see the beauty, without the tragedy. I could feel my breath going deeper into my lungs than it ever had. I could feel every single bit of tension deflate out of me. I felt real calm and peace come over me, TRUE HOPE knowing it was over.
I am not sure what it will take to bring you hope and healing as it is different for every survivor. I just know that I found mine. I know if I can find such hope, peace and wellness, then we all can. Please be well and know that it will come for you too, it may not be how or when you envisioned it but it WILL come.