Last week was a difficult one. It began with me taking Ryan on some university tours. They were great universities and it has encouraged Ryan as he ends his junior year, but for me it unearthed anxieties I never thought I’d have. My babies will be leaving the nest soon and I don’t like it :(.
Tuesday night Ryan came into the room and handed me a letter. He wrote it on his junior retreat in January. He conveniently failed to give it to us. It began with “Dear Neal and Shannon” and then went on to very sweetly talk about how much he loved us and that he knows he’ll be leaving soon and wants to make sure we spend more family time together.
Neal and Shannon? No more ‘mom and dad’? Leaving us?
My heart sped up and then seemed to come apart like a thousand heavy weights in my chest. When he goes away will he come back? I couldn’t help but think about the early years of his life when I wished and prayed for the ‘next stage’ hoping one day to be ‘free’ again. Tears fell warm on my cheeks. “I take it all back. I don’t want to be ‘Shannon’ I want to be ‘mom’,” I prayed. I heard my phone buzz on the nightstand.
It was a text from Ryan, “I love you so much Mom. I hope you always know that.”
“Always” I replied. “My love for you will never end and I’ll never stop being your mom!”
I didn’t picture myself as the parent crying over her child leaving the nest but here I was 14 months away from his graduation and I’m already a blubbering fool.
Thursday wrapped up the week with a full day in court. A survivor I’ve been helping asked me to accompany her to court…she was the state prosecution’s main witness in a class c assault charge against her soon to be ex-husband. He refused to pay the fine because he doesn’t want to have the assault charge on his record so for the past two months we’ve been called into court only to have the court date changed by his lawyers. However, Thursday was the day and he insisted on a jury by trial.
We were in court from 8am to 8:45pm when the jury finally came up with a verdict. I won’t go into specifics of the case, however, I will say it was one instance of many that led my friend to create a safe room in the house, receive gun training (after leaving the house), and keeping her location secret.
Unfortunately, the trial began with an all male jury. The prosecution had no other option as most of the women admitted to having been involved with a similar instance in their personal life, or could not be ‘partial’.
I won’t say what happened was because of an all male jury, however, with the soon to be ex-husband’s entourage of high-priced lawyers doing everything they could to tear her down and make her seem ‘dramatic’ it was not surprising to hold her hand and hear, “The jury finds —— not guilty.”
My heart fell. I squeezed her hand tighter, “You are strong and this makes no difference to what God has in store for your life.”
Yes, it’s unfair. No doubt. I remember when my rape case went to the grand jury and they notified him to come in and speak for himself but they did not notify me of the opportunity. I simply received a phone call saying my case was ‘no billed’. Unfair.
NO, I’m not happy with the justice system. Nope. Not all.
I cried on the way home. And then I felt God wrap me in His peace. “Carry on. You are doing what I’ve called you to do to spread the truth of abuse and spread awareness of it’s true effects. Never give up.”
This week I am meeting with Ryan’s drama group to talk about the truth on sexual assault. Thank you for your input and thoughts. I reached out and the drama teacher jumped at the opportunity for me to come in.
Never give up on what God is calling you to achieve in life.